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Obama distances himself from Holder statements on race in US

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official website] has distanced himself from remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] in which he characterized the US as a "nation of cowards" on race matters, according to an interview [NYT report] with the New York Times published Saturday. Holder made the statement [text; JURIST report] during a Justice Department (DOJ) [official website] event commemorating Black History Month in February, and he has been criticized by some groups [VOA report] for the comment. In his interview with the Times, Obama said that Holder had made some good points in his speech, but that he would have advised the attorney general to use different language. Obama said that he believed the remaining racial tensions in the country could be best resolved by economic development and improved education and health care.

Earlier in February, the US Senate [official website] voted 75-21 to confirm [JURIST report] Holder as attorney general. Prior to becoming the attorney general, Holder served as a associate judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia [official website] and Deputy US Attorney General [archive materials] during the Clinton administration. Additionally, Holder served as acting attorney general during a brief period of the Bush administration before the confirmation of John Ashcroft [BBC profile].

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