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Sex, race, and the Republican presidential campaign

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“Over the years, civil rights groups and government agencies have had some success changing those and other racially offensive names that dotted the nation’s maps,” notes Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen. “But the name of this particular parcel did not change for years after it became associated with Rick Perry, first as a private citizen, then as a state official and finally as Texas governor. Some locals still call it that. As recently as this summer, the slablike rock – lying flat, the name still faintly visible beneath a coat of white paint – remained by the gated entrance to the camp.”

The story notes that Perry grew up in a segregated part of the country before the passage of major civil rights laws, and it quotes him as saying the word on the rock is an “offensive name that has no place in the modern world.”

But on Fox News Sunday, Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain (who is African American) took Perry to task over the issue.

There isn't "a more vile, negative word than the N word," Cain said. "For him to leave it there as long as he did before ... they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country."

The Perry camp was quick with damage control.

Ray Sullivan, communications director for the Perry campaign, said the governor's father, Ray Perry, leased the hunting rights in the early 1980s and that Rick Perry was on the lease from 1997 to 2007. Rick Perry has not visited the property since December 2006, Sullivan told the Associated Press.

"Mr. Cain is wrong about the Perry family's quick action to eliminate the word on the rock, but is right the word written by others long ago is insensitive and offensive,” Sullivan said. “That is why the Perrys took quick action to cover and obscure it."

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