Bob Johnson's after-the-fact apology

Two days after Clinton said he had admitted his comments were out of bounds, he does.

By Tim Grieve
January 18, 2008 12:37AM (UTC)
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As we noted Wednesday, Hillary Clinton was a little loose on her facts when she claimed during Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate that BET founder Bob Johnson had conceded that his comments about Barack Obama were out of bounds.

He hadn't, but now he has.


In a letter to Obama today, Johnson apologizes to the candidate and his family "for the uncalled-for comments I made at a recent Clinton event." "In my zeal to support Senator Clinton, I made some very inappropriate remarks for which I am truly sorry," Johnson says. "I hope that you will accept this apology. Good luck on the campaign trail."

This statement differs significantly from the one the Clinton campaign issued on behalf of Johnson Sunday. In that statement, Johnson said that the comments he made in introducing Clinton earlier in the day had been a reference to Obama's work as a community organizer -- which is to say, not to his admissions of prior drug use -- and that suggesting anything to the contrary would be "irresponsible and incorrect."

Hillary Clinton said simultaneously Tuesday that she thought Johnson's comments were out of bounds and that she took him at his word when he offered his innocent explanation. As for Johnson's new explanation, Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells CNN this afternoon: "Obama accepts the apology. We're going to leave it at that."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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