U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins told a recent gathering in northeast Kansas that the Republican Party is looking for a "great white hope" to help stop President Barack Obama's political agenda.

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins told a recent gathering in northeast Kansas that the Republican Party is looking for a "great white hope" to help stop President Barack Obama's political agenda.
Videotape shows Jenkins, a Republican, making the comment at an Aug. 19 forum. She was discussing the GOP's future after Democrats took control of the House and Senate and Obama became the nation's first black president. Jenkins is white.
Jenkins spokeswoman Mary Geiger gave The Morning Sun a statement Thursday that read:
“In response to a question about the future of the Republican leadership in the U.S. House, Congresswoman Jenkins explained to the attendees at one of her 27 townhalls that while her party has gone through some tough times in recent years, there is a bright light represented by some young leaders who have stepped up to lead the party,” read the e-mailed statement.
“She was not aware of any negative connotations to that phrase, and she apologizes to anyone who misinterpreted her comment,” the statement continued.
Jenkins spokeswoman Mary Geiger also told The Associated Press Thursday Jenkins apologizes for her word choice and did not intend to offend anyone. A White House spokesman withheld comment ahead of Thursday afternoon's on-the-record briefing.
Beth Bradrick, head of the Crawford County Democrats, called it a “regretful situation.”
“I think those were very ill-chosen words,” Bradrick said. “I’m surprised that if it happened on the 19th that we are just now hearing about it.
“It really dismays me that a congressperson would be against whatever the president is trying to do for the good of the country,” Bradrick said. “I think she’s probably hurt herself somewhat.”
John Minton, chairman of the Crawford County Republicans, said it was difficult to comment on the saying without seeing the whole conversation.
“I’ve just seen snippets of it,” Minton said. “But knowing Lynn, I really don’t think there was any malice there. I don’t think there was anything racial meant by it.
“I’m sure she was just using a clichéd saying, and it didn’t come across right,” Minton said. “I think the general point was right on. We do need a leader in the Republican Party to step up. We’re pretty lacking in that area at the moment.”
The term stems from the early 1900s when there was a campaign to find a white boxer who could defeat heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, who was black.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.