December 8th, 2009
07:37 PM ET
9 months ago

Top Dem explains slavery remark, doesn't apologize


Washington (CNN) – A day after invoking slavery as he criticized Republican opposition to health care reform legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, explained his controversial comment but didn't acquiesce to Republican requests to apologize.

"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," Reid said Monday in a Senate floor speech.

Several GOP senators and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele have demanded that Reid apologize for the remark. But Reid refused to do so Tuesday when asked about the GOP demands.

"Well, I think the point is quite clear by this point," Reid told reporters on Capitol Hill. "That at pivotal points in American history the tactics of distortion, delay have certainly been present. They've been used to stop progress. That's what we're talking about here. That's what's happening here. That's very clear. That's a point I made - no more, no less. Anyone who willingly distorts my comments is only proving my point."

As majority leader, Reid is charged with getting the 60 votes needed to pass health care in the Senate. Early polling shows that Reid faces a tough re-election battle in 2010.


Filed under: Extra • Harry Reid • Health care • Popular Posts
soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. Craig

    I agree with Senator Reid. Everyone deserves healthcare, and especially those with pre-existing conditions. Those with a sense of entitlement should get a clue that it's no longer ABOUT THEM!

    December 8, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  2. Robert Green

    Reid and the Dems should know since they were the party of segregation and did everything possible to keep that system in place.

    December 8, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  3. Kate in ATL

    You go mr.Reid!

    December 8, 2009 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  4. JJ in NY

    Reid is a pathetic and despicable character. It's no wonder that he is so low in the polls. Bye bye, Harry.... and take HarryCare with you .

    December 8, 2009 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  5. Amir

    Reid must go!

    December 9, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  6. dt

    Why should he apologize? and to whom, I guess cant take the truth.

    December 9, 2009 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  7. Steve in Denver

    Never thought much of you, Harry, but that comeback was brilliant. The faux outrage is exactly what you say it is. Hyped-up fake outrage over something perfectly reasonable. You did not say the R's support slavery, you said there were people in history who have stood in the way of reform.

    For once, a straight up response to the neocon idiocy. Way to go!

    December 9, 2009 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  8. New Yorker

    Fact: it was the Republicans who opposed slavery and the Democrats who supported slavery.

    December 9, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  9. last Honest man

    I Can not wait until this JERK is out of office.

    December 9, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  10. John McBride

    Interesting observation, Harry. Civil rights and voting rights legislation was passed with bipartisan support, and was almost totally fought only by southern DEMOCRATS.

    December 9, 2009 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  11. Nick in Las Vegas, NV

    I for one can't wait to help re-elect Senator Reid.

    December 9, 2009 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  12. Scott

    I'm sorry that Senator Reid is supposed to represent the best leadership this nation has to offer. To compare the fight for a health-care bill to the fight for freedom from the immoral practice of slavery is so non-sensical and, in fact, insulting to those that would oppose him on this bill. Senator Reid was clearly trying to paint those that oppose the bill as people who would support slavery. Even my local school board members have more sense and appreciation for American history than to make such an insane jump.

    December 9, 2009 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  13. Paul Niemann

    Again Reid has shown his lack of knowledge. He not only doesn't know the facts germane to slavery, but he hasn't the backbone to do what's right regarding health care. I'm from Nevada and I assure you he will not be in office beyond his current term.

    December 9, 2009 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
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