On Chris Matthews' weekend talk show, NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell and Time Magazine's Joe Klein teamed up to insulate President Obama from attack, insinuating that questioning the President's intelligence and work ethic in the wake of a lackluster debate performance is racist.
First up, Andrea Mitchell recounted an exchange she had with Romney campaign co-chair John Sununu in which Sununu said Obama "revealed his incompetence, how lazy and detached he is, and how he has absolutely no idea how serious the economic problems of the country are."
Mitchell said she was "troubled" by Sununu's criticism, and that "just using that phrase 'lazy,' and attaching it to this President - to any President, but to this President - had all sorts of resonance and echoes."
Later in the segment, Joe Klein announced that any questioning of President Obama's intelligence amounted to bigotry:
Klein: What you're seeing among conservative commentators now is this whole emperor has no clothes thing and the whole teleprompter meme from the last four years. They actually believe this guy isn't intelligent, which is crazy, or it is bigoted.
President Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law school. Two degrees from elite Ivy League institutions typically shield one from criticism regarding intelligence, but progressives held an all-out onslaught on President George W. Bush's intelligence despite also holding two Ivy League degrees. Bush's transcripts reveal approximately a 2.3 GPA while at Yale, which was higher than his 2004 election rival John Kerry. President Obama has declined to release his transcripts.
UPDATE: As numerous commenters pointed out, President Obama has called himself lazy in interviews before. And he got it from growing up in Hawaii... apparently.
Barbara Walters, ABC News: "What's the trait you most deplore in yourself, and the trait you most deplore in others?"
President Obama: "Laziness."
Walters: "You're lazy?"
Obama: "You know, it's interesting. There is a deep down, underneath all the work that I do, I think there's a laziness in me. It's probably from, you know, growing up in Hawaii and it's sunny outside, and sitting on the beach.