WASHINGTON (CNN) - Georgia Rep. John Lewis said late Saturday that controversial remarks he made comparing the feeling at recent Republican rallies to those of segregationist George Wallace were misinterpreted.
The civil rights icon issued a statement Saturday evening which said a "careful review" of his remarks made earlier in the day "would reveal that I did not compare Sen. John McCain or Gov. Sarah Palin to George Wallace."
McCain said Lewis' earlier statement was "a brazen and baseless attack" and called on Sen. Barack Obama to repudiate it.
Lewis had said earlier that he was "deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign" and that the Republican running mates are "playing with fire."
"What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse," Lewis said in a statement.