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The Imus Factor

Finally, a meaty issue that divides Democratic presidential candidates -- Don Imus.

To shun or not to shun the embattled radio show host for uttering some demeaning remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team, that is the question.

Sen. Chris Dodd(D-Conn.), who announced his presidential candidacy on "Imus in the Morning" instead of some place in his home state, won't rule out going on Imus's radio show in the future, if there is a show to go on.

Asked by David Lightman of the Hartford Courant whether he would do the show again, Dodd said yesterday, "I assume the best in people. [Imus] made a mistake, a dreadful one. But he's made an apology and I take it to be sincere."

In other words, he might do the show again.

Taking the extreme opposite stand is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who says she won't go on the show nor did she ever want to. A new feature prominently displayed on her campaign Web site shows a big photo of the Rutgers women's basketball team with the bold headline: "RESPECT FOR RUTGERS, Join Hillary in sending the young women of Rutgers a message of respect and support."

A screenshot of taken this morning.

Users can click on "send a message" to the Rutgers players, which, of course, means giving their e-mail addresses to the Clinton campaign. The resulting e-mail list could be used for fundraising purposes, as rival operatives on another Democratic presidential campaign were quick to point out.

But not so fast, Hillary bashers. Visitors to the Clinton site who choose to send a "message of respect" to the Rutgers players have to agree to receive e-mail updates and solicitations from the Clinton campaign. The feature prominently states: "Click here to receive e-mail updates from Hillary for President." (That's a little different than the original policy pursued in a similar circumstance by a Democratic rival...)

On her Web site, Clinton condemns Imus's arguably racist and sexist comments about the athletes as "small-minded bigotry and coarse sexism. They showed a disregard for basic decency and were disrespectful and degrading to African Americans and women everywhere."

For more on the '08 candidates and Imus, check out this recent post on The Fix.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  April 12, 2007; 10:32 AM ET
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