Former President Bill Clinton expressed regret in a April 8 speech in Erie, Pennsylvania, about the way he responded to “Black Lives Matter” the day before in Philadelphia.
“So, I did something yesterday in Philadelphia, I almost want to apologize for it, but I want to use it as an example of the danger threatening our country,” said Clinton.
The former president is referring to a heated exchange that came up when protesters kept interrupting Clinton during his speech, protesting a 1994 crime bill that cracked down on gang crime.
Clinton defended the bill and his wife, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, saying:
“I don’t know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack, and sent them out in the streets to murder other African-American children,” the former president said. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens—she didn’t.”
Clinton continued, saying he was vigorously defending his wife, but upon reflection realized he was just talking past the protester:
“I realized I was talking past her the way she was talking past me,” Clinton said of one of the female protesters. “I know those young people yesterday were just trying to get good television and they did. But that doesn’t mean I was most effective in answering it.”
He also said in the speech that aspects of his 1994 crime bill “cannot be justified,” citing longer prison sentences imposed by the bill.