Nightly News   |  March 29, 2013

‘Timing couldn’t be worse’ for Young’s racial slur

Republicans are in desperate need of attracting more Hispanic voters, but recent comments from Rep. Don Young touched a nerve across the country and also unleashed a flood of condemnation from top Republicans. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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>>> there is another scandal maying out tonight of a different kind in washington. a longtime member of congress is under fire from all sides after he made a racial slur during an interview on the radio. it ignited an instant firestorm. our capitol hill correspondent, kelly o'donnell, with us from washington with details on this tonight. kelly, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. you know this is a real political mess when the congressman's first attempt to fix it wasn't enough. and the timing couldn't be worse. as republicans are in desperate need of attracting more hispanic voters. republican don young who has been alaska's only member of the u.s. house for 40 years made a derogatory comment about mexican migrant workers in a radio interview in alaska.

>> my father had a ranch. we used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks, and uh, to pick tomatoes. you know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now.

>> reporter: he later said he meant no offense, but that wasn't good enough. a flood of top republicans including speaker boehner and a party chairman condemned what he had to say. later today he tried again, writing "i apologize for the insensitive term i used. there was no malice in my heart or intent to phoned. that word and the negative attitudes that come with it should be left in the 20th century ." he said his comments are a distraction from the real immigration debate . brian?