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

An aide to Sen. Rand Paul (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.

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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.