Cornyn: Lott’s Comments ‘Far More Innocuous’ Than Reid’s

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January 11, 2010 5:05 a.m.

Over the past few days, Republicans have been comparing Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) comments on President Obama’s race to former Sen. Trent Lott’s (R-MS) in 2002, saying Reid should step down from his role as Senate majority leader, as Lott did.

Today, Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, went a step further and said Reid’s comments were actually worse than Lott’s.

“Frankly, I don’t expect Sen. Reid to resign. What this is about is his hypocrisy and the hypocrisy of folks on the other side when Trent Lott said something that was far more innocuous than the racially tinged comments that Sen. Reid made,” Cornyn said this morning on MSNBC.

Video after the jump.

To compare: Reid said, in a private conversation before the 2008 election, that Obama had a chance to be the first black president because he was “light-skinned” and didn’t have a “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

Lott, in a televised tribute to Sen. Strom Thurmond for his 100th birthday, said: “I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

Thurmond ran for president in 1948 on a platform that declared, “We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race.”

Lott also had a history of ties to white supremacist groups.

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