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April 20, 2014

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GOP cites double standard, pressures Democrats over Harry Reid comments

Fox News Sunday

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gestures while speaking on health care reform during a news conference, Monday, Oct. 26, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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WASHINGTON -- Republicans opened a new line of attack against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today, questioning why fellow Democratic senators who criticized racially insensitive remarks by a former Republican Senate leader are not similarly calling for Reid to step down.

On the third day since Reid's remarks about President Barack Obama being "light-skinned" and not speaking "with a Negro dialect," Republicans show no sign of relenting on what they see as a damaging campaign issue for the Nevadan and his party.

Republicans are putting the heat on Reid's fellow Democratic senators, including southerners facing their own difficult re-elections, in November.

They noted that when former Republican Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi was forced to resign in 2002 after saying the nation may have been better off had segregationist candidiate Strom Thurmond won the presidency in 1948, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana said a Democratic leader would face similar scrutiny.

Now, Landrieu’s silence on Reid "is deafening,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson Marchand.

“It’s difficult to view Senator Landrieu’s silence as anything other than a clear double standard – especially in light of her own statements in 2002 that a Democratic leader ‘would not be allowed to keep their position’ if they made such a racially-charged statement.”

The campaign committee targeted several other Democratic senators in similar missives this morning.

Reid has so far received an outpouring of support from Obama, civil rights leaders and leading African-Americans in Nevada and Washington.

Reid's fellow Democratic senators, too, have rallied to his side.

Many supporters point to Reid's long record as a champion of civil rights issues, saying they know his heart is in the right place if his word choice was not.

Scholars have said the comparison to Lott falls short as the Republican leader had previously said similar comments about the segregationist candidate.

Reid has no plans to drop his leadership position or re-election campaign.

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