Harry Reid Apologizes for Joke About 'Wongs'
Senate majority leader was speaking before Asian Chamber of Commerce
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2014 11:30 AM CDT
Harry Reid, center, takes photographs with members of the Asian Chamber of Commerce.   (AP Photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Erik Verduzco)

(Newser) – Harry Reid has issued an apology for comments he made to the Asian Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas, reports Politico. When he was introduced to the president of the group, Dr. Terry Wong, the senator majority leader cracked, "One problem that I've had today is keeping my Wongs straight." At another point, he praised Asian-Americans as "so productive," adding, “I don’t think you’re smarter than anybody else, but you’ve convinced a lot of us you are." After the Republican group America Rising made hay of the comments, Reid said yesterday that they "were in extremely poor taste and I apologize. Sometimes I say the wrong thing."

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that both jokes drew laughter from the crowd, and it talks to Wong himself, who says he wasn't offended because the jokes weren't "malicious." Not that he was doubled over in laughter: He says he's heard some variation of that Wongs line "all of my life." As for the other: “Of course we’re not smarter, but we work hard and put a lot of effort into what we’re doing," he says. "I think it’s a compliment to us.” Still, Reid's comments are bringing to mind his 2010 apology after remarking that Barack Obama didn't have much of a "Negro dialect."

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Showing 3 of 63 comments
Aug 28, 2014 11:24 AM CDT
Liberals cry for resignations when conservatives blunder like this. Liberals simply have to say "I'm sorry"?
Aug 27, 2014 12:14 PM CDT
If you don't knows what's right you going to mess up with your Wongs.
Roberto M
Aug 25, 2014 12:34 PM CDT
Did you hear about the Chinese woman who gave birth to a black baby? Her husband named him Sum Tin Wong!