Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, speaking on the GOP's expected strategy against Democrats in elections this fall, said Republicans would describe President Obama as "a nice person ... very articulate" but an ineffective leader who "couldn't sell watermelons if you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic."
Rather prefaced the comments, made Sunday on the "Chris Matthews Show," by saying, "The Republicans will make a case and a lot of independents will buy this argument."
Rather is known for his homespun anecdotes, though his choice of language in this instance already is raising some eyebrows on media blogs, which note the potential "racial minefield."
Racial slurs aimed at Obama have popped up across the country -- and been quickly denounced -- since he became the country's first black president.
In one case, the mayor of the small California city of Los Alamitos caused an uproar a year ago for sending an e-mail showing watermelons in front of the White House. The mayor apologized and resigned, claiming he was unaware of the stereotype that blacks like watermelon.