A Republican politician, who lost a re-election bid for the US senate seat in 2006 after he called a Democratic Indian American campaign tracker "macaca", or a monkey, has finally apologised.
"You don't brood over mistakes. You learn from 'em and you improve," George Allen the former Virginia senator, running to reclaim the seat, told hundreds of social conservatives at a conference in Washington Friday.
"And during my last campaign, I never should have singled out that young man working for my opponent, calling him a name," he said referring to his Democratic rival's campaign volunteer SR Sidarth.
"He was just doing his job. I was wrong to do that to him, and it diverted our campaign away from the real issues that families care about."
His "macaca moment" provided him an opportunity to reflect on his career and the direction of the country, said Allen, who was considered a shoo-in before what was seen as a racial slur turned public opinion against him.
"My family had to endure a lot of taunts and insults because of my mistake, and I never want to have them have to go through something like that again," Allen said.
"Ladies and gentleman, these last five years have given me the opportunity to reflect on all that's happening in our great country."
Allen lost to Democrat Jim Webb in 2006. Webb announced in February that he will not seek re-election, setting up a possible clash of the titans between Allen and former Democratic Governor Tim Kaine.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)