RETURN TO SANITY?….Barack Obama on race and gender issues in the campaign:

I think that I may disagree with Senator Clinton or Senator Edwards on how to get there, but we share the same goals. We’re all Democrats. We all believe in civil rights. We all believe in equal rights. We all believe that regardless of race or gender that people should have equal opportunities….I think that Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically and consistently been on the right side of civil rights issues. I think they care about the African-American community and that they care about all Americans and they want to see equal rights and justice in this country.

Hillary Clinton:

Our party has been on the front line of every civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, workers’ rights movement, and other movements for justice in America. We differ on a lot of things. And it is critical to have the right kind of discussion on where we stand. But when it comes to civil rights and our commitment to diversity, when it comes to our heroes — President John F. Kennedy and Dr. King — Senator Obama and I are on the same side.

Good. Maybe this will put a stop to the ugliness. We’ll see. But as long as I’m on the subject, can I ask what the New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny was thinking when he wrote this?

News conferences are a rarity for Mr. Obama. The last formal one — with chairs for reporters and a flag backdrop for him — was a month ago in Iowa. It was not immediately clear why he called one today, except to be seen as taking the high road heading into a key debate in Nevada on Tuesday with Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards.

Excuse me? I lean toward the cynical side myself, but can Zeleny really conceive of no other reason for Obama to call a news conference on this subject except as a purely political gambit? Crikey.

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