Harry Reid is no Trent Lott

No sooner did news break of Harry Reid’s uttering a well-meaning but awfully outdated sounding endorsement of Barack Obama than the media invoked the specter of former Republican Senate Leader Trent Lott’s career-killing racist remarks in 2002.

If you’ve been living under a rock all weekend, the news is that John Heilmann and Mark Halperin’s book reports that Reid told them he encouraged Obama to run for president in part because he is, “light-skinned” and has “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Lott, by contrast, praised Strom Thurmond’s 1948 segregationist presidential candidacy, saying:

“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.”