Harry Reid's campaign is spinning his statement--"I don't know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican"--claiming that Reid wasn't making a racial argument.
"Sen. Reid’s contention was simply that he doesn't understand how anyone, Hispanic or otherwise, would vote for Republican candidates because they oppose saving teachers’ jobs, oppose job-creating tax incentives for small businesses, oppose investments in job-creating clean energy projects, and oppose the help for struggling, unemployed Nevadans to put food on the table and stay in their homes," reads a statement from the Reid campaign.
In fact, Laura Meyers of the Las Vegas Review Journal reports that Reid made his comment in the context of a discussion about immigration policy and suggested that some want to treat Hispanics differently because "their skin's a tone darker."
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid on Tuesday slammed Republicans for blocking comprehensive immigration reform and told Hispanics they shouldn't be treated differently because "their skin's a tone darker" than that of America's early European immigrants. [...]
"My wife's father was an immigrant from Russia," Reid said of his father-in-law, who was of the Jewish faith at a time of deadly religious persecution across Europe. "He and his family were driven out of Russia. They came for the peace and quiet and safety of the United States.
"Immigration is nothing new," Reid added, speaking to more than 50 mostly activist Hispanics who applauded his anti-GOP remarks. "We are a nation of immigrants. So because the wave of immigrants we have now -- their skin's a tone darker than ours -- doesn't make it any different."
The clear implication of the "their skin's a tone darker than ours" line is that some if not all of those who oppose Reid on immigration are motivated by racism. In other words, Reid's campaign isn't doubling down on his remark so much as it's trying to weasel its way out.