We're more than a little distressed to hear about Sen. Robert Byrd's use of a racial epithet on a network TV interview program last weekend. He not only said it once, he said it twice.
Byrd issued an apology for the remarks before the program even aired, but that hasn't satisfied a lot of people back home in West Virginia.
Ironically, Byrd made the offensive remarks to make the point that race relations have improved dramatically over his lifetime. His use of the n-word, however, would seem to reflect just the opposite.
Sen. Byrd has served this state well for decades. He admits to mistakes: His brief flirtation with the KKK and his vote against the Voting Rights Acts in the 1960s.
This latest gaff, however, shows a troubling lack of sensitivity and has the potential of tarnishing a stellar congressional career. We hope he choses his words more carefully in the future.