Barack Obama
President Barack Obama called unflattering name. Image: aflcio/Flickr/CC BY

U.S. Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado was recently on a radio talk show discussing working with the President Obama, the economy and the debt ceiling debates. During the interview, Lamborn used a term to describe the president that many found racially offensive.

Lamborn called Obama ‘a tar baby’

Rep. Lamborn appeared recently on the “Caplis and Silverman” radio talk show, where he expressed that not only is he displeased with the current president, he doesn’t even want to be associated with the administration.

“Even if some people say the Republicans should have done this or that,’ they will hold the President responsible,” said Lamborn. “I don’t even want to have to be associated with him. It’s like touching a tar baby. You’re stuck, and you’re a part of the problem now and you can’t get away. I don’t want that to happen to us, but even if it does, he’ll still get the blame because his policies will have failed the American people.”

Uncle Remus stories

The term “tar baby” comes from the 1881 Uncle Remus stories by Joel Chandler Harris. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the term as “something from which it is nearly impossible to extricate oneself.” However, in more contemporary vernacular, it has come to be used as a derogatory term for African-Americans.

Not a new blunder

In recent years, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Tony Snow have all publicly apologized for using the phrase in the media.

‘Most conservative’

Lamborn was ranked the “most conservative” member of the U.S. House of Representatives by the National Journal in 2010. He was very pleased by the distinction.

“I’ve been called a lot of things over the years while serving in public office, but to be called the ‘most conservative member of Congress’ is a distinct honor.”


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