(CNN) – Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland was unaware a word he used to describe Barack and Michelle Obama on Thursday carries racial overtones, a spokesman for the congressman told CNN.
Westmoreland, who represents Georgia's third district, described the Obamas as "uppity" when asked by reporters in Washington to compare Repubican vice presidential canidate Sarah Palin with the wife of the Democratic presidential candidate.
“Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they’re a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they’re uppity,” Westmoreland said, according to the Capitol Hill Newspaper the Hill.
Westmoreland's spokesman, Brian Robinson, insisted the congressman did not know the word has been used with a racially derogatory intent against African-Americans.
"When describing the Obamas as part of an elite class, Congressman Westmoreland also used a synonym for elitist: uppity. He was using the dictionary definition of the word, which is having 'an inflated self-esteem' or 'snobbish.' He stands by that characterization and thinks it accurately describes the Democratic nominee. He was unaware that the word had racial overtones and he had absolutely no intention of using a word that can be considered offensive," Robinson said.
Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Obama's campaign, would not comment to CNN, but told The Hill, " “Sounds like Rep. Westmoreland should be careful throwing stones from his candidate’s eight glass houses."
Robinson said it is important to note the Obama campaign did not note the racial overtones of the word in its response.
"Congressman Westmoreland and Senator Obama may not agree on much, but at least they can agree that Congressman Westmoreland was not referring to race," Robinson said.