Obama: Reid’s Comments Were “Inartful” but Not “Mean-Spirited”

From Sunlen Miller:

President Obama today said that although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comments about his race and dialect were “inartful” that there was nothing mean-spirited about his remarks.

“This is a good man who’s always been on the right side of history,” Mr. Obama told Roland Martin in an interview for TV One at the White House this afternoon , “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.

According to a new book about the 2008 presidential campaign, “Game Change,” by Mark Halperin and John Heileman, Reid called Obama a “light skinned” black man with “no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.”

Reid apologized to the President on Saturday for the remarks , which the President said he accepted, and considered the issue closed.

“He 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,” Obama said today.

The President said that Americans– regardless of race – are more concerned with issues like health care and jobs.

“I guarantee you the average person, white or black, right now is less concerned about what Harry Reid said in a quote in a book a couple years ago than they are about how we are going to move the country forward,” Obama said, “That’s where we need to direct our attention.”

TV One’s interview with the President will air in full on Monday, as part of the prime time “Washington Watch with Roland Martin” special airing on the Martin Luther King holiday.

-Sunlen Miller

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