Congressman Don Young's 'Wetbacks' Slur

Alaskan Representative faces an angered Latino community after his "poor choice of words."
2:07 | 03/30/13

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Transcript for Congressman Don Young's 'Wetbacks' Slur
Thanks, ty. To a firestorm on capitol hill after a veteran republican lawmakers used a racial slur to describe mexican immigrants. Congressman don young who's been in the house since ri67d nixon was president apologized after a barrage of criticism and jeff zeleny has more from washington and, jeff, this has created quite the headache for republicans. It has. Good morning. The republican party's effort to rebuild and rebrand its image is colliding this morning with the party's old guard. It's a word that stings,er when the word comes from the mouth of a congressman. Mr. Young. Reporter: Represent don young who's been in congress for 40 years -- madam chair. Reporter: Invoked a racial slur. My father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. Reporter: The congressman's words reverberated across spanish language television including our partner, univision. Reporter: The word is found in webster's new collegiate dictionary, a mexican who enters the united states illegally but in the dictionary it comes with a warning saying it's usually offensive. Senior republican officials agreed and delivered a sharp rebuke to the congressman. Speaker boehner called him beneath the dignity of the office he holds. SENATOR john McCain tweeted the remarks have no place in our party or the nation's discourse. The 79-year-old congressman apologized for those words saying there was no malice in my heart. Republican strategist danny diaz is working to change the party's image. He says this kind of talk will damage the republican brand. How much of a generational issue is this with younger republicans and younger voters? Don young represents the past. I think there is a new brand of republican leaders in the senate and in the house. Reporter: And republican advisers tell abc news they worry the slur from him comes at precisely the wrong time. Just as the republicans are trying to expand their appeal to latino voters. Dan and bianna. Hard to dispel that one for sure. Jeff zeleny, our latest addition to the abc news team. Jeff, welcome to you. The weekend "gma" show. Thanks for that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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