10/06/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Westmoreland Defends "Uppity" Obama Comment

Heretofore little-known Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia was born in 1950 in Atlanta and was raised in one of its surrounding communities.

Rep. Which means the Republican grew up at a time when the racial divide in the South was stark, a time when Jim Crow laws helped enforce a segregationist credo that limited opportunities for blacks, a time when -- as an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article puts it today -- "uppity" was "a word applied to African-Americans who tried to rise above servile positions."

But to hear Westmoreland tell it, he had no clue he was using a racially tinged word when, as reported by The Hill newspaper, he said in Washington this week: "Honestly, I've never paid that much attention to Michelle Obama. Just what little I've seen of her and Sen. [Barack] Obama, is that they're a member of an elitist class ... that thinks that they're uppity."

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