Adelfa Callejo, Welcome To The Spotlight

From New York Daily News reporter Michael McAuliffe's pool report. He was with Sen. Clinton today for a round of satellite interviews.

She was asked by KTVT in Dallas about a Latina backer who said that black politicians never do anything for Hispanics. Her name is Adelfa Callejo. Apparently she’s 84.

[The question: "She recently told us that African-Americans never help Hispanics when they gain power and influence and that she would never vote for Sen. Obama, and now quoting here she said 'Obama’s problem is that he happens to be black.' How do you react to those comments?"]

The newscaster quoted her saying “Obama’s problem is that he happens to be black.”

Clinton: “Well obviously I want us judged on our merits. I believe strongly that the fact that we have an Aftrican Ameircan and a woman running for the Democratic nomination is historical and I’m very very proud of that . I want people thought to look beyond, look beyond race and gender, look at our records, look what we stand for, look what we’ve done and I think that;s what most voters are looking for.”

Q (paraphrase) Is this something you reject and denounce?

“People have every reason to express their opinions. I just don’t agree with that. I think that we should be looking at the individuals who are running.”

Q - Do you still want her support, though?

Clinton laughed and said, “You know This is a free country. People get to express their opinions. A lot of folks have said really unpleasant things about me over the course of this campaign. You can’ take any of that as anything other than an individual opinion.”

“I would urge all of my supporters and Sen. Obama’s supporters to stay focused on the two of us,. Don’t vote on race don’t vote on gender, vote on the qualifications each of us present for the presidency."

Q- But you criticized Obama for not rejecting the support form Farrakhan,

“I don’t see any comparison at all with what you’re referring to and I don’t know the facts of what you’re telling me over the TV. So I’m just going to repeat that I want people to judge us on the merits.”