US Republican Senator George Allen has apologised for calling a man of Indian descent by a name which means monkey, saying he never meant to cause offence.
Mr Allen said "Macaca" was just a made-up word
Mr Allen called SR Sidarth, who has been monitoring Mr Allen's re-election campaign for Democratic challenger Jim Webb, "Macaca" at a Republican rally.
"This fellow over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is, he's with my opponent," Mr Allen said.
Macaca is a genus of monkey which includes the macaque.
After telling the crowd attending the rally in Virginia on Friday that Mr Sidarth's boss, Mr Webb, was on a fundraising trip in California, Mr Allen added: "Let's give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."
Mr Sidarth, a 20-year-old student who was born and raised in Fairfax County, Virginia, has said he believes Mr Allen singled him out for his race as the only non-white person in the audience.
On Monday, Mr Allen's spokesman, Dick Wadhams, said the name Macaca was a variation of Mohawk, a nickname Mr Allen's team of advisers had given the student because he had a Mohawk haircut.
But on Tuesday, Mr Allen, who is widely expected to try to run for president in 2008, said the name was "just made up" and that he had no idea the word referred to a monkey.
"In no way was it meant to demean him and I'm sorry if he was offended," Mr Allen said in a telephone interview with Associated Press news agency.
In response Mr Sidarth said: "If he wants to make an apology to me, he can talk to me personally rather than doing this through the press".
Mr Allen, a former Virginia governor, has been accused of insensitivity before.
In his younger years he wore a Confederate flag lapel pin in his high school yearbook photo and had the flag hanging in his living room.