Mitt Romney said that the racial epithet that served as the name of Rick Perry's Texas hunting lodge was "offensive" in a interview Monday with Sean Hannity.

“I’ve followed it from afar," Romney said. "I think it’s offensive. I think most people think it’s offensive."

Romney joins Herman Cain - who said that the slur was "insensitive" - in denouncing the name of the camp. But Cain backtracked from his criticism Monday after a harsh reaction from the conservative blogosphere, insisting that he was not "playing the race card."

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“All I said was the mere fact that that word was there was ‘insensitive,’ ” Cain said outside Trump Tower in Manhattan, N.Y., according to the National Review. “That’s not playing the race card. I am not attacking Gov. Perry. Some people in the media want to attack him. I’m done with that issue!”

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Perry — and his parents before him — had leased a Texas hunting ranch that at one point was known by the name "N-----head." The slur was painted on a rock on the property, which Perry said was later painted over at his request. Conservatives have decried the article as unfair to the Texas governor, and complained that Cain's criticism exploited the issue for political gain.

At conservative blog Red State, Eric Erickson called the story "a slander Herman Cain is picking up and running with as a way to get into second place."

By wading into the controversy, Romney may also draw the ire of the right. But in drawing contrast with the conservative blogs, Romney may establish himself as more of a moderate while hitting Perry's ties to inflammatory rhetoric - two themes his campaign will rely on in early primary states like New Hampshire.

Romney also announced that he will be giving a major foreign policy address in South Carolina later this week. The Romney campaign hopes that in doing so, Romney can draw further distinction between himself an Perry, who has said that he is still developing his campaign platforms.