December 8th, 2009
07:37 PM ET
7 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. Dan

    Reid's right and his comment is fine. The Republicans' phony outrage is hilarious.

    December 8, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  2. Marion/Alabama

    How would Reid know what happened in 1865,he was not there and if history is correct the Republicans were the ones who were against Slavery,not the Dimocrats.

    December 8, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. Kenny

    Reid has nothing to apologize for. He's more correct than anyone seems to realize. We've been slaves to the insurance industry, our national health suffering for the sake of their profit...just like slaves. It's an apt parallel. The conservatives' fake outrage is a joke. They're a joke. But it's not funny, we suffer while they wring their hands.

    December 8, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  4. Ed

    What Dirty Harry doesn't mention is that throughout history the party using the delay tactics, ESPECIALLY in race matters has been the Democrats. It was democrats who opposed civil rights legislation in the 60s, not Republicans.

    December 8, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  5. barney

    any reasonable person would simple descern what he meant,its silly for anyone to think his comment is not true.anyone who thinks slavery was abolished in a day is a republican.

    December 8, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  6. willowbrook

    Whatever... he only demonstrates his ignorance and pitiful leadership qualities. So tired of the political baloney...

    December 8, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Steph

    Good point Senator Reid!

    December 8, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  8. Chad

    I don't like this guy but I agree and have been saying this for months. The GOP does have a great history of being on the wrong side of social issues. They will point to Lincoln as their saving grace, but that was in 1863 and he was the "original" republican. Maybe they can make the right choice once again...nearly 150 years later.

    December 8, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  9. JD

    Typical liberal nonsense. Say something outrageous, then insist that what you said wasn't outrageous.

    Had a Republican said something as insanely idiotic as Harry Reid did, the party already would have had the decency to kick him to the curb. But instead, this outlandish, boorish conduct is rewarded with fawning adulation by the anti-American Left.

    2010 and 2012 can't get here fast enough.

    December 8, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  10. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    Harry Reid is just showing America what a jerk he really is. Dummycrats like him are burying themslves and will pay the price of being thrown out of office in 2010!

    December 8, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  11. Dumb-o-CRAPS are runing America

    And if a Repbulican had made that comment, the Dems and the media would be screaming and crying until an apology was made.

    December 8, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  12. Squigman

    I'm sure no one today would allow slavery, except maybe a republican. The republican would allow such a thing to happen in the name of profitability, so I guess this could be justified in the mind of a republican. Keeping the country held hostage to big business is a part of their doctrine.

    December 8, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  13. texasgreenacres

    Hang in there Harry.If the shoe fits wear it.If the truth didn't hurts so much they wouldn't be screaming.He's hitting you where it hurts take notes.Keep up your NO!WAY! attitude and get crushed by your own stupidity.

    December 8, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  14. Gary

    Simply put....Harry Reid is an idiot. The slavory analogy was stupid. Lincoln was a Republican and it was the Democrats who Filibustered the Civil Rights law in the 60's. Harry Reid needs to be voted out of office. He is pathetic and ignorant.

    December 8, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  15. william fitzwater

    I think Sen Reid should not apologize for his remarks on slaver. Quite contrary he should be commended for his remarks and his courage to stand up . It is still going on to this day only the form has changed . In the case for health economics are definably at work.

    December 8, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. jkretz

    Says Harry Reid: "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."
    I'm surprised that Mr. Reid made this statement because it qualifies as one of his terrible traits as the statement applies to himself very well. He has a lot of experience with just what he is talking about, because he has used each terrible trait mentioned: distortion, delaying, stopping progress, and he himself practices distortion of others comments. His statement is like his own autobiography!!!

    December 8, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  17. Tony

    Democrat or Republican it doesn't matter it's obvious that they don't give a crap about us. Our wishes, our ideas, it's about what they can gain; or call each other. Want an example of the Roman Senate that caused the fall, look to Washington...

    December 8, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  18. Illinostom

    A Republican President went to war to end slavery. Southern Democrats tried six ways to Sunday to block integration. What history books are you reading, Mr. Reid?

    December 8, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  19. TCM

    Reid's career is doomed, and rightfully so....I only hope that when he's on his death bed he's denied medical attention due to rationing.

    December 8, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  20. Fitz in Texas

    It was the Democrats that supported slavery during the 1800's and it was Republican President Lincoln that was against slavery.

    The funny thing is, Democrats are still for slavery, but this time they want everyone to be their slaves. The government wants to own you just as the Democrats owned slaves during the 1800.

    December 8, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  21. AP in Illinois

    The Republicans need to apologize for the following: calling Democrats Socialists, terrorists, Nazis and Communists, not to mention Hitler. Also for Death Panels and calling President Obama a liar. Feigning outrage only goes so far when you such big hypocrites.

    December 8, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  22. terry,va

    Too bad we can't put Reid in chains and have him do some free work.

    December 8, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  23. marquette u

    "Anyone who willingly distorts my comments in only proving my point"

    What??? Either go to war with the other party or ignore them, but nobody cares about snotty comments that don't defend or reinforce your remarks.

    The battle between the elephants and donkeys would be much more interesting if Harry Reid just disappears.

    December 8, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  24. Bobby

    Reid & Pelosi
    No more has to be said.
    Two moron peas of the same pod
    Please America vote them out on 2010
    AND I"M FROM CANADA,where we have our share of idiots,but those two are King &Queen

    December 8, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  25. Jeff

    Right on Senator Reid! No apology is needed here. You have my support and support from the majority who are saying enough is enough...stop with the ism schisms. With people dying and going bankrupt daily from not having health care is SHAMEFUL...JUST LIKE SLAVERY WAS !!! Health care reform WITH A PUBLIC OPTION NOW !!! 37th in health care quality with the highest costs of industrialized countries is not acceptable! This is AMERICA !!!

    December 8, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7