December 8th, 2009
12:37 PM ET
7 years ago

GOP head demands apology for slavery remark

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="RNC Chairman Michael Steele said Tuesday that disagreements with Democrats over health care reform have 'nothing to do with the historic roots of slavery.'"]
(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele Tuesday demanded that the Senate Democratic leader apologize for invoking slavery as he criticized Republicans for their opposition to passing health care reform.

"Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans can come up with is this: Slow down, stop everything, let's start over," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Monday.

"If you think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right," Reid also said from the Senate floor. "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."

Steele, the RNC's first African-American chairman, took exception with Reid's remarks.
"It was not a sober moment for Harry Reid at all," Steele said Tuesday morning on CBS. "It was an ignorant moment.

"I'm kind of sick and tired of the left and Democrats in this country. When they get into trouble and don't get their way and their backs are up against the wall on legislation or whatever it is that they're trying to do, they go to that card. They play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card."

Steele added that disagreements with Democrats over health care reform have "nothing to do with the historic roots of slavery."

The RNC head said Reid "needs to go to the well of the Senate, take it back, and apologize for offending the sensibilities of the American people on something so important."

Filed under: Harry Reid • Health care • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (282 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Reid is a complete idiot and will be replaced in 2010. When you play the race card everytime people disagree with you, then you obviously are running scared. Keep in mind, all you dems, those of you that don't agree with this ridiculous bill were also just accused of supporting slavery by your very own leader. Only 35% of the country wants this bill so I guess that means 65% of America is in favor of slavery in Harry Reid's world.

    December 8, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. Scott Peterson

    How in the world can Michael Steele say that he knows what is the right side of history. Reid was not playing the race card; he was making a strong point (and perhaps too strong) about the economic strangle-hold our current health system places on all of us.

    December 8, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. A True Centrist

    "The Manager of Treasury Services approves each EFT disbursement journal entry via the JE Web Tool, and the entry is sent to Corporate GL. "

    Absolutely not true. In most instances, abortions are elective procedures which should not be covered by taxpayers. What nice, do I need to start contributing to someone who wants breast implants?

    December 8, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Jake

    the United States and the rest of the world demands an apology from the GOP for a laundry list of things!

    December 8, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  5. John

    Michael Steele has the perfect name because he certainly is a tool.

    December 8, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. victim of the false prophet OBAMA

    it will be a good day for America when 'dirty harry' is gone from the Senate.

    December 8, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. A True Centrist

    If Reid were a Republican, there would be two thousand responses here about what a horrible comment it was.

    I don't think much of Steele but he is right here.

    December 8, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. Soporifix

    There ought to be a separate news channel that's only played with 100 miles of D.C. All these narcissisitc blowhards can watch each other pontificate 24 hours a day; meanwhile the rest of us can read and see actual news about actual things that matter.

    December 8, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. Eric

    GOP needs to take a course on logic...

    December 8, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. barbara

    I agree with Steele but aside form that, isnt it the democrat party that has ALWAYS been known as the slavery party? yes it is. enslaving the masses by forceing them to become dependent on the federal government for ALL of their needs. EVERY policy coming out of this party is intended to further enslave the people. dont take my word for it, read your history and watch what they are doing now.

    December 8, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. a real American

    Trader Vic... explain how Steele is a sellout. Just 'cause he's a Republican and black? If you actually had your own thoughts instead of the ones handed to you by years of liberal morons, you would see that Republicans (and conservatives in general) are the ones who want a level playing field for all races. They do not pull the race card at the drop of a hat. The Democrats do; they believe that minorities don't have what it takes to succeed in America, and therefore need extra help. Seems condescending to me, yet most of the liberal idiots on this blog are so enamored with the touchy-feely approach that they can't understand how Democrats have used and abused minorities' emotions for political gain. Open your eyes people! Democrats don't care about you just because they want to coddle you!

    December 8, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. jc house

    Steele is an idiot. As with most of the gOP these days, not an original thought among them, they brought this country to the brink of financial ruin. They have nothing to contribute, except to obstruct any effort to right this mess. Palin, Limbaugh, Hannity, Boener, what a group of intellectuals, and these are the people of the gOP???
    Wake up America, and do a little research, READ, find out for yourselves where the truth really lies.

    December 8, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. lavatch

    uh, people, it was the democrats that introduced the ban on public-funded abortions as part of the health care bill.

    republicans don't like the bill. but democrats were divided over it and the only way they got enough democratic support was to eliminate the provision that had suggested that if you got pregnant other people would pay for you to eliminate the child.

    you can't blame people you don't like for everything, just because you don't like them.

    December 8, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Shocked and dismayed

    Apparently Sen. Reid is unaware that a majority of his constituents apparently support slavery.

    December 8, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. jody from Kentucky

    The party of NO and "family values" is out of step with every day
    Americans and their lives. Like JA/TN said, Let those who oppose the health care stand uninsured. Why fight against the things that are best for average Americans? Why worry about how Big Insurance will manage to survive? I will never understand how so many people can be fooled by the Republicans. The only answer I can come up with is that scare tactics must work on weak minded people.

    December 8, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Thomas

    For all their blustering the GOP keeps showing it has the thinnest skin in creation and cries more than a group of 2 month olds with diaper rash.

    I'd like an apology from the GOP for me not being able to get any health insurance for the past year. I'm waiting Mikey.

    December 8, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. CTer

    Reid is an idiot! The attempts to continue slavery and stonewall civil rights was by DEMOCRATS in the 18th -20th centuries. It is simple HISTORIC FACT! I guess facts don't mean anything to him.

    December 8, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Obama/Biden = One and Done, please God....

    More disgusting and pathetic left-wing hypocrisy. If a conservative said the same thing, there would be calls for blood from the loony left. You are a sad, desperate man, Mr. Reid. Your own state is fed up with your nonsense.

    December 8, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Laura

    Have you all lost your minds? Reid is an odious, offensive man. These comments demonstrate he is out of control and out of his mind. I am offended by these remarks and astonished that someone at that level would be so immature. Also, I am amazed at Obama and Gibbs response that they were unaware of these comments. Really?? What are you aware of? This is all quite frightening – the tactics of scare and avoid.

    December 8, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Mark

    Reid is a complete joke. I have never heard him utter one positive word. He had better worry about his re-election – or will he blame that loss on the GOP and slavery as well?

    December 8, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Manny

    Come on Steele, GROW A PAIR, and recognize what history has shown us. We have been waiting long enough for reform and its time for a change. GET OFF THE INSURANCE company's leg and do something for the people!!!

    December 8, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. Danh Bui

    If you want to live your lift type as Cuban or Chinese, or communist country, then you want to have this bill pass. But American can't not affort to have this kind of health care reform and goverment runs it's own way. Remember, we are a great country on earth, and do not forget what make American is the best country.

    December 8, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. Chandler

    Harry Reid was completely correct. In the future we will look back and think how in the world could our country allow people to be price gouged, bankrupted, and killed because of a corrupt health care system for so long? How could people obstruct the reform of such a harmful system?

    December 8, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Darwin

    The apology should be coming from all you idiots who actually believe this health care bill will increase your standard of living. Sorry but I take exception to taking money away from my ability to support my family in the form of higher taxes just to pay for someone else's health care.

    December 8, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Mark

    The only apology necessary should come from the republicans for re-electing Bush.

    December 8, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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