Phil Bredesen
Schelzig, Erik  /  AP
Gov. Phil Bredesen speaks to the press after an event in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday, Nov. 12. Bredesen said that it was a "very poor choice of words" for a Republican state Rep. Curry Todd to liken immigrants having children in the United States to rats multiplying. Todd, of Collierville, made the comments at a legislative hearing during a discussion a federal requirement to extend prenatal care to women regardless of their citizenship status. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)
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updated 11/12/2010 3:29:28 PM ET 2010-11-12T20:29:28

The governor of Tennessee says a Republican lawmaker used a poor choice of words when he likened pregnant illegal immigrants to rats multiplying.

Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen said Friday that he would never refer to a human being in such a way.

Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville made the comments at a legislative committee meeting earlier this week. His remarks were in response to a federal law that requires the state to extend prenatal care to women, regardless of their citizenship status because all children born in the U.S. are citizens.

Todd said that means illegal immigrants can "go out there like rats and multiply." He later told The Associated Press that it was wrong to use those words. He says he meant to say "anchor babies" — itself a term many consider offensive.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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