Clinton defends former president on racial issues, calls for unity

Hillary Rodham Clinton strongly defended her husband's record on civil rights at a forum in which she acknowledged "painful moments" in a presidential contest pitting the first woman candidate against a pioneering black contender. Speaking broadly of her husband on matters of race, Clinton said: "My husband mended, so as to avoid ending, affirmative action. My husband had in his White House, Cabinet, and his administration, many of you I see here. We know that when he was president, we had a rising tide and we lifted more people out of poverty than at any time in America's recent history." But, she added, "If anyone was offended by anything that was said - whether it was meant or not, misinterpreted or not - obviously I regret that." In her remarks, Clinton acknowledged the historic nature of her campaign against Obama and praised "all who struggled, sacrificed and risked everything so Senator Obama and I could be where we are today." But she said the campaign had also forced difficult choices for many voters. "This campaign has taken all of us into uncharted territory as a party, as a nation, as individuals. And yes, I think we can be both proud and grateful that we are breaking barriers and changing history for the good," Clinton said. "But there have been some painful moments, too."