MSNBC's "Meet the Press" Host David Gregory landed himself in hot water Wednesday morning after using a racially-charged phrase while speaking about the sexual harassment allegations being made against GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain on the "Today" show.
When news anchor Ann Curry asked Gregory if the GOP wishes for Cain to "just go away," because the scandal is overshadowing the Republican party, Gregory responded, "Well, there is no grand wizard in the party right now who can really force the issue."
The phrase "grand wizard" had conservatives reeling, as it was a term members of the KKK use to call their leaders.
"What bothers me is how even a statement that sounds kinda positive leaves a bad impression," wrote one commenter. "The addition of the two words 'right now' implies that grand wizards do occur in the Republican party, but we just don't have one at this time. This, combined with the sad shape of public education that does not place the KKK in the democrat party where it actually belongs, and we have futher reinforcement of the FALSE notion that the Republican party is the party that keeps blacks down."
Gregory apologized on Twitter Wednesday afternoon for his comment.
" 'Wizard' remark this morning was a very poor choice of words," he wrote. "Did not mean to make that connection at all. Was not thinking. I apologize."
Cain has been making headlines since two women came forward in October claiming that they were sexually harassed by the GOP candidate while working at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and received payouts to leave the association after complaining.
Since then, two more women have come forward, one of whom identified herself at a press conference as Sharon Bialek, another former employee of the NRA. Bialek claimed Cain groped her after she lost her job at the company and came to him for help.
Cain has denied all of the allegations, and said on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" that the scandal has only strengthened his support.
"The day of the firestorm, of these accusations, we had the highest fundraising day online in the history of this campaign, and it has not stopped," he said.