Harry Reid is a "good man" who simply used "inartful language," President Obama said today.

In an interviewing airing tonight, Obama says Reid's use of the terms "Negro dialect" and "light-skinned" doesn't change the fact that he's been on the "right side of history.

"This is a good man who’s always been on the right side of history," Obama told TV ONE's Roland Martin. "For him to have used some inartful language in trying to praise me, and for people to try to make hay out of that makes absolutely no sense.  He apologized, recognizing that he didn’t use appropriate language, but there was nothing mean-spirited in what he had to say and he’s always been on the right side of the issues."

Obama went on to say that the most Americans care more about the economy and healthcare than they do about the controversy surrounding Reid's comments.

 I guarantee you the average person, white or black, right now is less concerned about what Harry Reid said in a quote in a book a couple years ago than they are about how are we going to move the country forward," the president said. "That’s where we need to direct our attention."