WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Republican congressman from Georgia who referred to Barack and Michelle Obama as "uppity" says he wasn't aware of the term's racial overtones and didn't mean to offend anyone.
Still, Democrats are demanding an apology.
A Capitol Hill newspaper, "The Hill," reports Congressman Lynn Westmoreland described the Obamas yesterday as part of an "elitist class" that thinks they're "uppity." When asked by a reporter if he intended to use the word "uppity," he repeated it.
In a statement today, Westmoreland says he didn't know that "uppity" was commonly used as a derogatory term for blacks seeking equal treatment. Instead he refers to the dictionary definition of the word as describing someone who is haughty, snobbish or has inflated self-esteem.
Westmoreland was born in 1950 and grew up in the segregated South. He has drawn past criticism from civil rights groups.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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