January 12th, 2010
09:28 AM ET
5 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. Greg

    What's the big deal? I'm an African American and the comment did not offend me. You Republicans can't come up with real substantial ideas so you create these phony issues. Give me a break.

    This story is so overdone. Let's move on.

    January 12, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  2. Emma

    I don't need white Republicans calling for Senator Reid's resignation because they think he slighted the AA race. Far from it, the sentiments spoken are true and is well known in the Black community. "I would say Senator Reid got it right."

    I am an AA female and I have one message to everyone who is calling for his resignation, "Stop trying to take care of the AA race, you no longer own us and I do not work in your fields any longer." I have grown up and can take care of me. Senator Reid you have my support!

    January 12, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. Winkandanod

    Well, what would you expect Senator Ensign to say about calls to resign?

    January 12, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. TOTUS

    The Republicans have no more cheeks to turn, and it has only got them smacked down the next time by the loony libs. Stand up, you linguini spined wimp!

    January 12, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. SC-Pub "no" more

    One of the differences here, right or wrong, is that Bush dropped Lott like a hot potato. He threw him under the bus; and many of these pious Republicans now calling for Reid's resignation, stood by and did nothing to support Lott.
    On the other hand, Obama has quickly announced his support for Reid and his colleagues have vocally supported him.

    January 12, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. Independant Vet

    Pay attention , what Democrats say an do is perfectly Ok , when one of there own steps out of line .

    So what happened to others , they had to go.

    So give Harry , his walking papers , already 4 years to late .

    January 12, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  7. Tracy

    Yeah, I also think that Mr. Reid should get laid off.

    January 12, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  8. Dean

    Wise man say: Those who live in glass house should not throw stones.

    January 12, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. Kyle, Virginia

    Where in here does he say to lay off Reid?

    January 12, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  10. Silence Dogoode

    Doesn't really matter...we all know the Dems are racists...at least now the cat is out of the bag. They use race as a tool which is also racism. I long for the days when this crap stops and we look at the person's qualifications not his race, religion or gender....

    January 12, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  11. moses

    Why must someone apologize for simply stating the truth? If a white person running for office dressed in wife-beaters and cut-offs and was barely literate, he/she couldn't get elected either. Harry Reid was spot-on with his analysis and everyone else is too cowardly to admit they agree.

    January 12, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  12. Liberal wingnut

    Its not an issue of the gop laying off its the free pass our lovely liberal media granted him.

    January 12, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. JD from Moraga, CA

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

    Probably well-intentioned, as far as it went, but involves a bit of historical revisionism. As I recall, it was the embarrassed GOP leadership and faux-outraged GOP rank-and-file that forced Lott out, not the Democrats.

    January 12, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. I'm a wing nut afraid of Nancy Pelosi

    What the democrats did to Trent Lott was nothing compared to what the republicans did to Trent Lott.

    January 12, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  15. southerncousin

    You know, I think Ensign is right. We conservatives should stop playing this liberal "gotcha" game. I know the hypocrisy of the libs is as blatant as the media bias by the state run media and it is hard to resist taking shots at the liars and thieves that constitute the "progressive," elitist movement in this country, but I do believe that Americans who actually work for a living, pay taxes and keep seeing their hard earned money go to the group that take no personal responsiblity for their lives, are really better than getting in to the childish games libertards play.

    January 12, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. Desmond

    These recurring "Gotcha" people are beyond pathetic, apart from being so dumb that they so often do not understand, or pretend not to understand, what a given target says.

    In this case, Senator Reid was evidently doing an anaalysis of the trends and biases of US voters. I am not from the US, not white, not black, but I do think that Reid's analysis was pretty much on the ball.

    January 12, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  17. Sean

    I don't think the Dems were wrong in what they did to Lott – saying the country would be better under segregation (and really, that's what Lott's comment amounted to) is WAY more offensive than Reid's inartful choice of words.

    January 12, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  18. Diane Dagenais Turbide

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

    Reaction : Unfortunately Mr. Ensign does not get the difference here. One can accept an apology for such statement that spelled out the unfortunate truth to be discussed between people of all races and this apology exist also because of Mr. Reid's record on his political actions in regards to civil rights do speak louder than this statement which in the end has open the opportunity for folks to take the time and talk about it and reflect on such statement in order to face such reality and change the face of such reality!

    January 12, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. GWB2012

    My 13-year old daughter asked me why the democrats at her school are so mean spirited and negative. I told her that's the way they play – you see it every day on their cars. My children witnessed first hand the vile bumper stickers against President Bush time and time again, yet they see no Republicans driving around with anti-Obama bumper stickers. I just tell them that's the difference between a DumbocRAT and a classy Republican. Nuf said.

    January 12, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Thank you Sen. Ensign.

    January 12, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  21. Obama=Trickle up poverty

    Whatever! The point of the whole thing is to point out the blatant hypocrisy of the Democratic party. If any Republican had made the stupid comments that Reid did, they would want his head on a platter. That's all.................standards should be equal amongst both parties.

    January 12, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. Stop the Nonsense

    Thank you Sem Ensign. Finally voice for reason!

    January 12, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  23. Anonymous

    I respect Ensign's gesture, but the continuing Republican assertion that what Reid said is somehow comparable to what Lott said years ago is absolutely preposterous. Reid essentially stated that Obama's appearance and oratorical prowess would serve him well in the presidential race. Lott essentially stated that he voted for Strom Thurmond, is proud he voted for Strom Thurmond, and that the country would be far better off if this segregationist had had his way. The fact that certain Republicans don't seem to recognize this rather obvious distinction makes it hard to take them seriously.

    January 12, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. shmeckell

    Why do white people have to apologize for telling the truth and making observations?

    January 12, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. FM

    Good advice Sen. Ensign.
    Those who were offended don't care at all. I am wondering why the observers are very much concerned with the issue which doesn't affect them!

    January 12, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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