Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) addresses a legislative luncheon held as part of the "Road to Majority" conference in Washington

Republicans avoid talk of race, guns after Charleston shooting

By Andy Sullivan and James Oliphant WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidates steered clear on Thursday of addressing the role gun rights and racial tensions may have played in a deadly mass shooting in South Carolina as Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton called for the United States to face what she called the “hard truths” underpinning the tragedy. The responses to the attack in Charleston, in which a white man is suspected of killing nine black people at a historic church, showed the contrasting pressures facing White House hopefuls in each party as they prepare for primary contests. Clinton and other Democrats are appealing to a racially diverse voter base that has been frustrated by an inability to tighten gun laws after other mass shootings.

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