Rep. Heath Shuler is denying a report that he heard racial slurs yelled from a crowd of angry health care protesters outside the U.S. Capitol.
On March 20, black Democratic congressmen John Lewis, Andre Carson and Emanuel Cleaver said they heard the N-word as they walked to the Capitol to vote on health care. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who is gay, said he was called an anti-homosexual slur.
On March 23, the Hendersonville (N.C.) Times-News published an interview with Shuler, D-N.C. The story said Shuler was walking with Cleaver and heard racial epithets. The Associated Press, after Shuler's office did not return phone calls or e-mails, quoted the Times-News report Wednesday in a story on the controversy over whether racial slurs had been shouted.
On Wednesday, Shuler told the AP that he heard slurs against Frank, but not Cleaver.
The issue of whether the N-word was used has turned into a political battle, with many conservatives skeptical that it happened and some saying the congressmen lied. The three congressmen say they are telling the truth.
(This version CORRECTS name of newspaper.)