Sen. Rockefeller Standing by Comment on Racism Against Obama

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Friday, 23 May 2014 04:17 PM

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Sen. Jay Rockefeller is standing by his assertion that Republicans oppose Obamacare and the rest of the president's legislative agenda because he’s the "wrong color," Politico reports.

"People oppose things for a variety of reasons. That’s all you’re going to get from me," the Democrat from West Virginia told reporters Thursday.

"It’s a part of life. And it is a part of American life, and world life, and it’s a part — just a part — of why they oppose absolutely everything that this president does. It’s basically for political reasons, they do that. But at some point, you can’t exclude other factors … as they say, everything is on the table."

Rockefeller was chairing a Senate Finance Committee hearing on transportation a few weeks ago when he became exasperated with failure to agree on how to flow new tax dollars into the nation's Transportation Trust Fund, Politico reported then.

"It’s an American characteristic that you don’t do anything which displeases the voters, because you always have to get re-elected here," he added. "I understand part of it. It has to do with — for some, it’s just we don’t want anything good to happen under this president, because he’s the wrong color."

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson took Rockefeller, who is retiring, to task on Wednesday at another hearing of the same panel.

"It was regrettable, and I would say it was offensive … that you would play the race card," Johnson said. "That you would say that opposition to Obamacare necessarily must stream from some inherent racism? Very offensive. My opposition to healthcare has nothing to do with the race of President Obama. It is the greatest assault on our freedom in my lifetime."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has stayed silent on Rockefeller's comments.

"Between the two of them. I’m staying out of it," Reid said when reporters approached him, according to Politico. "I mean, it’s something I should stay out of and I’m going to."

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