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 RushBobby Rush wins Illinois House primary Illinois governor endorses Biden one day before primary Biden rolls out over a dozen congressional endorsements after latest primary wins 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."