Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Apologizes For Comments Crediting Nancy Reagan For Starting ‘National Conversation’ About HIV/AIDS

The Guardian: Hillary Clinton says she misspoke about how Reagans dealt with AIDS crisis
“Hillary Clinton outraged LGBT activists on Friday with her comments at Nancy Reagan’s funeral praising the former first lady for helping start a ‘national conversation’ about HIV — remarks that critics say ignore the Reagans’ deeply troubling legacy on the 1980s AIDS crisis…” (Levin, 3/11).

The Hill: Clinton further apologizes for Nancy Reagan AIDS comment
“Hillary Clinton penned an article in Medium Saturday, expanding on her previous apology for praising Nancy and Ronald Reagan’s response to HIV and AIDS. ‘Yesterday, at Nancy Reagan’s funeral, I said something inaccurate when speaking about the Reagans’ record on HIV and AIDS,’ she wrote. ‘I made a mistake, plain and simple’…” (Rupert, 3/12).

Mother Jones: “I Made a Mistake, Plain and Simple.” Clinton Issues Longer Apology for Praising Nancy Reagan’s AIDS Record.
“… ‘To be clear, the Reagans did not start a national conversation about HIV and AIDS,’ she wrote. ‘That distinction belongs to generations of brave lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, along with straight allies, who started not just a conversation but a movement that continues to this day’…” (West, 3/12).

New York Times: Hillary Clinton Lauds Reagans on AIDS. A Backlash Erupts
“…The comments struck a particular chord with older gay men who watched in the 1980s as their communities were ravaged by the disease…” (Chozick, 3/11).

NPR: Clinton’s Comments On Nancy Reagan And HIV/AIDS Cause An Uproar
“…[I]t wasn’t until 1987 that President Reagan gave his first speech on the topic, calling for more testing (but not making it mandatory). At that time, according to the New York Times, there had been nearly 36,000 cases of AIDS and nearly 21,000 deaths. Reagan has been roundly criticized for not doing enough to educate the public and draw attention to the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic during his administration…” (Taylor/Kurtzleben, 3/11).

POLITICO: Clinton retracts praise for Reagans’ HIV/AIDS legacy
“…Reagan and Congress did, however, quietly increase funding for AIDS research as the disease began to ravage the gay community, and beyond. By fiscal year 1983, the federal government was spending $44 million per year on HIV/AIDS research. By that time, a ‘national conversation’ was well underway…” (Collins, 3/11).

Washington Post: On drugs, Nancy Reagan just said no. On AIDS, she said nothing.
“…Nancy Reagan wasn’t president, but she was a symbol, a spokeswoman, with her own kind of power. And she was damned by some for her actions on one issue — a drug policy stance that many viewed as simplistic — and damned for her inaction on another…” (Zak, 3/13).

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