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. Stuttrboy

    Poor Ensign, now his own party will retaliate because he doesn't play along. Bravo Ensign.

    January 12, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  2. janey

    Ensign has zero credibility after all the twists and turns of his scandals. Why is this guy still allowed to remain in office?

    January 12, 2010 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. chelle

    While I appreciate Ensign saying lay-off Reid, comparing the two sets of remarks is ludicrous. Reid commented on why as a candidate President Obama could run and succeed – stating actual reasons – if not reasons most Americans would be comfortable with however true they are. Lott stated that the USA would be better off if desegregation had not happened. Hardly the same level of stupidity.

    January 12, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. Republicans - Wrong about everything, Wrong for America (and GW Bush was the worst President ever)

    I wonder how many Republicans have made racist comments about Mr. Steele behind his back.

    January 12, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  5. Steve in Kentucky

    This is pathetic. What Ensign did is so far worse than Reid's comments. Ensign defending Reid only makes Reid look worse.

    There's something really seedy about the deal these two Nevada senators seem to have, though.

    January 12, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  6. Thomas, Baton Rouge, LA

    Good luck getting away from "Gotcha". It's all we have now. We have an industry built on vitriol. People who make bazillions of dollars by ranting about everything negative they can think of. Regardless of the truth.
    There is no benefit to bipartisanship. I pledge allegiance to the party. Screw the public. It's not abour governing. It's about winning.

    January 12, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  7. dave

    you're still an immoral hypocrite, Johnny boy

    January 12, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. j

    I agree with Ensign on this one issue – lay off Reid and get back to real issues. I don't think the implications of what Reid said is equivalent to the implications of what Lott said.

    January 12, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  9. Will

    Headline totally gave me the wrong idea (I thought "lay off" as in how I .lost my old job).

    Strangely I respect Ensign slightly more now.

    January 12, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. Jorge

    The republicans are always wrong, always lying and even when it makes sense, like in this case, they spoil it by damaging one truth with a lie. Trent Lott wasn't fired as majority leader for what he said, it was because, and everybody knows this, the Bush WH wanted to replace him with Frist. This has been in the media for quite some time. If I that I'm not a reporter know that, then why bad news Ensign doesn't? The intent, in both instances, were different, ergo, you can't compare them. Harry Reid, as confirmed by whites and blacks, is not a racist; Trent Lott, on the other hand, has a history and his statement at senator Thurmond's birthday sound like reminiscing the good old days, when racism was king.

    January 12, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  11. Ron

    My recollection is that it was the Bush Whitehouse and the Republicans in the Senate who did Sen. Lott in.

    January 12, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  12. Jack

    I agree!

    January 12, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. A. Goodwin

    I'm going to swallow my liberal democratic pride and say – HE'S RIGHT!!

    January 12, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. Grog in Ohio

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

    There's a problem with that idea, however. Republicans were the ones that took Lott down... NOT Democrats, who had no muscle what-so-ever, during that Bush administration.

    January 12, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. Jack Fl

    I am lways amazed when a politician says something that makes sense. The President is willing to forgive why can't everyone? Act with the virtues we expect everyone to act with instead of like a bunch of drama queens.

    January 12, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    I'm sorry, this clown as a comment to make?

    January 12, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. gt

    gee i for got how lott was savaged and judge bork was ruined ,, by ............... oh ya ............the democrats...

    January 12, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Nathan,

    Ensign is a an idiot who is trying to make points with Reid who he hopes will support him when the Senate comes to its senses and kicks him out for having an affair and them making payments to cover it up.

    I do agree that the Republicans are wrong for making a big deal out of this. I disagree that the Democrats were for going after Lott. Lott stated tha the country would have been better off if the Segregationist candidate Thurmond had been elected President. One can assume by that comment that Lott felt as if the country would had been better off all the civil rights gains of the last half century had never occurred, beucause they most certainly would not have if the thinking of Thurmond was allowed to prevail. What Reid says pales in comparison to what Lott said and the Republicans who keep saying that its a double standard are fools of the worst kind,

    January 12, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. Debbie

    While I agree that the GOP is stirring conflict up for really no reason, (dumb choice of words by Reid) but Ensign has zero credibility.

    January 12, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  20. markus

    while I appreciate Ensign's reasoning, there is simply no comparison between Reid and Lott.

    Reid made a poorly worded and politically incorrect observation regarding what would appeal to a large segment of white voters. Unfortunate as it may be, there's a sad degree of truth there.

    Trent Lott said our country would be better off if we had elected a man who was opposed to equal rights for minorities and was pro-segregation.

    nice try, GOP...but there's simply no comparison...

    January 12, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. joe smith

    AIPAC has both of these fellows right by the-–. And, don't forget the muscle still needed to get the complete funding for the train from L.A to Vegas..that whole financial package, plus the bigs involved need both Harry and Ensign to get it finished..stay tuned..

    January 12, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. Free Thinker

    Ensign speaking o ethics?! What a hypocrite!! Both Reid and Ensign should be gone.

    January 12, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. GOP = "I hope he fails"

    "Democrats were really wrong in what they did to Trent Lott."

    Except that that's not what happened. It was the Bush White House coming out against Lott that cost him his job.

    And also....please don't try to equate what Lott said to what Reid said. Big big big big difference.

    January 12, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. jerseylou

    Lott was an out right racist and did not care who knew it. Ensign knows nothing all racist stick together bottom line.

    January 12, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. Jim

    I agree with Senator Ensign. Senator Lott's comments were different Senator Reid's, but he should have been held accountable at the ballot box for them, not to the cabal of opposition. We need to tone down the attacks in Washington and start solving our problems.

    January 12, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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