Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) told reporters today, in no uncertain terms, that Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst at the joint session last week was bluntly racist.
 
"If I was a betting man, I would say it instigated more racist sentiment, a feeling that it's OK, you don't have to bury it now. You can bring it out and talk about it full. I guess we'll probably have folks putting on white hoods and white uniforms again and riding through the countryside intimidating people. That's the logical conclusion if this kind of attitude is not rebuked and congressman Wilson represents at least the face of it."
 
Johnson was asked if his shout was the rhetorical equivalent of donning hoods and riding horseback.
 
"I think what he did was kind of winked at that element and said that's OK."
 
Would this have happened to a white president, Johnson was asked.

"I don't think it ever would have happened," Johnson responded. "That's why it never happened before. It happened when this country elected a president of color."
 
Wilson has said there was no racial element to his actions, and said he respects President Obama.