January 11th, 2010
07:03 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama: Reid is 'a good man'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/11/art.boreid0111.gi.jpg caption="President Obama said Monday that Sen. Reid 'has always been on the right side of history.'"]
Washington (CNN) - In a sit-down interview at the White House with CNN Political Contributor Roland Martin, President Obama defended embattled Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for describing Obama as "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

"This is a good man who has always been on the right side of history," the president said in an interview taped Monday for TV One.

"For him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me, and for people to try to make hay out of that, makes absolutely no sense," Obama said. "He's apologized, recognizing that he didn't use appropriate language. But there was nothing mean-spirited in what he had to say and he's always been on the right side of the issues."

Related: Under fire, Reid proud of supporting Obama

In the interview, Obama also described Reid as "a friend of mine" who has "been a stalwart champion of voting rights, civil rights."

The president's vote of confidence - in Monday's interview and in an official statement over the weekend - comes one week before Senate Democrats return to Capitol Hill to flesh out a final health care reform bill. Obama told Martin that Reid "is spending a lot of his political capital in the middle of an election year to provide health care to every American."

"That's going to have a great impact and African-Americans and Latinos around the country," Obama noted.

Related: Reid's political future up in the air after 'Negro' comment?

Martin taped the interview for an upcoming TV One broadcast entitled, "Living the Dream: An interview with President Barack Obama."

Filed under: Harry Reid • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Annie, Atlanta

    Harry Reid's voting record in no way indicates racism. This is a non issue. But once again, here we go with Republicans trying to shift the real debates that we could be having to debates about nonsense, that they force us to have. How many news cycles will this be allowed to take up? And once again, the news media runs with what the Republicans do. I'm seeing a disturbing pattern here. And the American people are the ones who lose, being fed bad news over and over again until people buy in. Harry Reid is not a racist. He spoke the truth in a less than eloquent way.

    January 11, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  2. Steve (the real one)

    What ever happened to Sharpton and Jackson on this matter? They have been unusually silent. Maybe because Reid is a liberal!

    January 11, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  3. BJ

    He is a good man and I plan to contribute to his campaign.

    January 11, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  4. Rush Limbaugh

    Better believe they love each other. Reid climbed a bare wall to pass healt reform.

    January 11, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  5. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Glad to hear Obama admit that health care is just another welfare program for minorities. He and the Democratic liberals are conducting class warfare on a massive scale.

    January 11, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. TJ

    Reid is too liberal to fail. If he were a Republican, every Dem protecting him and their friends in the media would be demonizing him, but hey, "he's one of us, let's give him a pass." It's amazing to me how racist leftists can really be.

    January 11, 2010 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  7. Steve (the real one)

    I just read the Blogo story! Between him and Reid, exactly what are dems smoking these days? Hello Al, Hello Jesse! Anybody home?

    January 11, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  8. terry,va

    Obummie said Reid is a good man. Translation...he's my light skinned negro without that dialect. Now get me my health care bill!!!

    January 11, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  9. Keith in Austin

    Now it's all about damage control for Harry!

    Maybe Obama should focus his time on the Nation's problems rather than campaigning for the Nevada senator destined to get trounced in November!

    January 11, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  10. Tim

    Yeah, he doesn't act stupidly like others and his comment was an isolated incident of extreme boneheadedness.

    January 11, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  11. Desmond

    There you are, again, Americans! Recognize a President of class when you see one. Reid was indeed not politically correct while expressing part of his assessment of Obama's chances but with no mean intent.

    And there you have a President who is mature enough give the man his due and to not sweat the small stuff!

    January 11, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  12. unemployed by Obama

    Thats good, One racists saying good things about another racists and these are the ones who are trying to control your lives. Guesss what is next, tracking devices in the H1N1 vaccine, spys watching you , HR legislation to control your kids by making them go to government retraining, hmmmmm sounds like Hitler and his lead SS Troopers and who is lt, ITS Obama, Reid and his supporters Pelosi, all the nazis are here.

    January 11, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  13. Kerzell

    once you go black, you never lose track.

    The resignation of Trent Locke was called on by the republican party because Frisk wanted that job. Yet they say the dems have a double standard – they devour their own for personal gain.

    So ask Charlie Frisk how he really got his job!

    January 11, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  14. Perusing-through


    Senator Reid is a good man with solid character and principle. Thanks President Obama for standing by Senator Reid and helping to fend off GOP lying and vicious attacks.

    January 11, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  15. NotFooledTX

    Pres. Obama is right – Reid used inartful terminology – look at his voting record, his actions speak for themselves. Can the same be said and verified about the republicans criticizing Reid? Doubtful.

    I find the republicans newfound racial sensitivity really distasteful.

    January 11, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  16. mavin818

    The republicans really need to dig deep to get rid of Harry Reid. They are really trying to spin and twist . He was saying what mainstream America was thinking. African-Americans have been putting up with this type of attitude forever. If a black person is light skinned there considered alittle bit more acceptable "they're not as frightening." Yes it is true that if President Obama was darker he wouldn"t be in office. Look at Jesse Jackson, if he were lighter he would have won in the 80's. Also if it were'nt for Obama being elected president MICHAEL STEELE would not be head of the RNC. What do you think the members of the RNC was saying about ole black Michael Steele? PS: I am a black woman.

    January 11, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  17. valwayne

    Trent Lott went to a birthday party for 80 plus year old Sen Thurmond and said nice things about the old man. Obama and the Democrats twisted his words to supposedly mean that Trent Lott wished the country was segragated. Total Nonsense, yet the firestorm drove Trent Lott out of his position as Majority leader. Now Sen Reid makes blatantly racists remarks! "NEGRO DIALECT"???? "Is he a racists? Who knows....but his remarks on the face of them are more racists than anything Trent Lott said. Obama and the Democrats clearly aren't troubled by total and complete hypocracy, and the endemic racism in the Demcoratic party!

    January 11, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  18. German,Irish American

    Now I am confused, do we call Obama a negro if we are black, a black if we are white, even though he is just as white as he is black, or call him what he really is, a mulatto President?

    January 11, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  19. Brenda

    President Obama once again proves to be a class act. I support you Mr. President.

    January 11, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. ck

    How do these phonies keep a straight face!!!

    ROFL.... what a double standard these hypocrites have

    January 11, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  21. mjm

    "For him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me, and for people to try to make hay out of that, makes absolutely no sense,"

    Translation.....Obama needs Reid's vote in the Senate to pass his socialist agenda.....or does Obama really believe a man with a 33% approval rating is doing a good job?

    January 11, 2010 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  22. John G

    I don't question Reid's intentions. I don't question his devotion to his party.

    The fact of the matter is that if ANY Republican made those comments, there would be an NAACP rally in front of his or her house calling for a resignation, a public apology and or a flogging in the town square.

    Harry Reid is devoted to whatever his party tells him to be devoted to but the double standard is unmistakable.

    January 11, 2010 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  23. sick of it all

    Gawd, all right already !! Let it go, Obama has !! You people just
    keep going on !!

    January 11, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
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