And also smart. I don't especially like the senator. (But I've never met him.) But, if you think that these thoughts, Reid's thoughts, weren't in the Obama folks' campaign calculations, you are a very innocent soul.
Please read John McWhorter's dissection of the whole controversy right here at TNR. For whatever it's worth, I think McWhorter's regular writings for us--mostly on language--are almost always probing, and funny besides. He is this generation's William Safire.
P.S. Back to poor Harry Reid. In trying to defend himself against charges of prejudice--mostly from oh-so racially sensitive Republican politicians--he felt he had to call Al Sharpton to relieve him of his sins. Which the charlatan minister eagerly did, but not before chastising the senator for his poor choice of words. Imagine feeling so desperate that you'd go to Sharpton cleanse your soul.