"I was in union, Missouri which is 98 percent white - a rural, conservative. and what I said was what I think everybody knows, which is that I don't look like I came out of central casting when it comes to presidential candidates. But that I think that what people are really concerned about, what they're looking for is fundamental change on the economy, things that are going to help their families live out the American dream.
"There was nobody there who thought at all that I was trying to inject race in this. What this has become I think is a typical pattern from the McCain campaign, whether it's Paris Hilton or Britney or this phony allegation that I wouldn't visit troops. They seem to be focused on a negative campaign what I think our campaign wants to do is focus on the issues that matter to American families."
Joe Trippi, meanwhile, says McCain is "executing a classic 'Race? Not me!' campaign."