Remember last month when Bill Clinton made headlines by getting into an argument with Black Lives Matter supporters over the 1994 crime bill? Today Clinton did it again at a rally in Paterson, New Jersey. Politico reports:
The former president, out stumping for his wife in Paterson, New Jersey, launched into a combative back-and-forth with an audience member, who pointedly asked Clinton, “Why did you put more people in prison?”
Clinton challenged the questioner about whether he really knew the ins and outs of the now-controversial law, noting that the crime bill included a provision that exempted first-time drug offenders from being covered under the excessive sentencing laws.
“Did you know that? I bet you didn’t,” Clinton matter-of-factly told the audience member, who was eventually escorted out of the rally.
The Clinton’s have been under pressure from Black Lives Matter supporters to denounce the crime bill which they hold responsible for mass incarceration. Others have defended the bill noting that it had good intentions and did precede a long national decline in crime.
Video of the interruption was posted by America Rising. It shows Clinton continued his defense of the bill at length, saying:
Secondly, we put 100,000 police on the street and we passed an assault weapons ban on with an ammunition clip limit with, along with the background check law, gave us a 25-year low in crime, a 33-year low in murder and 46-year low in illegal deaths from guns. Forty-six year low. We could not pass that bill without the higher sentencing. More than a year ago, I went to the NAACP and I said the sentencing laws were way overdone and we needed to lower them. And when I was president I started a process, which thank goodness President Obama has finished, of letting people like these girlfriends that got enormous sentences because they wouldn’t rat out their boyfriends even though they were innocent of anything doing, letting them out of prison. I am all for this. We overdid the sentencing in the 90s. We need to reverse it.
The man who interrupted Clinton’s speech can be seen in this clip pointing his finger at Clinton as he yells from the back of the room.