Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) acknowledged Sunday that race played a role in the seating of his congressional colleague, Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.).

Durbin said that racially inflammatory remarks made by Rep. Bobby RushBobby Lee RushHillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Progressives oppose spending stopgap measure over surveillance authority extension 50 Cent meets with Pelosi, lawmakers on Capitol Hill MORE (D-Ill.) -- a key Burris ally -- during the debate over whether to seat the embattled Burris increased the role race took in the Senate appointment.

"My colleague from Illinois, Congressman Bobby Rush, came in and made some strong statements along those lines," Durbin told Chicago's WGN Radio. "They were painful and hurtful and it became part of this calculation."

"I will ask you to not hang and lynch the appointee as you try to castigate the appointer," Rush said after Burris had been appointed by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D). "I don't think that anyone -- any U.S. senator who's sitting in the Senate right now -- wants to go on record to deny one African-American for being seated in the U.S. Senate."