Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney apologized Monday for repeating a racial slur when she quoted another person during an interview.
Calling the N-word disgusting, the Democrat said she was relaying a story as it was told to her.
"I apologize for having repeated a word I find disgusting," Maloney said in a written statement. "It's no excuse, but I was so caught up in relaying the story exactly as it was told to me that, in doing so, I repeated a word that should never be repeated."
Maloney is quoted on www.cityhallnews.com criticizing Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, whom Maloney may run against. Maloney says she got a call from someone who used the slur in accusing Gillibrand of backing English-only public education.
"Sen. Gillibrand believes that any use of the word is offensive," said Matt Canter, a spokesman for the senator. "Furthermore, she opposes English-only policies and supports expanding opportunities for immigrants to learn English and thrive in our economy."
Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton criticized Maloney for using the term.
Maloney issued her apology before Sharpton raised objections. He still said he was disappointed and faulted her for not identifying the caller who originally used the word and for not reprimanding the person when the conversation first took place.
"Is this a delayed disgust?" Sharpton asked.
The civil rights leader has tried to discourage rappers from using the racial slur in their music and performances.