The panel on This Week weighed in on this quote from the new book "Game Change" by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann:
Reid was wowed by Obama's oratorical gifts and believed that the country was ready to embrace a black presidential candidate, especially one such as Obama, a 'light-skinned African-American' with 'no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,' as Reid said privately.
Liz Cheney among others was of course happy to make political hay of this and accuse Harry Reid of being a "liberal elite" racist and gets taken to task by George Will of all people.
CHENEY: But, you know, can I just point out that I think one of the things that makes the American people frustrated is when they see time and time again liberals excusing racism from other liberals. And I think that, you know, clearly, Senator Reid's comments were outrageous. And the notion that they're being excused...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But in a private conversation that he thought was off the record...
CHENEY: I don't think racism is OK, George, whether you're saying it in private or in public. And the excuse of it by liberals, you know, is -- is really inexcusable.
But I do think, frankly, you know, he's given the voters of Nevada yet one more reason to oust him this -- this next time around, and I suspect that's what they'll do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: George, you're shaking your head.
WILL: I don't think there's a scintilla of racism in what Harry Reid said. At long last, Harry Reid has said something that no one can disagree with, and he gets in trouble for it.
CHENEY: George, give me a break. I mean, talking about the color of the president's skin...
WILL: Did he get it wrong?
CHENEY: ... and the candidate's...
WILL: Did he say anything false?
CHENEY: ... it's -- these are clearly racist comments, George.
WILL: Oh, my, no.
HUNT: ... quickly, Liz, I -- I think it was certainly an indelicate comment, but, in fact, during the election, there were stories and there were people commenting on Tiger Woods, Adrian Fenty. I mean, I think it's very unfortunate, but I think there is an element that says that -- that -- that some -- some blacks do better than others because of appearance. I don't think that's right...
HUNT: ... but I don't think...
CHENEY: ... this may be the way that liberal elites speak to each other in private. It is not the way that people that I know speak to each other in private or public...
HUNT: ... no one's ever accused Harry Reid of being a liberal elite.
CHENEY: ... all of us hope that this nation will be one, where we're judged by the content of our character, and that is not what that comment...
REICH: Before we banter around or use terms like "liberal elites" or "racism," let me just say that race is, unfortunately, still a factor in politics and in this country. We may not like it; we may not want it to be. And in the election, people did talk about race. That does not make them a racist.