"So I think Obama takes these statements one at a time and looks at the substance of them, and decides whether or not it's worth getting involved," said Clarence Page, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.
Page has said Obama may be seen as a "post-racial president," but he's not post-racism, a sentiment echoed by other scholars.
"Race is a serious problem," said Lani Guinier, a professor at Harvard Law School. "We are not post-racial. We are not racist in the same way that the United States might have been years ago, but race is an important sociological, economic and social fact."
One person Obama has refrained from commenting on is former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who told Esquire he's "blacker than Barack Obama."
"It's such a cynical business, and most of the people in the business are full of s**t and phonies, but I was real, man -- and am real," the ousted governor told the magazine. "This guy, he was catapulted in on hope and change, what we hope the guy is. What the f**k? Everything he's saying's on the teleprompter. I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up."
Blagojevich later apologized for what he called "stupid comments."
As for Reid, he has said he wants to move beyond the remark and is "not going to dwell on this anymore.
"We have a lot of work to do," Reid said Monday. "I'll continue to do my very best for the people of Nevada and this country. I'm not going to dwell on this anymore. It's in the book, and I've made all the statements I'm going to."
But even if this issue simmers down, it is unlikely to be the last time Obama will be called on to play the part of the referee.
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., became Monday the first Democratic senator to openly criticize Reid's comments. He told ABC affiliate WISN that the Senate majority leader's comments on Obama's race are "racially insensitive"
Today, a spokesman for the senator told ABC News that Feingold has informed Reid that he has his support to remain majority leader.
ABC News' David Chalian, Jake Tapper and Karen Travers contributed to this report.