10/06/2011 05:20 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Lindsey Graham: Rick Perry Faces 'Intimidation Factor' As 'Southern White Guy'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) defended Rick Perry against accusations of racism Thursday, following the revelation over the weekend that a Perry family hunting camp in Texas had the word "Niggerhead" painted on a rock at its entrance.

"Rick Perry is not a racist. Rick Perry has produced jobs in a Texas in a very impressive way. He is a good man, and this is not going to work," Graham said on "The Mike Gallagher Show."

Gallagher, a conservative nationally syndicated talk radio show host, said that he saw a "bullying factor" to the criticism. Graham chimed in: "An intimidation factor, you'd better believe it. If you are a southern white guy, this is part of your life."

Perry told The Washington Post that the rock with the name "Niggerhead" was painted over in 1983 or 1984. However, seven sources interviewed by the Post said it was still visible after that. As recently as last summer, the name could still be seen faintly under a coat of paint.

After the story broke, even Perry's political opponents defended the governor against charges of racism. However, Perry has had periodic trouble with the subject of race since he won statewide office as agriculture commissioner in 1990, including remarks about promoting states' rights that some deemed racially insensitive.