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Ensign Tells Fellow Republicans to Back Off Reid

Nevada Sen. John Ensign said Monday it is wrong for his fellow Republicans to call for the resignation of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid over racially insensitive comments he made about President Obama.

Reid has apologized to Obama since a new book quoted him describing Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign as a light-skinned African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Ensign said Monday that Reid's apology was sincere and that the Nevada Democrat regretted how his comments were taken.

"I think we need to get away from this politics of gotcha," Ensign told KKOH radio in Reno.

"I don't think there's a person walking, certainly not a politician out there, that hasn't made comments they regret," he said. "When you make those comments, as long as you take responsibility for your comments and apologize for them, I think people should accept that."

Ensign said he was angered by how Democrats treated former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., after he suggested the country might be better off if Strom Thurmond, who ran as a segregationist, would have won the presidency in 1948. Lott resigned shortly after he made the comments.

"Democrats were really wrong in what they did to Trent Lott, and we shouldn't do the same thing to Sen. Reid," Ensign said.

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