Rick Perry's presidential campaign took a shot on Sunday when it was revealed that the hunting ranch used by the Texas governor's family for many years was known as “N----rhead.
The 1,000 acre camp in West Texas had the racial slur painted in large letters on a rock at the entrance of the property. Perry's father first leased the ranch in early 1980s and Perry claims that he had the offensive name painted over.
However, an expose in The Washington Post suggested that the name is still visible and still used by many locals.
Fellow presidential candidate Herman Cain, the only African American running for the Republican nomination, was outraged by the news.
My reaction is that is very insensitive, Cain said on ABC's This Week.
Since Gov. Perry has been going there for years to hunt, I think that it shows a lack of sensitivity for a long time of not taking that word off that rock and renaming the place. It's just basically a case of insensitivity.
[There] isn't a more vile, negative word than the N-word, and for him to leave it there as long as he did, until before, I hear, they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country, Cain added on Fox News Sunday.
Despite the harsh rhetoric, some suggest that Cain -- who got in trouble recently for calling Black democrats “brainwashed” -- took it easy on Perry, perhaps so not to inflate inter-party racial controversy.
After the article was published, Perry quickly went on the defense, claiming that the name had been on rock for many years before his father ever visited the ranch. Additionally, a spokesperson said that the Perry family never owned, controlled or managed N----rhead.
A number of claims made in the story are incorrect, inconsistent and anonymous, including the implication that Rick Perry brought groups to the lease when the word on the rock was still visible, Ray Sullivan, Perry's communications director, said in a statement. The one consistent fact in the story is that the word on the rock was painted over and obscured many years ago.
Perry also commented on the racial slur allegations himself, claiming that he convinced his parents to paint over the rock sometime in the mid-1980s.
My mother and father went to the lease and painted the rock in either 1983 or 1984, Perry wrote to The Post. This occurred after I paid a visit to the property with a friend and saw the rock with the offensive word. After my visit I called my folks and mentioned it to them, and they painted it over during their next visit.
But is that enough?
The Post article attests that Perry took visitors to the ranch during at the beginning of his political career, but stopped in 2006. IBTimes' David Magee suggests that just because Perry has stopped using the camp or turned over the rock, he is not free from guilt.
Do we believe for one minute that in those years, Perry didn't refer to the camp by that name? Magee wrote Monday.
Reverend Al Sharpton spoke out against Perry on Monday as well, saying that there is no way possible way to justify the name.
“At worst, he either thought it was something he could identify with and even have some bit of irony,” Sharpton told POLITICO. “At best, he’s insensitive. How can someone who would seek the highest office in the land be so insensitive to the implications of that name?”
The N----rhead ranch has been renamed Northern Pasture Ranch and the Perry family has been off of the lease for four years.