January 12th, 2010
09:28 AM ET
4 years ago

Ensign: Lay off Reid

Sen. John Ensign, himself no stranger to controversy, is breaking with other Republicans to defend his fellow Nevada Sen. Harry Reid.
Sen. John Ensign, himself no stranger to controversy, is breaking with other Republicans to defend his fellow Nevada Sen. Harry Reid.

Washington (CNN) – Sen. John Ensign, himself no stranger to controversy, is breaking with other Republicans to defend his fellow Nevada Sen. Harry Reid for describing President Obama as "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

"I think we need to get away from this politics of gotcha," Ensign told KKOH radio in Reno on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

"I don't think there's a person walking, certainly not a politician out there, that hasn't made comments they regret," he said in the interview. "When you make those comments, as long as you take responsibility for your comments and apologize for them, I think people should accept that."

Ensign suggested that Republicans are being hypocritical for calling on Reid to resign his post as Senate Majority Leader.

"Democrats were really wrong in what they did to Trent Lott, and we shouldn't do the same thing to Sen. Reid," Ensign said.

Lott lost his post as Senate majority leader in 2002 after saying that the nation would have been better off if one-time segregationist candidate Strom Thurmond had been elected president.


Filed under: John Ensign
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Red by Choice

    "Lay off Reid"? I agree. Lets lay him off at the next election.

    January 12, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. dak

    Ensign being reasonable?? The earth must be spinning on it's axis! Although I certainly DO disagree with Ensign in his assessment that "Democrats were really wrong in what they did to Trent Lott", since Lott's comments were clearly racist. While Reid's comments were inappropriate and were racIAL in content, they were not racIST. There is a very, very big difference.

    January 12, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. NVa Native

    So are the Repubs trying to be poltically correct in attacking Reid ..... or is it that they care about race relations in the US?
    What a joke they care about neither.
    They're "on the hunt" for any way no matter how silly or petty to attack the Dems.
    The Repubs have been on strike for twelve months, and they won't go back to work until they are in power again – just a lazy bunch of cowards who fear every thing. But their "welfare check" comes twice a month and they have excellent health care no matter what.

    January 12, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Mike1952

    All congressmen and women and all senators are hypocrites. Nothing new here. They ALL need to go asap.

    January 12, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  5. Tim

    First of all, there are light years between Reed and Lott comments!!!! This has nothing to do with right and wrong for the Republicans, else they would be kicking several folks out of their ranks. Where was the republican outcry on the "Barack the magic negro" cd? Where was the outrage with Gov Mark Sanford who abandoned his post, went on a taxpayer funded adultery trip and then lied about it? Republicans are a bunch of Hypocrites!!!

    January 12, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. kim

    you have got to be kidding.... its hard to believe this philandering idiot had the gumption to say anything. Repubs have no shame.

    January 12, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. Jane/Seattle

    Look, World: We now have another fake controversey to try to get Reid with finally! The tactics are so obviously Obvious! Can we get back to making positive change now? I did not think so. So just carry on now with finding ever more methods to SCREW the People and Rob their MONEY! I know you will, but thanks for trying to tell these folks that this is not a priority, Senator Ensign. If Senator Reid needs to go, then GWB/Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and all the rest need to go directly to JAIL!

    January 12, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. RobK

    Ensign is right. Let it go. Don't sink to the level of the Democrats. Even though Reid's gaffe is much worse than Lott's innocent remark, the Republicans, as the party of morality and decency, should be quick to forgive.

    January 12, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Todd

    It was not Democrats who got trent lott out of his position, it was republicons and especially president bush. bush hated lott because he was not enough of a sycophant, and so bushies wanted a real taody and got one in frist.

    There is no comparison to what lott said - the nation would have been better if we were still segregationist and we lost an opportunity to keep "coloreds in their place" in 1948– and Ried saying the candidate he supported speaks well and is not threatening to voters.

    January 12, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. mondrel j

    I'm a young african american and i think mr reids comments were spot on .growing up in america there are few dark skinned movie stars and politions being of light conplection has its advantages and being a dark skinned american has its draw backs .it might sound stupid but its very true and i respect mr reid for his truthfulness and bringing the issue to day light.it won't change my vote for a very hard work n senator who's work has affected me and all of nevada for the guud .harry you will get my vote in 2010 and I will work hard to get u reelected .

    January 12, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Craig

    I actually agree with Ensign's comments here... and wow.. he's a Republican!

    January 12, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. mark

    Doublestandard dems? democrats wreak of hyprocrisy...

    January 12, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Stejo

    classy guy, and a smart politician.

    January 12, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. susanj

    Wrong – Lott was condoing segretation and sorry to see it go, – Reid was stating a fact. Nothing wrong with that. People discuss stuff like that all the time. The Republicans have no room to talk when they justify calling our President Hitler and a Nazi and a witch doctor and condone all the signs that are displayed when they are reaching out to their nut job Tea Partiers. The Republicans all should resign just for that alone.

    January 12, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  15. sifto77

    I have to laugh, in retrospect, at the biased Anderson Cooper–he missed the BIG story of the weekend in his sleazy attempt to trash Palin on 60 minutes....she is not a politician...the REAL story was Reid's racism-no wonder CBS and CNN have ratings in the toilet.....when you are so closed minded–you tend to miss the boat!. The Dems can damage control all they want–will do them no good–just makes them look silly–I guess they feel they don't have much left to lose.....

    January 12, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. Fitz in Texas

    ""When you make those comments, as long as you take responsibility for your comments and apologize for them, I think people should accept that."
    ----------------------------

    Sen. John Ensign....you are a complete idiot and no use to the human race. You just need to go hide under a rock, never come out and do us all a favor. You're just a boil on the taxpayers butt. You are as useless as tits on a warthog.......Can you kiss the butt of this administration any more?

    Ok, I'm taking responsibility for my comments and I apologize for them and now according to Sen. John Ensign everyone should accept what I said until the next time I say something rude and stupid. After all, according to the Democrats that are defending Reid and Sen. John Ensign we can say what ever we want as long as we're sorry later.

    January 12, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Dont look so sad John,at least you will always have a high paying job as a lobbyist,they control Congress now.Money will always trump the people,just look at what they have done for healthcare.P

    January 12, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. Roger

    Ensign has memory loss it was not the dems that went after Lott it was the GOP white house GW & Dick who wanted Lott out, so in your kindness to Reid you remain a hypocrite.

    January 12, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. AnProf

    Oh please, let Reid keep his position!
    Thus, we can all be reminded of the double standard used for Dem and Republican transgressions!

    January 12, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  20. sara

    Haha.........you have no credibility on your personal life nor your work in the Senate. You have a Record, and Senator, you don't speak for me. Your motives are Ulterior, and the difference Mine isn't.

    January 12, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. billy123

    Senator Ensign I almost agree with you on this one. The issue with Senator Lott was President George W. Bush wanted him out of his post as Majority Leader and the right wing in the GOP wanted him out of that post too.

    Now please work with the Majority and help pass the Health care bill.

    By the way I am a voter of Nevada too.

    January 12, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Good Idea! No more gotcha (especially when there is not any real "got" in it).

    January 12, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. Wayne

    this is silly

    January 12, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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