Slander per Se

Action for defamation. At trial, P is the first witness. P proposes to testify that D said, in the presence of several people, "P is now and has always been a loathsome leper." D objects. What ruling and why? Is P's proposed testimony hearsay? If it is hearsay, should it be admitted anyhow? If it is not hearsay, should it nonetheless be excluded?

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