Lamborn apologizes to Obama for 'tar baby' comment

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) issued an apology to President Obama Monday night for a remark on a radio show last week when he said that associating with Obama was "like touching a tar baby."

The congressman's office released the following statement Monday night:

"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," said the release. "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."

The term was coined in the 19th-century Uncle Remus stories when the character Br’er Fox made a “tar-baby,” a doll made of tar and turpentine, to entrap his nemesis Br’er Rabbit. The term generally means a "sticky situation." But it has also been used as a derogatory term for a black person.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), while a presidential contender in 2008, used the term to describe a sticky situation involving the law and afterwards apologized, saying he should have used another term.  Mitt Romney (R) in 2007, when he was seeking the GOP presidential nomination as he now is, used the term to describe the Big Dig tunnel project in Boston. He also afterwards apologized. 

The comment is unlikely to hurt Lamborn politically. He represents a Colorado Springs-based congressional district that gave McCain 59 percent of the vote in 2008, and the district is unlikely to become more competitive in the redistricting process.