LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Nevada rancher at the center of a feud over cattle grazing on public land is defending himself from sharp criticism over comments he made about slavery.
Cliven Bundy had told reporters near his ranch 80 miles from Las Vegas that he wonders whether black people are better off now or when they were slaves in the South.
On Thursday, he insisted that he's not saying people should be slaves.
Politicians including Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller are condemning the remarks Bundy made last weekend. They were first published Wednesday by The New York Times.
Earlier, Heller called Bundy's defenders "patriots" for standing up against the government.
Bundy is a hero to some for resisting a Bureau of Land Management roundup of cattle that the federal agency says he lets trespass on public land.