Denouncing, rejecting at the Democratic debate

Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama: Who best expresses horror at endorsements by anti-Semites?

Published February 27, 2008 2:43AM (EST)

Asked about notorious anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan's endorsement of his candidacy, Sen. Obama noted that he has denounced Farrakhan's views, but "I can't say to somebody that he can't say that I'm a good guy."

After pledging his support for Israel, Obama said he would strive to mend the "frayed" ties between the Jewish and African-American communities: "I would not be sitting here today if it were not for a whole host of Jewish Americans who supported the civil rights movement."

Sen. Clinton responded by harking back to a similar endorsement by a group with anti-Semitic views that she received when she was running for Senate in New York: "I made it very clear that I would not want their support. I rejected it."

When asked if she thought Obama wasn't being strong enough in his statements against Farrakhan's endorsement, Clinton said: "There is a difference between denouncing and rejecting," which drew a laugh from Sen. Obama and some in the audience.

Sen. Obama: "I don't see a difference between denouncing and rejecting. If Senator Clinton feels reject is stronger than denounce, I would be happy to reject and denounce."

Sen. Clinton: "Good."

By Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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