TRANSCRIPT OF TODAY'S 9AM ET JOINT NEWS CONFERENCE WITH SENS. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY) AND BARAK OBAMA (D-IL)
Sen. Clinton: We have called this joint news conference today because Barack and I want to make something very clear to our fellow Democrats and to all of America.
Sen. Obama: For the past few weeks the two of us have been concerned about the tenor of the campaign. We do not want our supporters or anyone else to mistake what we say.
Sen. Clinton: First of all we are Democrats. Democrats stand for equal rights and justice, for all races, genders, sexual preferences, religious preferences...or no religious preferences. All of the legislation to insure these equal rights has come from Democrats.
Sen. Obama: We do not seek, as the Republicans do, to exploit divisions among people...to stoke latent prejudices and make political gains from them. And so we have come before you today to make a pledge. We don't apologize for criticisms we have made of each other's records or positions.
Sen. Clinton: No, they are an important part of the process of choosing a new President. What we want to make clear is that when we criticize each other, what we say is neither racist nor sexist. Therefore, we pledge here today that for the rest of the campaign neither one of us or our representatives will accuse the other of either racism or sexism.
Sen. Obama: This is new to America...an African-American and a woman, running for the highest office in the land, and against each other. We both acknowledge that there are race and gender tensions in America. We would be silly to say there weren't. But I tell you here today, that I will never play the race card.
Sen. Clinton: And I will never play the gender card. We know that there are some Americans who will never vote for a woman for president.
Sen. Obama: And some who will never vote for an African-American. What is important in this campaign is that we will not make any statements which might be construed to appeal to prejudice. We'll leave those to the Republicans.
Sen. Clinton: Also, we promise that we will not react to any statement by each other and make accusations of veiled racism or sexism.
Sen. Obama: We want our supporters and representatives to know that whatever we say is about what we feel is best for America. We're going to appeal to our natural constituencies, of course, we'd be stupid not to.
Sen. Clinton: But at no time are you or anyone else to construe that what we say has an ounce of prejudice or pandering to race or gender. After the nightmare of the past seven years, we seek to restore respect for ourselves as Americans and for the United States on the planet.
Sen. Obama: Let that moral compass come from us, by example. And with that...
Sen. Clinton and Obama together: Let the best candidate win!
And then I woke up.