Rand Paul aide who wrote about toasting Lincoln’s killer resigns

An aide to Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulWhat the 'Bernie Sanders wing of the GOP' can teach Congress GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election How low is the bar for presidential candidates, anyway? MORE (R-Ky.) who has come under fire for statements about the Civil War has resigned.

Jack Hunter, who previously worked as a shock jock known as the "Southern Avenger" and said Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth's heart was "in the right place," said he did not want to be a distraction for the senator, who is openly considering a White House run in 2016.

“I’ve long been a conservative, and years ago, a much more politically incorrect (and campy) one,” Hunter said in an email to The Daily Caller. “But there’s a significant difference between being politically incorrect and racist. I’ve also become far more libertarian over the years, a philosophy that encourages a more tolerant worldview, through the lens of which I now look back on some of my older comments with embarrassment.”

Hunter added that he hopes to better clarify his comments so as not to be perceived as racist.

One of Hunter's past writings said he raises "a personal toast every May 10 to celebrate John Wilkes Booth’s birthday," and compared President Abraham Lincoln to Saddam Hussein, according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon.

He also complained that whites were subject to a "racial double standard" and should be allowed "to celebrate their own cultural identity."

In an interview with The Huffington Post earlier this month, Paul stood by Hunter.

“If I thought he was a white supremacist, he would be fired immediately,” Paul said, while admitting some of his writing was "absolutely stupid."

“Are we at a point where nobody can have had a youth or said anything untoward?” Paul said.

And in an interview with cn|2 on Monday, Paul confirmed the departure and said he hoped the controversy would not damage his minority outreach efforts.

“I think everybody occasionally has people that work for them who sometimes have a background that damages what you’re trying to do,” he said.

“But I think people can judge me on who I am and what I’m trying to do,” Paul continued.

This post was updated at 11:22 a.m.