SEATTLE — MSNBC says it has temporarily suspended anchor David Shuster from all NBC news broadcasts — except to offer his on-air apology for what he said about Chelsea Clinton.
Shuster outraged the Clinton campaign by saying on the air that the campaign had "pimped out" the Clintons' daughter, when they had her place phone calls to party superdelegates on her mother's behalf.
In a conference call with reporters, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson on Friday excoriated MSNBC's Shuster and called the comment "beneath contempt" and disgusting. And he said it could threaten Clinton's participation in a debate later this month on MSNBC and in future debates on the network.
"I, at this point, can't envision a scenario where we would continue to engage in debates on that network," Wolfson added.
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Shuster apologized on the air for his comment.
"NBC News takes these matters seriously, and offers our sincere regrets to the Clintons for the remarks," MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said, adding the network was hopeful the debate would take place as planned.
Clinton and Barack Obama are scheduled to participate in an MSNBC debate Feb. 26 from Ohio, which holds its primary March 4. The Clinton campaign has pushed hard for as many debates as possible with Obama, but Wolfson said the Feb. 26 debate could be jeopardized.
Wolfson pointed to what he called a pattern of tasteless comments by MSNBC anchors about the Clinton campaign. Weeks ago, "Hardball" host Chris Matthews apologized to the former first lady after suggesting her political career had been made possible by her husband's philandering.
Shuster told The Associated Press he has tried to reach Clinton to apologize.
Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama, called Shuster's comments "deplorable" and said they had no place in the political process.
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