In NAACP address, Bill Clinton owns up to mistake on tough drug penalties

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 Former President Bill Clinton speaks during the NAACP's 106th Annual National Convention Wednesday in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Former President Bill Clinton speaks during the NAACP's 106th Annual National Convention Wednesday in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)

Former president Bill Clinton made an apology of sorts while addressing delegates at the NAACP National Convention in Philadelphia. 

One day after President Barack Obama called for criminal justice reforms, former President Clinton said he should not have toughened punishments for nonviolent drug offenders.

“I signed a bill that made the problem worse, and I wanted to admit it,” he said. “When I took office, we had a roaring decade of rising crime. We had gang warfare on the streets.  We had little children being shot dead on the streets who were just innocent bystanders in the wrong place.”

Clinton said he hopes the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting that killed nine will be a rallying point for all kinds of change — but not just from politicians.

“We should pass laws, but we have to live up to our end of the bargain and do what we can to keep the spirit of those nine families of forgiving that boy in Charleston have put in America,” he said to surging applause.

Clinton also called for increasing the minimum wage.

The 106th NAACP National Convention concluded Wednesday.

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