After a comment he made in 2008 surfaced in Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's new book, Game Change, which hits stores Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called President Obama to apologize. The apology-inducing passage in question:
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.
Reid has already issued an apology for the remarks, which has been accepted by the President, who released a statement on the matter: "Harry Reid called me today and apologized for an unfortunate comment reported today. I accepted Harry's apology without question because I've known him for years, I've seen the passionate leadership he's shown on issues of social justice and I know what's in his heart. As far as I am concerned, the book is closed."
This is not the first time that a Democrat has had to backtrack on comments regarding President Obama's race: now-Vice President Joe Biden came under criticism in 2007 for referring to Obama as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," remarks he later apologized for and attempted to clarify. President Obama, then Senator Obama, accepted Biden's apology, noting: "I didn't take Sen. Biden's comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate. African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate."