Transcript: Obama and Clinton Debate

CLINTON: Well, Tom, I can tell you that I may be a lot of things. But I'm not dumb. And I wrote about going to Bosnia in my book in 2004. I laid it all out there. And you're right. On a couple of occasions in the last weeks, I just said some things that weren't in keeping with what I knew to be the case and what I had written about in my book.

And, you know, I'm embarrassed by it. I have apologized for it. I've said it was a mistake. And it is, I hope, something that you can look over because, clearly, I am proud that I went to Bosnia. It was a war zone. General Wesley Clark is here in the audience with me, as one of my major supporters. He and I were talking about it before I came out.

You know, our soldiers were there to try to police and keep the peace in a very dangerous area. They were totally in battle gear. There were concerns about potential dangers. The former president of Bosnia has said he was worried about the safety of the situation.

So, I know that it is something that some people have said wait a minute. What happened here? But I have talked about this and written about it. And then, unfortunately, in a few occasions, I was not as accurate as I have been in the past.

But I know, too, that being able to rely on my experience of having gone to Bosnia, gone to more than 80 countries, having represented the United States in so many different settings, gives me a tremendous advantage going into this campaign, particularly against Senator McCain.

So, I will either try to get more sleep, Tom or, you know, have somebody that, you know, is there, as a reminder to me. You know, you can go back for the past 15 months. We both have said things that, you know, turned out not to be accurate. You know, that happens when you're talking as much as we have talked. But, you know, I'm very sorry that I said it. And I have said that, you know, it just didn't jive with what I had written about and knew to be the truth.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Obama, your campaign has sent out a cascade of e-mails just about every day, questioning Senator Clinton's credibility. And you, yourself, said she hasn't been fully truthful about what she would do as president. Do you believe that Senator Clinton has been fully truthful about her past?

OBAMA: Well, look, I think that Senator Clinton has a strong record to run on. She wouldn't be here if she didn't.

And, you know, I haven't commented on the issue of Bosnia. You know, I...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your campaign has.

OBAMA: Of course. But the -- because we're asked about it.

But, look, the fact of the matter is, is that both of us are working as hard as we can to make sure that we're delivering a message to the American people about what we would do as president. Sometimes that message is going to be imperfectly delivered because we are recorded every minute of every day.

And I think Senator Clinton deserves the right to make some errors once in a while. Obviously, I make some as well.

I think what's important is to make sure that we don't get so obsessed with gaffes that we lose sight of the fact that this is a defining moment in our history. We are going to be tackling some of the biggest issues that any president has dealt with in the last 40 years.

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