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Republicans cite Lott in calling for Reid to quit GOP

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WASHINGTON – A double standard? Republicans seeking Sen. Harry Reid's resignation as majority leader over racial remarks he made about Barack Obama say yes — that Reid should be held to the same standard as former GOP Sen. Trent Lott, whose own racial gaffes cost him the Senate leadership in 2002. Democrats say no, that Reid's comments — while unfortunate — were nothing like Lott's. Reid apologized to Obama and a handful of black political leaders after a new book reported that he was favorably impressed by Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and, in a private conversation, described the Illinois senator as a "light-skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." Obama, who tries to steer clear of the political thicket of race and politics, accepted the apology and said he wanted to close the book on the episode. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday that the president "didn't take offense" at the comment. Republicans were eager to keep the issue open Sunday, comparing Reid's remarks to those that cost Trent Lott the Senate leadership in 2002 and questioning why there was different reaction now. Lott had cheered the 1948 presidential campaign of Strom Thurmond — a segregationist Democrat opposing President Harry Truman — during a 100th birthday tribute to Thurmond, by then a longtime Republican senator.

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