They say he's a bookworm, rather than a barfly.
They say he's more comfortable with the intricacies of policy making, rather than the crudities of glad-handing.
Such aspersions have clearly been preying on President Obama's mind. So where better to assert his true self than on "Between Two Ferns"?
This entirely serious "Funny Or Die" talk show, presented by policy wonk Zach Galifianakis, allows guests to reveal the sides of themselves that might have been in the shade of the spotlight.
The president showed his mean, masculine side when asked: "What's it like to be the last black president?"
His reply: "Seriously? What's it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a person?"
However, there was one very prickly area upon which Galifianakis trod halfway through the interview.
"You said if you had a son you would not let him play football," began the host. "What makes you think that he would want to play football? What if he was a nerd like you?"
So there we had it, exposed for all to hear -- the accusation that the president was a cliche, a Napoleon Dynamite, a nerd in a basketball uniform, unworthy of true admiration.
You might imagine that the president would have retorted with an explanation that most political power was now in the hands of West Coast nerds. You might think he would have made some highfalutin point about education.
Instead, he replied: "Do you think a woman like Michelle would marry a nerd?"
Yes, he devolved to the idea that smart, attractive women would never go for fascinating, intelligent, uncoordinated men.
Much of the interview was, of course, an advertisement for Healthcare.gov, the Web site that has been as consistent as "The Hangover" trilogy.
I fear, though, that what will be remembered most is the president's besmirching of nerd culture.
Will someone from the government be listening in today on the nerds' private reactions?