Rick Perry's 2012 Shoot 'Em Up Express has slowed significantly thanks to the candidate's poor debate performances and willingness to help illegal immigrants. Now, the Washington Post delves into the collar-tugging details of the former name of Perry's hunting parcel along the Brazos River: "Niggerhead."

Perry told the paper that he believes the name of the land, which was painted on a rock at one of its entrances, is an "offensive name that has no place in the modern world." In a statement, Perry says he and his father, who came into the land in 1983 when Perry was still a Democrat, painted over the name "during the 4th of July holiday…in either 1983 or 1984." In another statement, Perry says the painting "occurred after I paid a visit to the property with a friend and saw the rock with the offensive word. After my visit I called my folks and mentioned it to them, and they painted over it during the next visit."

It's unclear when the site, which is a few miles from Perry's small hometown of Paint Creek, was given the name, but many residents who were interviewed seemed to believe the name stuck long before the Perrys came into the land. "It's just a name," a county judge tells the paper. "Like those are vertical blinds. It's just what it was called. There was no significance other than as a hunting deal." Perry used the ranch for many years to host gatherings of political allies.

Other visitors to the site recall the sign being up long after 1983, including one who recalled it being up as late as 1990 or 1991: "I was just so taken aback that it was so blatant, so in your face. It was just, 'whop.' It was a big rock, big enough to write that whole thing out." Another visitor remembers the reaction when the sign was finally painted over. "We kind of laughed about it," the person said, "We were laughing because he had painted it. Because it had always been there…We laughed about, 'Rick covering his tracks.'"

A rep from Perry's camp tells Politico that, "A number of claims made in the story are incorrect, inconsistent, and anonymous, including the implication that Rick Perry brought groups to the lease when the word on the rock was still visible." The Post story does mention the long history this country has of naming landmarks with the epithet: "Nigger Creek," and "Niggerhead Mountain" among them. "Typically these were in areas where African Americans were not all that common," a geography professor at Syracuse said.

Black pizza magnate Herman Cain, Perry's competitor for the GOP nomination, told FOX News that, "For him to leave it there as long as he did before, I hear, that they finally painted over it, is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country." Perry's campaign flack responded by stating, "Mr. Cain is wrong about the Perry family's quick action to eliminate the word on the rock, but is right the word written by others long ago is insensitive and offensive."