Veteran US senator Harry Reid has apologised to President Barack Obama for referring to him in racially insensitive language in private conversations during the 2008 presidential campaign as "light-skinned" and as having "no Negro dialect."
"I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words," the Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid said in a statement. "I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans, for my improper comments."
Obama said that the Democrat Senator from Nevada called him about the matter on Saturday. "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," Obama said.
"As far as I am concerned, the book is closed," Obama said in a statement.
The authors quote Reid as saying privately that Obama, as a black candidate, could be successful thanks, in part, to his "light-skinned" appearance and speaking patterns "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."
"He [Reid] 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,' " Halperin and Heilemann say.
Reid's apologies came on the same day that a poll conducted by the Las Vegas Review Journal showed him facing an uphill fight for reelection in November.