Clinton Apologizes to Black Voters

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New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized several times to black voters, Wednesday, for comments made during her presidential campaign.

She made the apologies during her appearance at an evening forum sponsored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. The association is a group whose membership is made up of more than 200 black community newspapers across the country.

Bill Clinton in South Dakota

One apology was for comments made by her husband, former president Bill Clinton, after the South Carolina primary. Bill Clinton said Jesse Jackson also won South Carolina when he ran for president in 1984 and 1988, a comment many viewed as belittling rival Sen. Barak Obama's primary successes.

"I want to put that in context. You know I am sorry if anyone was offended. It was certainly not meant in any way to be offensive," Hillary Clinton said. "We can be proud of both Jesse Jackson and Senator Obama."

"Anyone who has followed my husband's public life or my public life know very well where we have stood and what we have stood for and who we have stood with," she said, acknowledging that whoever wins the nomination will have to heal the wounds of a bruising, historic contest.

"Once one of us has the nomination there will be a great effort to unify the Democratic party and we will do so, because, remember I have a lot of supporters who have voted for me in very large numbers and I would expect them to support Senator Obama if he were the nominee," she said.

The Clintons long have enjoyed overwhelming support from black voters. However during the campaign, Obama has so far succeeded in pulling in huge margins among black voters in primaries and caucuses. Arguments over the role of race and gender have flared up repeatedly throughout the contest between Clinton and Obama.

Hurricane Katrina

Another conciliatory statement of the during the forum was more in keeping with Sen. Clinton's fighting stance that she usually takes when dealing with critics.

Asked about the government's efforts in the Gulf States after Hurricane Katrina, Hillary Clinton turned an apology into a criticism of President Bush.

"I've said it publicly, and I say it privately: I apologize, and I am embarrassed that our government so mistreated our fellow citizens. It was a national disgrace," she said.

Source: The Associated Press

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