Against the backdrop of riots in Baltimore, Hillary Clinton delivered a passionate campaign speech railing against the “era of incarceration” ushered in during the 1990s—but she didn’t mention her husband was the usher.
In a Wednesday address to Columbia University, the Democratic presidential frontrunner told an audience “we have allowed our criminal justice system to get out of balance,” the Washington Post reported.
Referring to the violence in Baltimore over actions by police, “And these recent tragedies should galvanize us to come together as a nation to find our balance again,” she said.
President Bill Clinton signed the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which put 100,000 new officers on the street and provided harsher sentences, including 60 new death penalty offenses. In a further ironic twist, the bill was originally written by then-Senator Joe Biden.
And here’s the real kicker: Crime declined sharply in the country in the 1990s, contrary to expectations. So Hillary is running against one of the policy platforms that made her husband’s presidency such a successful time in the the United States.
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who served in the Clinton administration, pointed out that the Democratic party has moved significantly to the left in the last 20 years.
“I don’t think she feels in any way bound by policies of a different administration two decades ago, even though she is married to the person who initiated those policies,” he told the Post. “I think we’ll see Hillary Clinton parting ways with the Bill Clinton administration on a number of matters.”
In a statement to the Post, the Clinton campaign said, “This campaign will be about Hillary Clinton’s vision for the next 20 years, not re-litigating policies from 20 years ago.”
Feeding a Democrat narrative that contributes to racial tensions, Clinton said, “We have to come to terms with some hard truths about race and justice in America.”
As Clinton flees from her party’s—and her husband’s—past, Republicans say she’s simply being opportunistic.
“As Hillary Clinton continues to flip-flop on the issues, she’s only further proving that she’ll say anything to benefit herself politically,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Allison Moore said. She added, “which is why the majority of American people find her to be untrustworthy.”
Clinton campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson explained Clinton’s differences from her husband’s policies by tweeting “times change.”
Spoiler Alert: HRC policy on internet might also be different than WJC policy in 1994. Not b/c he was wrong but b/c times change.
— Jesse Ferguson (@JesseFFerguson) April 29, 2015
That tweet drew some interesting responses.
— Ben Hale (@EYA10) April 29, 2015
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) April 29, 2015
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