Bill Clinton stepped on two progressive land mines as he sparred with a protester in Athens, Ohio on Tuesday.
First, he attempted to explain away the 1994 crime bill — which plagued the Clintons during the primaries — by blaming Sen. Bernie Sanders for helping its passage.
Second, he used the othering phrase “your people” — twice — while addressing the black protester.
“I will not vote for a candidate who sent millions of my people to prison,” the man shouted, as supporters tried to drown him out with chants of “Hillary!”
“I agree. If I had sent millions of your people to prison, or she had, that wouldn’t be good. Hillary didn’t vote for the ’94 crime bill, even though Sen. Sanders did,” Clinton, dredging up an old attack line used in the primaries.
“And neither one of them were trying to send millions of your people to prison because there were fewer than 10% of our entire prison population are in the federal prison system,” he said.
He then told the audience Hillary was the “first candidate” to say incarceration laws should be changed.
“No one else has done that,” he claimed.
UPDATE: The protester identified himself as Prince Shakur on Facebook.
His video shows him reading his statement from a card:
“I will not vote for candidates that have sent millions of my people to prison. I will not vote for a fake democracy that is dependent upon my silence. I will not vote for candidates that use white feminism to destroy and disrespect black lives.”
Shakur’s video shows a white woman confronting him before he was escorted out by police.
“The facts are difficult,” the former president said in a sarcastic tone.