WASHINGTON -- Comments by Attorney General Eric Holder have ignited a firestorm of controversy. He says he believes race is behind some of the opposition to President Barack Obama's policies. Critics on the right pounced on Holder's remarks, accusing him of playing the race card.
Holder, speaking at historically black Howard University on Tuesday, called on Congress to expand the protections of the Voting Rights Act. Holder again waded into the issue of race.
"As it stands, our society is not yet colorblind; nor should it be, given the disparities that still afflict and divide us," he said. "We must be color brave and must never forget that all are made better and more prosperous if all are given equal opportunities."
His comments over the weekend that are getting all the attention surrounded Holder suggesting on some level race is a factor in the treatment he and the president receive from some segments of the public.
"There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me (and) directed at the president," Holder said. "You know, people talking about taking their country back."
Democrats have also used the phrase "Taking their country back," referring to Republicans, including former President George W. Bush. But Holder is taking aim at those on the right calling for the impeachment of the president and the attorney general himself.
"There's a certain racial component to this for some people," he said. "I don't think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there's a racial animus."
"I don't think it helps us, I don't think it takes us in the right direction in terms of making progress on dealing with this eternal issue we've got in America, which is to make sure that we are doing everything we possibly can do to fight racism.," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.