December 8th, 2009
12:37 PM ET
7 months ago

GOP head demands apology for slavery remark

RNC Chairman Michael Steele said Tuesday that disagreements with Democrats over health care reform have 'nothing to do with the historic roots of slavery.'
RNC Chairman Michael Steele said Tuesday that disagreements with Democrats over health care reform have 'nothing to do with the historic roots of slavery.'

(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele Tuesday demanded that the Senate Democratic leader apologize for invoking slavery as he criticized Republicans for their opposition to passing health care reform.

"Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans can come up with is this: Slow down, stop everything, let's start over," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Monday.

"If you think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right," Reid also said from the Senate floor. "When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said slow down, it's too early, let's wait, things aren't bad enough."

Steele, the RNC's first African-American chairman, took exception with Reid's remarks.
"It was not a sober moment for Harry Reid at all," Steele said Tuesday morning on CBS. "It was an ignorant moment.

"I'm kind of sick and tired of the left and Democrats in this country. When they get into trouble and don't get their way and their backs are up against the wall on legislation or whatever it is that they're trying to do, they go to that card. They play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card."

Steele added that disagreements with Democrats over health care reform have "nothing to do with the historic roots of slavery."

The RNC head said Reid "needs to go to the well of the Senate, take it back, and apologize for offending the sensibilities of the American people on something so important."


Filed under: Harry Reid • Health care • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (282 Responses)
  1. DJ

    Nope...the Republicans deserve far worse than what Reid said.

    December 8, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Steve in Kentucky

    If Steele had been alive in the 1850s and in any position of power (i.e. being paid off by rich white people), he would have supported a continuation of slavery. Call him what you want.

    December 8, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Diane

    Sounds like another attempt by the Republicans to rewrite history–of COURSE they oppose healthcare reform, and it DOES sound alot like their opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. I'm with Reid on this one!

    December 8, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Whatever. The Hypocrite Republican Party. This may be off topic, but the RNC is trying to slam Baucus for trying to his lady friend a job. But where was their criticism of Mitch McConnell when he got his wife a government job?

    December 8, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. Reagan was wrong

    Steele, how about you apologize for all the crap that's going on at teabagger rallies attended by GOP officials?

    December 8, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Ray Fisher

    The GOP is dead, they abused their chance at doing right by looting our nation!!! They have no opinion worth printing.

    December 8, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Jeffrey

    Grow up my fellow GOPs, why have we turned to a party of all-the-way NO? we don't seem to offer any solution to all the problems we caursed this great nation. Let us all go back to our original principles than promoting violence all in the name of tea-party. I totally agree with Reid's comment, people are dying everyday as we speak due to lack of insurrance and we are just saying No to all options without presenting ours.

    December 8, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Bob

    Reid's an idiot to draw this comparison, what a desperate move.

    December 8, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. ronnie

    classy harry.....good luck next year

    December 8, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. What the Holy Heck

    Michael Steele should be the last person to accuse someone else of playing games. This entire protest is a last-ditch attempt to conceal the GOP's obstructionism.

    December 8, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. ToGetherWEStand

    I am non-partisan, but I do agree with Mr. Reed: the GOP is once again on the wrong side a major historical event!

    December 8, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. J

    Facts MR Steele! Mr Reid said nothing but the truth, and you cant stand it!!!! try a little history sir!! FACTS the DEATH of the Republican Party!

    December 8, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. Rob

    Steele is tired of the majority of Americans who want this healthcare reform and are backing Dems on this issue?
    Hmm....sounds to me like Steele might need to re-evaluate his place in American politics then.
    I see nothing wrong with Reid's remarks...particularly when you got extreme right wing members invoking Hitler & Nazi-ism left & right where this president & this administration are concerned. Where's the apology for that Steele???
    Sounds to me like you found a comment in Reid's remarks that you could twist & turn to try to use to your advantage only it's extremely transparant & you just look/sound ridiculous.

    December 8, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Robert Hecht

    Sen Reid described the Republican way of doing business right on. Mr. Steele is upset over his comments concerning actions or lack of actions is a joke. Where was Steele when his republican cronies were quesitioning our Presidents birth issue? Where was Steele when bigots like Beck and Limburgh openly use inflamatory comments about our President? He was hiding because the first and only time he critized one of these excuses of patriotism, he had his head handed to him. The Republican party is a sad excuse and Steele should be taking steps to bring these fanatics in line and if necessary, out of the party. Steele is a poor excuse for a leader and if he wants to be upsed, he should be over the lack of power he has over the GOP.

    December 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Oh Please

    When is Steele going to have some in his party apologize for some of the outrageous comments they've made? You know, Obama is a racist, Sotomayer is a racist,etc.

    This is par for the course for the gop. When Grayson made a comment, they were all up in arms, yet when Coburn made a similar or worse comment........ crickets from the gop. There have been recents comments from the gop that talked about a democratic gulag and again.......... crickets from the gop.

    Harry Reid is right, the gop has been and still is on the wrong side of history.

    December 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. katiec

    Well, the party of NOthing is trying to keep us as slaves to big business so they do not have a leg to stand on.
    It is sad how they can lie, distort, fear monger and do any sewer tactic they can find against our president and the Democrats, but if someone dares to call them what they are they get so indignant.
    Even sadder, we have a political party whose only goal is to destroy our president, consequently our country.
    And, even sadder are those who support them do not seem to care about our survival, their total loss of integrity and honor and disgraceful political games.

    December 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Mark

    Everyone needs to just shut up and get the business of America done. The Republican do need to get with it on Health Care and start negotiating and working it out with the Dems which everyone knows they aren't. I'll say it again, abolish the Repulicans if they can't work to get business done.

    December 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. single mom

    Well, considering that the Republicans were against slavery, the Dems were for slavery, and it was the victory of a Republican (Lincoln, anyone?) which caused the secessions of Southern states, and a Republican who held firm in his commitment to the UNION of ALL states... Yes, I get what Reid was trying, very clumsily, to say – that Republicans are against change. All he really managed to do was look more like an idiot than usual.
    If the Democrats want health CARE reform, then they need to fix the problems. This is INSURANCE reform that they are doing, not CARE reform.

    December 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Nestor

    He did no such thing in my opinion he just stated what he believed and in this country no one should apologize for that. You know...free speech and all that jazz. He made a comparison, if they dont like it PROVE HIM WRONG!! thats all it takes in New York at least. Put up or SHUT UP.

    December 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. ted

    I dont believe that Reid is a mentally stable person. Hopefully he will be
    voted out of office next year.

    December 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. Kim

    Don't do it Senator Reid!! Have the republicans apologize for sending us to war based on a lie. Have them apologize for messing up this country and taking us into a recession. Have them apologize for taking a trillion dollar surplus and turning it into a trillion dollar deficit.

    December 8, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. ItIsMe

    Mike Steele, all you're missing are bright red shoes, a red nose, and the appropriate clown suit, and you'll be all set...

    December 8, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. matt

    there you go Steele, shoot the meesenger but not the message. I don't agree the with the entire bill, but the republicans don't seems to have anything to offer to make it better. Both sides want to take full credit rather than compromise and work together. It seems everyone is ignorant in that regards

    December 8, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Republicans are the American Taliban

    "I'm kind of sick and tired of the left and Democrats in this country. When they get into trouble and don't get their way and their backs are up against the wall on legislation or whatever it is that they're trying to do, they go to that card. They play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card."

    Now tell me again what the Taliban/Republicans said about Judge Sotomayor......

    December 8, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. The Film Professor

    Harry Reid is 100% correct.

    Steele and his GOP Cabal are the ones who need to apologize for being the stooges of the insurance companies. 45,000 people a year are dying in this country because of lack of access to health insurance! Talk about health care rationing!

    Steele, McConnell, Boehner, McCain - all of you should be ashamed of yourselves!

    December 8, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
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