Col. Republicans blame hacker for official's racist anti-Obama photo -- after she called it a joke
President Barack Obama (Official White House photo)

Republicans in Delta County, Colorado are seemingly scrambling after a racist photo likening President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee was posted on a top official's Facebook page.

The photo briefly appeared on a Facebook page belonging to Linda Sorenson, who chairs the county Republican Central Committee, and was captured by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

The image was taken from the Ronald Reagan film Bedtime for Bonzo, and shows Reagan bottle-feeding the titular chimpanzee, with a caption saying, "I'll be damned ... Reagan used to babysit Obama." Sorenson has apparently deleted the photo from her Facebook page, but a screenshot can be seen below:

ScreenHunter_4820 May. 30 16.40

According to the Daily Sentinel, Sorenson did not deny posting the image, calling it a joke and adding, "I really don't care if people are offended by it."

But her fellow committee members have since contradicted Sorenson's account, blaming outside forces for the image going online. The group's treasurer, Sue Whittlesey, went so far as to blame the progressive blog Media Matters.

"They've been harassing her the last few weeks," Whittlesey said.

Committee vice chair Vic Ullrey insisted that Sorenson was not a racist.

"This whole thing is a hoax," he said. "Someone got into the Facebook somehow. It was hacked and somebody got into it, definitely."