Republican congressman Doug Lamborn, representing the fifth congressional district in Colorado Springs, was forced to apologize after referring to President Obama as a "tar baby" on Denver radio's "Caplis & Silverman Show" this Friday. Lamborn used the reprehensible words during a discussion about the White House's budget policies and the debt-ceiling issue, saying, "I don't want to even have to be associated with him. It is like touching a tar baby and you get it — you're stuck, and you're part of the problem now."
Lamborn's office made a lame excuse on Monday, saying his comments were misunderstood, and that no racism was intended. Spokesperson Catherine Mortensen said that the congressman just meant to refer to a sticky situation, but who even uses that term (which originated from the Uncle Remus stories of the late nineteenth century) anymore? Lamborn, a Tea Partier who has been called the most conservative member of Congress, subsequently sent a mea culpa letter to the president, and Mortensen said in a written statement:
"Lamborn was attempting to tell a radio audience last week that the president's policies have created an economic quagmire for the nation and are responsible for the dismal economic conditions our country faces. He regrets that he chose the phrase 'tar baby' rather than the word 'quagmire.' The congressman is confident that the president will accept his heartfelt apology."
Among those responding to the controversy were Rosemary Harris Lytle, president of the NAACP's Colorado Springs chapter, who called Lamborn's remark "vitriolic," and Diana Allen-Phillips, area Urban League president, who stated that you can't "just toss that phrase out and not have it associated with the past."