Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is under fire big time for saying that Barack Obama could be president because he is light-skinned and doesn't speak with a Negro dialect unless he has to. Those comments were made in either 2006 or 2007; the timeline is in dispute and that's not really important in this situation. What is clear is that Reid unwisely voiced points that were thought by many. Except for that antiquated 'Negro' terminology, Senator Reid made the same assessment a lot of whites probably made and some blacks also; let's not kid ourselves.
To be politically attractive, candidates are advised to look and speak a certain way. Candidate Barack Obama fit that mold and his Ivy League education sealed the deal. Am I a Harry Reid fan? No but I'm not hating on him either. I also don't think his comments were nearly as racially-charged as Trent Lott's 'Dixiecrat' comment, that 'Barack the Magic Negro' song and controversial comments by others.
The GOP is attempting to keep this topic in the media by claiming 'double standard' in the treatment of Republicans who have made racial comments compared to Democrats who do the same. Should Harry Reid resign? No. Is Harry Reid a racist? I don't know. Is he out-of-touch? Absolutely --- as are the folks over at the Census Bureau.