Rick Perry & Other Politicians Who Have Been Involved in Race Scandals (Photos)

From Rick Perry to Trent Lott, see photos of politicians who have been embroiled in racial controversies.

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry came under fire this week after reports surfaced that his hunting lodge once had a name offensive to black people. From Trent Lott to Harry Reid, see other politicians who have been embroiled in racial controversies.

Charles Krupa / AP Photo

Rick Perry

Presidential candidate Rick Perry found himself in hot water after an article revealed that a stone at the entrance to his hunting lodge bears a name offensive to blacks. Perry’s family does not own the lodge and he has not leased it since 2006. A Perry spokesman said, “The word written by others long ago is insensitive and offensive. That is why the Perrys took quick action to cover and obscure it.” But this explanation did not satisfy everyone. GOP rival Herman Cain said, “There is no more vile a word than the N-word, and for him to leave it there as long as he did, before I hear that they finally painted it over is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country."

AP Photo

Katon Dawson

In November 2008, soon after President Obama’s election, South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson announced his candidacy for RNC chair. Two months earlier, he had caused controversy when it was reported that he had resigned his membership from the Forest Lake club after 12 years. The club’s deed included a whites-only restriction, and no black members. Dawson said that after discovering the rule, he had spent August 2008 trying to have the policy changed. He later explained, “When I saw that was going to be a divisive issue, I resigned…I saw it, I tried to correct it, I moved past it... and the exciting part is I get to talk about our successes when they ask that question because we’re a very open, inclusive party, we are. "

Daniel Patmore / AP Photo

Rand Paul

In 2010, Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul said during an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show, that he believed in a limited government that did not make private businesses abide by the civil rights law. The following day, he issued a statement, that said, "Let me be clear: I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation and Jim Crow laws." 

Charles Dharapak / AP Photo

Harry Reid

According to the campaign book, Game Change, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said during the 2008 campaign that the country was ready for a black presidential candidate, especially a “light-skinned” one like Obama, “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” Reid’s office quickly issued an apology, which also confirmed that the comments were true. The statement said, “I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African Americans for my improper comments.” Reid also called Obama to apologize personally, and Obama accepted his apology, saying, “As far as I am concerned, the book is now closed.”

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Trent Lott

In 2002, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott caused a scandal after saying the country could have avoided “all these problems” if segregationist Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948. At Thurmond’s 100th birthday celebration, Lott said, "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.” In 1948, Thurmond had run on a platform that said, "We stand for the segregation of the races and the racial integrity of each race." After much controversy, Lott said in a statement, "A poor choice of words conveyed to some the impression that I embraced the discarded policies of the past. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by my statement." But the apology turned out to be too little too late, and Lott resigned as majority leader two weeks after the initial comments.

David Duprey / AP Photo

Carl Paladino

In 2010, reports emerged that New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino had previously been accused of making racially insensitive comments at a public forum. Two years earlier, Paladino had created a stir after claiming that Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent James Williams had been hired only because he was black. Many members of the Buffalo Common Council proposed a resolution condemning Paladino for the “racially offensive comments.” Still Paladino never wavered from the comments, and his campaign manager later said, “He’s never taken back his words. They may not like it but it happens to be the truth. They [the school board] hired a search firm to look for an African-American candidate.”

Steve Helber / AP Photo

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann recently came under fire after signing “The Marriage Vow,” which was meant to show her support for defining marriage as between a man and a woman. But the pledge also included language that seemed to imply that African Americans were better off during slavery. The offending language was quickly removed from the pledge, and Bachmann denied ever seeing the section about slavery. She said, "That statement was not on a document that I signed. Apparently, the group had a statement about that in another part that they've now since removed and gotten rid of and disavowed. I just want to make it absolutely clear, I abhor slavery. Slavery was a terrible part of our nation's history. It is good that we no longer have slavery. And under no circumstances would any child be better off growing up under slavery. That isn't what I signed. That isn't what I believe."