December 8th, 2009
12:37 PM ET
9 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. jean

    Steele needs to sit down and shut up. Does he really think for one minute that these rich white supremacists Republicans like him? He is being used. If Obama had not become the president, Steele would not have been elected to this office.

    December 8, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. sj

    Seek God and Pray that He will Help Guide and Direct both parties into doing the right thing as it relates to the people in this world. God is looking and listening. Stop wasting precious time. The time is NOW
    to do something. Get it right for once in life. Too, much time have been wasted allready. Talking noise, saying nothing, and doing nothing. Bickering and arguing. Nothing accomplished. Do you have a clue as to what is going on in the world. Look at the big picture. It is bigger than any parties. Very Sad.

    December 8, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    And in keeping with the theme here...noting that the disparate impact is so obvious with respect to the refusal to include abortion coverage and to even go so far as disallowing people from obtaining any gap-cover insurance that would cover an abortion: keep in mind that the GOP's and fundy morons' response to that concern is "so stop reproducing."

    December 8, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. zago

    I am a black man and find the statement perfectly appropriate. M. Steel looks like the new form of slavery practised by the GOP since it is an anomaly that he's the chairman of the GOP used as instrument to hide GOP racism against president Obama. He should know that he has no place in the GOP if he knows that he belongs to the African American ethnicity. We all know GOPers are bunch of racists. In point of fact, Sen McCain voted to block Dr M L King holiday; he voted against equal pay for women; he voted against civil right Act. Give me a break Steel or go to sleep dummy.

    December 8, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. Paul

    Neo-cons like Limbaugh and Beck constantly inject slavery into their hate speech and he wants Reid to apologize? Don't do it Harry!

    December 8, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. terry,va

    Reid is a fool. He knows he is done politically and he wants to screw the country before he gets thrown out. He knows better, whereas I don't think Obummie does. Obummie is a socialist through and through and actually believes he is helping rather than running the country into bankruptcy. I don't know what is worse a person that intentionally screws us or someone that is so economically stupid that he needs to go to Economics 101.

    December 8, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. K

    Umm, it's okay for the Republicans to portray President Obama as Hitler, and invoke Nazism in terms of how the President is attempting to fix the problems that America faces......

    But when any Democrat invokes ridicolous assertions, just like the Republicans do on a Regular basis, these same people want an apology, incredible......

    Someone please tell Micheal Steele he's just a Token you know what, the same people he defends and supports, are the same people that will string him up from a tree if they could get away with it........!

    December 8, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. Michael

    The GOP has no shame.
    They are the ones who should be apologizing to the 95% of Americans who do not make up the uber-wealth elite, for stabbing them in the back and sucking the lifeblood out of the pulsing wound for the past thirty years.
    These parasites do not represent the nation's people. They represent the few who would like to make economic slaves out of the nation's people.
    Harry Reid is (for once) right on. He showed guts and integrity with his statement and should be commended, not reprimanded.

    December 8, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. Rob in NY

    No apology is necessary! Don't you dare apologize Senator Reid. You were absolutely right! The Republicans were also on the wrong side of history when it came to Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance... and now, Health Care Reform with a strong Public Option.

    December 8, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. frank

    What a silly demand from Steele. Does he not admit that resisting the historical forces for change is a Republican habit?

    December 8, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Bertina

    People get so fearful of being called racist that any seeming intelligent person loses their cool. It has nothing to do with being called racist or being called a slaveowner, and has everything to do with the underhanded tactics used.

    December 8, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. sniffit makes me glad to be conservative

    when your an idiot like reid, pelosi, obama, sharpton, jackson, jackson-lee, etc and you can't defend your policies and positions, just play the card and attack your opponent.

    it fits the profile of the left-wing, baby-boomer generation, who had had life served to them on a silver platter and have taken no responsibility for their actions. get out of the way, the end is near in 2010.

    December 8, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. casper

    what harry reid said ; was the truth, and some times the truth hurts. w/ the facts being republicans are the party of the "haves" and the have -mores. and everyone else , fact is you're NOT living your just existing esp. if your black micheal [pig iron] steele you have some nerve. like everything is ok w/ black folks now ..... hell slavery still is going on to this day. you and tiger are 2 peas in a pod . you don't think your blk. so you don't have a clue....... cause who will benefit from this -- the have-nots the most.... and you republicans who have w/ your plantation mentality don't want health care for the people who struggle w/o..... trick [steele] you need to sit down.

    December 8, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Jan

    He was using slavery as an example of hard it is to get thind done for people who depend on our leaders to solve glaring injustice. And the lack of health care is a clear example. People are suffering..

    The GOP are not helping anyone. We need health care not only for cilvians, but for our military families and their wounded husbands and wives.

    Why has it taken the election of President Obama for the Repulicans to realize that we have a deficit.

    Where have they been ?

    December 8, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. uncle daddy

    i agree with Reid...call a spade a spade.

    December 8, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Jake

    "apologize for offending the sensibilities of the Amreican people on something so important." Lol, Reid should just apologize and move on. The GOP is just trying to distract again.

    December 8, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. James from Columbia, MO

    I think they missed Reid's point – it wasn't about slavery, it was about being on the wrong side of History, which the Republicans are. Still, he probably could have avoided this by using a better example. The Civil Rights legislation of 1964 is a better comparison to make than slavery

    December 8, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. Kevin B

    It is true that the republicans in congress has not lifted a finger to help the average american during these trying economic times.

    On the contrary they have thrown fear and lie based rhetoric and every false choice and red herring they could possibly come up with to avoid addressing what is obviously a broken health care system.

    In this case Senator Reid may on to something.

    December 8, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. James

    Michael Steele is reaching with this one. This was nothing more than a comparison of one landmark legislative crossroad (slavery) to another landmark legislative crossroad (health care). The funny thing is it was Republicans looking for change then. Politics is stupid.

    December 8, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. Independent Voter

    are you kidding me!! when is this uncle tom going to apologize to us (black people) for all of his stupidity?

    God Bless President Obama, VP Biden, the First Families and "Bo"

    December 8, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Mike (VA)

    The Republican Party has been on the wrong side of history for nearly a century. The opposed Social Security, Medicare and now health care. The Republicans have never met a war that they didn't like, or a social program that they did.

    Harry Reid should tell Michael Steele that an apology is made when a statement is wrong. In this case, the Republicans are not owed an apology.

    December 8, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. tjaman

    Yes, shame on Sen. Reid for making references to ... U.S. history.

    Meanwhile, the GOP characterizes President Obama as Hitler, Stalin and Chairman Mao at all of their delightful little gatherings and no one bats an eye.

    December 8, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. TOM MCGEE

    Mr Steel the truth hurts.dosen't it.
    the party of NO

    December 8, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Debra

    Harry is right. Steele you are the one that is an idiot. I am a black woman. Turkey.

    December 8, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  25. Ann Lord

    That Steele or any GOP has the nerve to ask for any apology is absurd. Let's face it Steele, you are the head of a party that is so racist that you are nothing but their token....you know what. The GOP party has the nerve to hold up caricatures of Obama that are despicable...and you ask for an apology??? There may be one or two republicans who are not evil, but the majority are descendents of Archie Bunker..................when will they figure it out.

    December 8, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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