Not his words, you must understand. Just a "depressing" observation from a "very smart" White House aide:
Joe Klein -- last seen beclowning himself on Benghazi -- gets a big laugh at this line because it's so true, right? Republicans are just the worst. Lincoln would have never been able to handle this bunch of radicals. Maybe this "very smart" White House source should go re-watch Lincoln, or re-read his history books. Congressional Republicans were the ones who voted in lockstep for the Constitutional Amendment outlawing slavery, with the strong support of the Republican president. Democrats were the guys doing everything within their power to obstruct progress on that front, angrily inveighing against "radical Republicans" throughout the legislative fight. Then, a hundred years later, it was once again Democrats who were filibustering the Civil Rights Act -- which passed thanks to GOP leadership.
But who am I kidding? These facts are irrelevant. This White House aide couldn't resist serving up a culturally relevant quip (no matter how ahistorical or ignorant) that conveniently merged two current Democratic memes: Republicans are racists and obstructionists.* Todd was so impressed by this brilliant insight that he simply had to relay it on national television.
*I don't have the energy to rehearse all of the reasons why today's prevailing 'GOP-as-obstructionists' narrative is false and grossly unfair. And it seems as though some elected Republicans can't be bothered to creatively dispel that notion either.