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Clinton Speaks To African-Americans on Ferraro

(CBS)

From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaking about issues relating to the African-American community at the Newspaper Publishers Association tonight, a member of the group asked Hillary Clinton about Geraldine Ferraro's "hurtful and disrespectful" comments. "I said yesterday that I rejected what she said and I certainly do repudiate it and regret deeply it was said," Clinton said, adding that she believes her campaign has taken the appropriate action in dealing with Ferraro. "She doesn't speak for the campaign, she doesn't speak for any of my positions, and she has resigned."

Clinton explained that both she and Barack Obama have spoken with their campaign staff and supporters about de-emphasizing the uniqueness of their race or gender as a forefront of focus.

"Obviously it's exciting and historical to have an African-American and a woman running, but both of us have said we're not asking people to support us because of race or gender," she said. "We're asking people to support us because of the case each of us makes."

Clinton also addressed a number of other topics, ranging from mandatory prison sentences, to diabetes and HIV prevention and treatment, and the publishing industry itself. She said that she saw publishers as small business owners that are being drowned out by media conglomerations.

In regards to HIV, Clinton noted it was the leading cause of death among young, black females and said preventive action must be taken in reaching people who are at risk in order to stop and treat the virus.

Another main concern raised was the issue mandatory prison sentences, to which Clinton immediately responded by saying the difference in sentencing over crack and powder cocaine is one she believes is racially discriminatory. She told the crowd that she would promise to look at the prison system once again, and that in her state of New York, she was against building prisons as a means of creating jobs.

She received standing applause from the group of around fifty attendees and shook hands with many afterwards.

Tomorrow Clinton returns to Pennsylvania for campaign stops across the state.