"A member of the media dropped all pretense of objectivity during an interview with Newt Gingrich to arrogantly launch an attack on Gov. Sarah Palin's experience, to which Rick came to her defense and simply evoked a word -- that by definition -- described the reporter's demeanor as being superior, arrogant and presumptuous," Tim Baker, Goddard's campaign manager, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
"To try and smear Rick's character by suggesting that he meant anything other than that definition is ludicrous," he said of Goddard, a decorated, career military man who settled in Georgia 10 years ago.
But given the tortured history between blacks and whites in the South, both men crossed the line in using the word and then claiming ignorance of its historical significance, said Gerald Horne, a history professor at the University of Houston.
"The whole notion of uppity Negroes ... was basically a tool, a device to make sure that Negroes would not seek to climb the socioeconomic ladder," said Horne, the author of "Powell v. Alabama: The Scottsboro Boys and American Justice."
"It's very unfortunate. A person in such a position should be aware of this history."