Georgia Rep Calls Obamas 'Uppity' Elitists

White Congressman denies racial implications of slam
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2008 11:10 AM CDT
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., right, declined to elaborate further than his comment that Barack and Michelle Obama belong to an "elitist class" that "thinks that they're uppity."   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – An Atlanta-area Congressman described Barack and Michelle Obama as belonging to "an elitist class ... that thinks that they’re uppity,” CQPolitics reports. Lynn Westmoreland's comments, inspired by questions about recent speeches by Sarah Palin and Michelle Obama, touched off a linguistic battle over the word's racial implications. "I’ve never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense," Westmoreland, who is white, said in a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“This was an adjective for elitism, not a code word,” said Westmoreland's press secretary. But "everybody gets that who is from a Southern background," according to veteran consultant David Gergen, notes the Hill, which broke the story. And a professor of political rhetoric tells “The racial politics that it reanimates are very worrisome.”