Nathan Deal, the conservative Georgia governor who's in a tight re-election race against a grandson of Jimmy Carter, suffered a misstep Tuesday when he mistakenly assumed a Hispanic student speaking to him at the University of Georgia was an undocumented immigrant.

Via CBS 46 in Atlanta:

Deal addressed a variety of topics, including immigration, during a question and answer session sponsored by the UGA College Republicans Tuesday night.

"There's a fundamental problem that can only be resolved at the Congressional level and that is to deal with the issue of children, and I presume you probably fit the category, children who were brought here," said Deal who was looking toward Lizbeth Miranda, a Hispanic student who was standing up with others asking questions.

"I'm not an illegal immigrant. I'm not," said Miranda. "I don't know why you would have thought that I was undocumented. Was it because I look Hispanic?"

The governor replied: "I apologize if I insulted you. I did not intend to."

Miranda and her colleagues in the school's Undocumented Students Alliance found Deal's assumption offensive, though judging from the boos she received, College Republicans in attendance were more offended by her reaction.

That seems to be confirmed by Grant Thomas, a white male College Republican and button-down oxford model CBS 46 spoke to after the event, who told CBS's Renee Starzyk:

Um, they were very confrontational, they stood up. Um, we had pre-screened questions and we had told everyone that beforehand, they didn't follow those guidelines. Um, the governor, he was very calm collected, and polite in his response, so I think the whole thing was blown out of proportion.

A spokesman for Deal told Starzyk that the governor "was not looking directly at the Hispanic girl" when making his remarks, and in any case, he apologized.

[Photo credit: AP images]