Dan Rather sorry for 'watermelons' comment

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather today apologised for a remark that could be taken as a racist slur on President Barack Obama.

Rather apologised for his choice of words on a TV current affairs talk show when he used an analogy of selling watermelons on the side of the road to describe President Obama and healthcare, according to Fox News.

Speaking on the Republican party's expected strategy against Democrats in elections this fall, Rather said Republicans would describe President Obama as "a nice person ... very articulate" but an ineffective leader who "couldn't sell watermelons if you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic."

This morning, Rather apologised in an article he posted on HuffingtonPost.com.

"It's an expression that stretches to my boyhood roots in Southeast Texas, when country highways were lined with stands manned by sellers of all races," Rather wrote.

"Now of course watermelons have become a stereotype for African Americans and so my analogy entered a charged environment. I'm sorry people took offense."

Anyone who knows me personally or knows my professional career would know that race was not on my mind," Rather wrote.

Rather's comment had raised some eyebrows on media blogs, and on the social networking website Twitter.

Recent Tweets on the topic:

* It's not racism - it's a ratherism.

* Dan Rather's remark showed latent prejudice & he is wrong. Pres Obama has got further with Healthcare reform than any Pres since Johnson.

* Rather's apology about the watermelon comment was convoluted.

* Add Larry King's age to Dan Rather's age ... that long ago, Andrew Jackson was prez!

* Does anybody seriously think Dan Rather is racist? Do you KNOW this man's career???

* Watermelons? He probably meant to say 'fried chicken'.

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