Early in the debate Tim Russert asked Hillary about Bob Johnson's loaded crack about how the young Obama was "doing something in the neighborhood," a clear insinuation about Barack's admitted cocaine use. Citing the way Hillary booted Billy Shaheen out of her campaign for touching the same topic (in far more explicit fashion), Russert asked whether Hillary would bar Johnson, the Black Entertainment Television founder, from her future events. Her answer:  

"Well, Bob has put out a statement saying what he was trying to say, and what he thought he had said. And we accept him on his word on that."

Given that Johnson's statement amounted to a totally implausible claim that he wasn't referring to anything untoward in Obama's past ("My comments today were referring to Barack Obama's time spent as a community organizer, and nothing else. Any other suggestion is simply irresponsible and incorrect."), it's hard to believe Hillary really buys the excuse. (Bill doesn't seem to.)

And sure enough, after a Hillary gave an answer downplaying the relevance of surrogate comments ("what somebody [people] never heard of said"), Russert followed up on Johnson: "Were his comments out of bounds"? This time, Hillary offered an entirely different spin: "Yes they were. And he has said that."

So, to recap, Hillary's positions were:

1) Bob Johnson denies that he did anything wrong and I accept that. 

2) Bob Johnson admits that he did something wrong and I agree.

Am I missing something? (And when did Johnson ever admit his comments were out of bounds--as opposed to just misconstrued?)

--Michael Crowley