Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he hopes Republicans who oppose the president do so “based on substance and not the fact that he’s an African American.”

The comment came during a wide-ranging interview Friday with Las Vegas-based National Public Radio affiliate KNPR, in which Reid, a Nevada Democrat, lamented Republican filibusters and claimed opponents do everything they can to make Obama fail.

He recalled that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said during Obama’s first term that his most important goal was ensuring Obama wasn’t re-elected.

“Here we are seven months into his second term and nothing has changed,” Reid said. “It’s been obvious they are doing everything they can to make him fail. And I hope, I hope, and I say this seriously, it’s based on substance and not the fact that he’s an African American.”

Reid’s comments went unchallenged by the program’s moderator, but not by Newsmax contributor and conservative African-American columnist Clarence V. McKee, who said there was no reason for Reid to raise the race issue during the interview.

“It’s been typical for the last 3½ years — Obama supporters, black and white — whenever he’s criticized the first thing they yell is ‘race or racism,’” said McKee, who held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as the Reagan presidential campaigns. “For the Senate majority leader to stoop that low and go into the racial gutter is disgusting.”
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