Bill Clinton Defends Own Crime Bill to Black Protesters

Protesters interrupt his Philadelphia rally
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2016 1:14 AM CDT
Updated Apr 8, 2016 5:37 AM CDT
Bill Clinton Clashes With Black Lives Matter Protesters
A protester is corralled in the back of the auditorium by civil affairs officers.   (Ed Hille/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

Bill Clinton ended up having to defend his own record as president while stumping for Hillary in Philadelphia on Thursday. CNN reports that during a 15-minute exchange with Black Lives Matter protesters, Clinton defended his 1994 crime bill, which led to longer sentences for nonviolent offenders. "Because of that bill we had a 25-year low in crime, a 30-year low in the murder rate, and because of that and the background-check law, a 46-year low in deaths of lives by gun violence, and who do you think those lives were that mattered?" Clinton said. "Whose lives were saved that mattered?" He also addressed his 1996 welfare reforms, saying the "largest drop in African-American poverty in history" happened during his presidency.

Clinton also defended Hillary's 1994 use of the term "super predator" to describe young people in gangs. "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," he said, per Politico. "Maybe you thought they were good citizens—she didn't." The protesters who interrupted him carried signs with phrases including "Clinton crime bill destroyed our communities." "I'm here because Hillary Clinton doesn't deserve the black vote," a protester told the Philadelphia Inquirer after the rally. "She is married to Bill Clinton; their policies are the same." (More Bill Clinton stories.)

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