NEW ORLEANS – Appearing before a predominantly black audience here Saturday afternoon, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton defended her husband’s legacy on race relations and offered an apology of sorts for comments he made in South Carolina several weeks ago that many people viewed as racially insensitive.

In a question-and-answer session after her speech at the State of the Black Union event, Mrs. Clinton was asked by Tavis Smiley, the host of the event, how she felt about “what some termed racial comments” by Mr. Clinton.

“I think there are enough of you here today who know him personally and know his heart,” she said, then stopped for a long pause. “If anyone was offended about anything that was said, whether it was meant or not, whether it was misinterpreted or not, then obviously I regret that.”

Last month, Mr. Clinton was criticized widely for comparing Senator Barack Obama’s victory in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson’s primary wins there, which depended heavily on demographics and Mr. Jackson’s African-American support. “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ‘84 and ‘88,” Mr. Clinton told an audience in Columbia, S.C. “Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.”

Mrs. Clinton’s brief appearance in New Orleans was not a traditional campaign stop, considering that Louisiana has already held its contest – on Feb. 9 – and voted decisively for Mr. Obama, who won by 22 points.

According to a campaign spokesman, Mrs. Clinton had agreed to attend the event after bumping into Mr. Smiley several weeks ago in Los Angeles.

That was before she racked up 11 straight losses in primary states. So while Mrs. Clinton may not have anticipated that she would still be furiously campaigning at this point, she kept her promise to appear, squeezing it in to a planned 18-hour day that will take her from Ohio to New Orleans to Houston to Washington, D.C.

Her campaign announced Saturday afternoon that she would hold a last-minute town hall event in Houston with Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee Saturday evening.