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Denounce, reject, tomayto, tomahto?

Tim Russert, one of two moderators for Tuesday night's debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, pressed the latter on his views on the views of Louis Farrakhan. What followed was the only light-hearted moment of an otherwise tense, combative night:

The tone settled down thereafter, flaring only briefly when Obama said he “denounced” Minister Louis Farrakhan’s long history of anti-Semitic statements but hesitated to “reject” Farrakhan’s support. Clinton said Obama needed to take a stronger stance.

“If Senator Clinton thinks that ‘reject’ is stronger than ‘denounce,’ then I’m happy to concede the point, and I both reject and denounce” Farrakhan’s support, Obama said to scattered laughter in the hall.

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