The term “tar baby,” which landed Senator John McCain and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in trouble in the past, refers to having your hand touch a sticky situation. But many African Americans also look at the word as racist — especially when you refer to the first Black president of this country in that manner.
The Oxford English Dictionary (but not the print version of its American counterpart) says that tar baby is a derogatory term used for “a black or a Maori.”
Here is a little history on the word “tar baby” – Link
Do you think this congressman meant it in a racist way?