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The ‘Double Standard’

Apropos of this insightful Marc Ambinder post on the push to equate Trent Lott’s 2002 gaffe with Harry Reid’s current flap, here is the entirety of the new Republican National Committee “research briefing” that accuses Democrats of holding the two politicians to difference standards. Notable, I think, is how the RNC leaves out any mention of what Lott actually said, assigning that task to the excerpts — which really don’t help the comparison.

Will These Dems Hold Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid To Their Own Standard?

**Reid Called Obama “Light Skinned” And Said He Had “No Negro Dialect.” **“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described in private then-Sen. Barack Obama as ‘light skinned’ and ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.’” (Philip Elliot, “Reid Apologizes For ‘No Negro Dialect’ Comment,” The Associated Press, 1/9/10)


**Congressional Black Caucus Defending Reid And “Brushing Back” Republicans. **“Separately, the Congressional Black Caucus plans to issue a new statement Monday, defending Reid and brushing back Republicans.” (Mike Allen & Jake Sherman, “Democrats Launch Counterattack To Save Harry Reid’s Career,” Politico, 1/11/10)

  • **Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-CA): “I Look Forward To Senator Reid Continuing To Serve As Majority Leader.” **“‘Senator Reid’s record provides a stark contrast to actions of Republicans to block legislation that would benefit poor and minority communities — most recently reflected in Republican opposition to the health bill now under consideration,’ CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said. ‘I look forward to Senator Reid continuing to serve as Majority Leader to guide this important agenda through the Senate.’” (Mike Allen & Jake Sherman, “Democrats Launch Counterattack To Save Harry Reid’s Career,” Politico, 1/11/10)

**President Obama Says “The Book Is Closed” On Reid’s Comments **“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.” (“Obama Accepts Reid’s Apology,” Politico’s “44” Blog, 1/10/10)

**DNC Chairman Tim Kaine Says Reid’s Racial Remarks Were “Clearly … In The Context Of Praising” Obama. **“The Democratic Party chairman, Timothy M. Kaine, said on Fox that Reid’s remarks ‘clearly were in the context of praising’ Obama, and that there is no need for the Senate leader to resign. ‘The important thing is the president right away said, ‘This is a closed book,’ Kaine said.” (Chris Cillizza, “Republican Leader Steele: Reid Should Resign Over Remarks,” The Washington Post, 1/11/10)

**Schumer “Quite Certain” Reid Will Survive His Racial Remarks. **“Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat, is said to be quite certain Reid would ride out the controversy, particularly because Obama and the Rev. Al Sharpton had accepted Reid’s apology and issued effusively supportive statements.” (Mike Allen & Jake Sherman, “Democrats Launch Counterattack To Save Harry Reid’s Career,” Politico, 1/11/10)

**Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) Warned Opponents Not To Attack Reid Over His Racial Remarks. **“D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is warning Republicans against trying to make hay out of Harry Reid’s comments about Barack Obama’s skin color and lack of a ‘Negro dialect.’” (Jake Sherman, “Eleanor Holmes Norton Defends Harry Reid, Warns Republicans,” Politico, 1/10/10)

**Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Claims “Clearly, This Was A Mistake.” **Feinstein: “Clearly, this was a mistake. Clearly, the leader misspoke. He has also apologized. He’s not only apologized to the President, I think he’s apologized to the– all of the black leadership that he could reach. So the President has accepted the apology and it would seem to me that the matter should be closed.” (CBS’ “Face The Nation,” 1/10/10)


**Reid On Lott: “I Don’t Know How In The World I Could Condone, Support Or Understand His Statements.” **“‘As closely as I’ve worked with him, I don’t know how in the world I could condone, support or understand his statements,’ said Reid, the Senate Democratic whip. ‘I think what he said is not good for America; it’s repugnant what he said.’ ‘If Republicans think it’s best for Democrats to keep him there, maybe they’ll get rid of him,’ Reid said.” (Tony Batt and Jane Ann Morriso, “Ensign Continues To Back Lott As Majority Leader,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 12/17/02)

  • **Reid: Lott Had “No Alternative” But To Resign. **“Sen. Harry Reid said Republican Senate leader Trent Lott’s decision to relinquish his post Friday came as no surprise. ‘He had no alternative,’ the Nevada Democrat and Senate minority leader said. ‘Senator Lott dug himself a hole and he didn’t dig it all in one setting. He dug it over the years. And he couldn’t figure out a way to get out of it.’” (“Nevada Lawmakers Not Surprised By Lott Resignation,” The Associated Press, 12/20/02)


**Congressional Black Caucus Called For Formal Censure On Lott. **“In the days since, Democrats have heaped criticism on Lott. One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Senate Democrats were considering whether to call for a formal censure vote of the GOP leader, a suggestion first made Thursday by the Congressional Black Caucus and renewed after Lott spoke.” (David Espo, “Lott Apologizes Again, Denounces Racism,” The Associated Press, 12/13/02)

**Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): Lott Should Not Be Renominated. **“‘My first hope is that he is not renominated,’ Mr. Schumer said in an interview. ‘The remarks that Senator Lott made come from the same type of insensitivity that we found in Judge Pickering and led us to the conclusion that he didn’t merit promotion to a higher court. If anything, the reaction to Lott’s comments reinforce that view.’ If Judge Pickering is renominated, Mr. Schumer said, a rich Senate floor debate on race will be inevitable.” (Neil A. Lewis, “Divisive Words: Judicial Appointments,” The New York Times, 12/18/02)


**Then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE): “You Cannot Be Insensitive To Race Issues From Positions Of Leadership.” **Biden: “Well, I–I think the Republicans have to come to the milk and decide what they want to do. Look, one thing we should have all learned by now, you cannot be insensitive to race issues from positions of leadership. And unfortunately for Trent, his comments are not measured just in the context of the incident where he made them but in the context of his whole record. … They’ve got to define for themselves what kind of face they want to put on their party. And my guess is out of their self-interest, they may very well decide that–that Trent has to go.” (CBS’ “Face The Nation,” 12/15/02)

**Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) On Lott: We Need Healers, Not Dividers. **“‘We need political leaders who are healers, not dividers,’ Durbin said. ‘I hope that Senator Lott’s apology will translate into action and that he will advance policies that bring us together as a nation rather than pull us apart.’” (Dori Meinert, “Fitzgerald, Simon Support Lott In Racial Controversy,” Copley News Services, 12/13/02)

**Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) Called On Lott To Resign. **“Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, urged Mr. Lott to resign as party leader because the remark would ‘place a cloud over his leadership.’” (Stephen Dinan, “GOP Defends Lott’s Intent,” The Washington Times, 12/12/02)

**Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA): If A Democrat Leader Made Racial Comments, They Would Not Be Allowed To Keep Their Position. **“‘I can tell you, if a Democratic leader said such a thing, they would not be allowed to keep their position,’ Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, said of Mr. Lott in 2002.” (Joseph Curl, “Democrats Close Ranks Around Reid,” The Washington Times, 1/11/10)

**Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR): Lott Is Out Of Touch With The Senate. **“‘The sentiments expressed by Senator Lott’s words last week have no place in today’s America,’ Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat, said in a statement. ‘If he truly believes a Strom Thurmond presidency would have been good for the country, then he is out of touch with the U.S. Senate and certainly with a great majority of Americans. Senator Lott owes the nation a thorough explanation of his words recorded in 1980 and again last week. Racism and bigotry once divided America and we cannot tolerate words that might send us back there.’” (Paul Barton, “Lott’s Remarks Draw Arkansas Reproach,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 12/12/02)

**Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA): His Apology Doesn’t Take Away The Sting Of His Remarks. **Boxer: “His apology does not take away the sting of his divisive words, nor the pain inflicted on millions of African Americans under segregation.” (Edward Epstein, “Bush Calls Lott’s Remark ‘Wrong’,” San Francisco Chronicle, 12/13/02)

**Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) On Lott: His Comments “Demonstrate A Glaring Insensitivity To The Pain African-Americans Suffered As A Result Of Segregation And Discrimination.” **“Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland said Lott’s comments ‘demonstrate a glaring insensitivity to the pain African-Americans suffered as a result of segregation and discrimination.’” (Julie Hirschfeld Davis, “Lott Repeats Apologies, Rejects Calls To Resign As Senate Leader,” The Baltimore Sun, 12/14/02)

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