The Washington Post: "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton defended her recent remarks on civil rights Sunday, as Sen. Barack Obama weighed in on the controversy for the first time, describing Clinton's earlier comments about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. as 'unfortunate' and 'ill-advised.'" More: "At the same time, a prominent Clinton ally, Robert L. Johnson, appeared to attempt to revive the issue of Obama's admitted past drug use. Introducing Clinton at an event in Columbia, Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, said both Clintons 'have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues since Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood -- and I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book.'"
"Johnson issued a statement denying that interpretation, saying he was referring to Obama's work as a community organizer," the Los Angeles Times writes. "Obama spokesman Bill Burton did not accept Johnson's statement. "It's troubling that neither the campaign nor Sen. Clinton -- who was there as the remark was made -- is willing to condemn it, as they did when another prominent supporter recently said a similar thing," Burton said. He was referring to the then-co-chairman of Clinton's New Hampshire campaign, who quit after being criticized for discussing Obama's drug use."
Pegged to yesterday's furious volleys between the two campaigns -- especially Bob Johnson's remarks -- the New York Times writes, "After staying on the sidelines in the first year of the campaign, race and to a lesser extent gender have burst into the forefront of the Democratic presidential contest, thrusting Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton into the middle of a sharp-edged social and political debate that transcends their candidacies."
VIDEO: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., speaks with NBC's Tim Russert of "Meet the Press" about the response to comments she made while on the campaign trail.
More: "Aides to both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama expressed squeamishness at the direction the conversation was heading. And publicly, the campaigns spent much of the day shadow-boxing on an issue that advisers to both of them described as volatile."
The New York Daily News: "Hoping to fend off deterioration in a key pillar of her base, Clinton spent another day trying to deflect criticism from her suggestion President Lyndon Johnson played as big a role in the civil rights movement as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr."
The New York Post: "Race took center stage in the Democratic presidential campaign yesterday as Hillary Rodham Clinton accused Barack Obama of 'deliberately distorting' her comments about Martin Luther King's impact on civil rights. One of Clinton's most prominent black supporters, meanwhile, made a thinly veiled suggestion about the Illinois senator's teenage drug use."
By the way, don't miss the fact that when given the chance, Edwards weighed in on the side of Obama over the MLK-LBJ dispute.
For more on the dispute and much more, don't miss yesterday's appearance by Clinton on Meet the Press.
The L.A. Times notes how this flare-up over race stepped on the rollout of Obama's economic stimulus plan. "The back-and-forth dominated a particularly bitter day on the campaign trail, as both Democrats said they felt besieged by ungrounded personal attacks, and it all but overshadowed the candidates' policy pronouncements. Obama unveiled a proposal to stimulate the economy that would be slightly more expensive than the $70-billion plan Clinton proposed Friday. The Illinois senator's $75-billion proposal focuses more on immediate tax relief to workers and retirees, whereas Clinton's would give priority to increased government spending on housing and energy assistance."
The New York Times fact-checks the claims the Clintons have made on Hillary's Iraq war authorization vote. "In interviews and at a recent campaign event, they have said that Mr. Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, helped draft the resolution, which they said was proof that the measure was more about urging Saddam Hussein to comply with weapons inspections, instead of authorizing combat. Mrs. Clinton repeated the claim Sunday during an interview on 'Meet the Press,' saying 'Chuck Hagel, who helped to draft the resolution, said it was not a vote for war.'"
"But the talking point appears to misconstrue the facts… In the original proposal Mr. Hagel had backed, force was authorized only to secure the destruction of Iraq's unconventional weapons, not to enforce 'all relevant' United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, which was the language in the version that ultimately passed." But: "It was the White House proposal, not Mr. Hagel's, that Mrs. Clinton supported, explaining in an Oct. 10, 2002, speech on the Senate floor that it was time to tell Saddam Hussein that 'this is your last chance - disarm or be disarmed.'"
Last night, Obama included this bite on the war to his stump, per NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan. "I'm running for president because I want a foreign policy that actually makes us safer. That isn't just a bunch of talk and a bunch of bluster. You know I opposed this war in Iraq from the start. But one of my opponents is trying to rewrite history. But I want everyone to be clear that every respectable news outlet will tell you that I opposed this war in 2002 when I was running for the United States Senate. I opposed in 2003, 4, 5, 6, and 7. I put forward a bill at the beginning of last year that set a timetable for withdrawal. And as president of the United States I will bring our troops home by the end of 2009. We will end this war."
What's interesting about this is that it begs for a follow-up since in a previous debate Obama wouldn't pledge to bring all the troops home from Iraq by 2013.
The Chicago Sun-Times looks at how Obama pledged to vote against Iraq war funding when running for the Senate but ended up voting for it once in the Senate.