December 8th, 2009
07:37 PM ET
3 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. Texas Longhorn talks Truth

    WHY SHOULD HE. There is no one living today that the slavery remark should offend. The ones offended are the same as the ACLU. Trying their best to carry out the Devil's work. The ones who are offended should blame their opposing tribes of Africa.

    December 8, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    What a complete and total moron.........even by democrat standards.

    December 8, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. steven harnack

    I don't understand what they want him to apologize about.Do they even know? Haven't they said publicly that they will do anything to derail,delay refom?

    December 8, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Steve in PA

    Wow, a True Democrat, rotten to the core. So it is ok for what Reid said, but not ok for the Republican to call Obama a liar who had to apologize twice. Obama was lying when he made that statement, because they changed the way it was worded in the Bill AFTER the fact.

    So Dem's can do anything and not apologize, but 1 slip by a Repub and they have to apologize multiple times for it. I so love the double standard that our so called leaders have.

    Impeach all of them and start from scratch. It's the only way to remove the corruption that is destroying America.

    December 8, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Liberals are Hypocrites

    The REAL "pivotal point in American history"– is the current abomination called health care "reform" - that Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Obama want to shove down the throats of Americans - BEHIND CLOSED DOORS - that most of us DO NOT WANT!

    Health care reform - YES.

    The Democrat version - NO, NEVER!

    Take a hike, Harry - you're way over your head here. And even if you do pass it, we will reverse it once we take our country back. BANK ON IT!

    December 8, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  6. deeblk

    Harry Reid is right on and I'm a black man agreeing with Reid remarks particularly dealing with the Republicans and their divisiveness and the party of "NO" to help better the lives of the American folks.

    December 8, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. julibear

    Go Harry Reid!

    December 8, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. Bubba Reid, UDA

    Bubba Reid, you are a gosh dang genius. Nobody but you could take the Health Care debate and turn it into a racially charged empass for the Senate, debating Salvery instead of Health Care!

    Health Care opponents are actually glad you made your stupid comments, you have sealed the fate of the bill, of your re-relection and the future of your President and Party.

    All will go down in flames, thanks to you. UDA

    December 8, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. suzy

    please make sure all republicans are voted OUT
    I am so tired of hearing them COMPLAIN about everything

    December 8, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. Bob Suruncle

    Here's a liberal calling conservatives racist slavery supporters. That's interesting as I recall that the southern democrats of the 1850s and 1860s fought FOR slavery and the Republicans fought in politics and on the battlefield against slavery. Well, in their warped view of the world: abortions don't kill babies, but soldiers do. And anyone how thinks the government should keeps their greedy, bloody hands out of the misnomer-ed healthcare is now a slavery supporter. Reid is gonna hit a wall during the reelection next year and I'll be glad to help him pack his suitcase for the trip to Searchlight.

    December 8, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. Tom

    Reid is finished. You can take that to the bank. And long overdue.

    December 8, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. mjm

    Taxation is the new slavery and the Democrats are the real slave masters.

    No wonder Reid’s approval rating is the drinking age in most states.

    December 8, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    Asserting that a disinclination to waste a TRILLION DOLLARS is somehow equivalent to endorsing slavery is, is, is... I can't even come up with words to describe how imbecilic, desperate, and divorced from reality this makes Reid look.

    The people of Nevada would be doing the country a big favour if they recalled this nut.

    December 8, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. Fan of Common Sense

    Just when I think this pathetic imbecile has made the stupidest, most asinine statement of his career, he opens his mouth and proves me wrong. He actually makes me feel embarrassed for the residents of Nevada.

    December 8, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. John T

    I don't really think that the healthcare reform plan is worth much, to be honest. However, I do agree with Reid that its opponents have deliberately lied, twisted facts and manipulated their own followers in order to block it, in the interests of defending the status quo, and largely on behalf of large insurance companies. It's a disgusting exercise in applied bribery, proof that a large percentage of Americans are just plain stupid and far too easily led, and evidence that we have the worst government money can buy.

    December 8, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. Josh

    Republicans have made a career of asking for apologies. And Michael Steele is one to talk. Steele, speaking to a Jewish group in 2006, when asked about stem cell research quipped: "You of all people should know what its like to be experiemented on." Maybe Michael Steele should start working on his list of apologies to deliver.

    December 8, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  17. Ben

    I don't know why Reid suddenly grew a pair, but I LIKE it.

    December 8, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  18. etranger

    Senator Reid: Well said. Don't back down one iota. You spoke truth to power, FINALLY. One does NOT apologize for speaking the truth, especially to the lying liars of the conservative "movement" and their party of guns, money, and demagogues, wishing to turn back the clock to 1909.

    December 8, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  19. R.O.B.

    Haha, even more change is on the horizon. I'm loving every bit of this new administration that I helped usher into power. I figure in about another year or so things will be extremely in favor of the average working class American.

    December 8, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  20. m smith

    Harry is right. Im sure the repos hate it but if it walks like a duck?

    December 8, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  21. Scott

    Granted he doesn't say republicans where against slavery which was smart. Cause its THE Republicans that pushed to end slavery and also the civil rights acts. (if you don't believe look up the information for your self) But its just a way take the debate to a racial debate and get it off topic. Everytime this Administration hits a dead end someone pulls the race card out. Im so sick of it stick to the issue and debate the facts and not the race.

    December 8, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. Indy

    Exactly as he said, no harm done and was making a valid point that the Republicans jumped on and spread like wildfire. What else are republicans going to do, they have no answers for any important issues so they just distort truth and make a big deal out of nothing. Not a Harry Reid fan by any means but he did nothing wrong here.

    December 8, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  23. Independant Vet

    If Republican would of stated such , The earth would still be shaking. Yet it is political correct for Reid to sound off. An
    of no guts to appoligize . This is our Big Change .

    December 8, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  24. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Michael Steele is the GOP's official shoe shine boy and I'm proud of them for that if nothing else. What a great photo shot it would make of Michael Steel accepting his official "SHOE SHINE HONOR OF THE YEAR AWARD".

    December 8, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  25. Tom Carr

    Arm yourself, we are going to need civil disobediance to stop this crowd of Socialist.

    December 8, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
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