Reid Once Called Obama Light-skinned With 'No Negro Dialect', Media Mostly Mum

January 9th, 2010 4:12 PM

Back in 2008, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) referred to then presidential candidate Barack Obama as a light-skinned African American with no Negro dialect.

Such is in Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's soon to be released book "Game Change" and was reported by the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder Friday.

According to LexisNexis and Google news searches, this revelation, posted by Ambinder at his Politics blog, received very little attention from America's Obama-loving media: 

On page 37, a remark, said "privately" by Sen. Harry Reid, about Barack Obama's racial appeal. Though Reid would later say that he was neutral in the presidential race, the truth, the authors write, was that his "

encouragement of Obama was unequivocal. He was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama -- a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one," as he said privately.  Reid was convinced, in fact, that Obama's race would help him more than hurt him in a bid for the Democratic nomination.

From what I can tell, until Reid issued an apology Saturday, Ambinder's find received little attention.

The Washington Post reported moments ago:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) apologized today for referring to President Barack Obama as "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect" in private conversations during the 2008 presidential campaign.

"I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words," said Reid in a statement. "I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments."

The Associated Press and other outlets are now also beginning to cover the story.

But where were they on Friday?

Is this a fine example of media waiting to reveal embarrassing information about a Democrat until the weekend, or did they want to wait for a comment from Reid?

Either way, it's a metaphysical certitude such a delay wouldn't have occurred if the Majority Leader was a Republican. 

*****Update: Ed Morrissey notes, "When Trent Lott made a foolish statement at Strom Thurmond’s birthday party about his presidential run on a segregation tick, the media outcry forced Lott to resign his leadership position.  Will this more explicit insult create any consequences for Reid?"