SNEAK PEEK: 'Shuck & Jive'

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4 days until the Michigan primary

8 days until the Nevada caucuses

The Clintons defended themselves Friday against charges of racial insensitivity towards Democratic rival Barack Obama.

"Well, I think its regrettable because both of these accusations are baseless and divisive and any fair reading of what both of us said would be clear and I think it's regrettable that these are being in a way used to try to divide people in our country during this election and I'm not going to have any part of it," Clinton told ABC News. "I personally find it offensive."

"You know," she continued, "I was inspired by Dr. King when I was a young girl. I considered him one of my heroes, a global symbol, an icon of everything that is the best about America and he worked his entire life to make the changes that we enjoy today so I hope that this kind of unfortunate political activity really just ceases because I don't think this is what we want this election to be about."

Clinton made her comments to ABC's Eloise Harper while campaigning in East Los Angeles, Calif. She was asked if comments she made about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and remarks her husband made about Obama receiving "fairy-tale" treatment from the press might hurt her standing with African Americans.

While the former first lady was defending herself in California, her husband was explaining himself to the Rev. Al Sharpton.

"It's not a fairy tale; he might win," said Clinton. "I think he's a very impressive man, and he's run a great campaign."

Clinton is under fire for using the words "fairy tale" in connection with Obama. South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn told Friday's New York Times that he saw the remark as a slap at the image of a black candidate running on a theme of unity and optimism. Clyburn is now reconsidering his neutral stance in South Carolina's Jan. 26 Democratic primary.

The former president explained to Sharpton that his comment was not a swipe at Obama reaching for the White House but rather a reference to the fawning press treatment Obama has received. In particular, Clinton is incensed that the press has not focused on Obama's 2004 acknowledgement to the New York Times that when he spoke out against the prospect of war he was "not privy to Senate intelligence reports."

"We went through 15 debates," Clinton told Sharpton, "and the Obama campaign made the argument that his relative lack of service in the Senate was not relevant because he has better judgment than all the Democrats because he'd always been against the Iraq war in every year."

"I pointed out," Clinton continued, "that he had never been asked about his statements in 2004 that he didn't know how he would have voted on the war resolution, and there was, at that time, no difference between his position and President Bush's."

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