Courtesy of The Intercept:Hillary Clinton: The Reagans, particularly Nancy, helped start "a national conversation" about HIV and AIDS. https://t.co/7sZp8X53fb— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 11, 2016
Clinton’s telling of HIV/AIDS history doesn’t align with the facts. President Reagan waited seven years to address the HIV/AIDS crisis, even as thousands of Americans died from the disease. Dr. C. Everett Koop, the administration’s surgeon general, said the president dragged his feet on the issue “because transmission of AIDS was understood to be primarily in the homosexual population and in those who abused intravenous drugs.” Koop said their position was that AIDS victims were “only getting what they justly deserve.”
In 1985 the Reagans’ friend Rock Hudson, then dying of AIDS, traveled to Paris in a desperate attempt to be treated by a French military doctor. As BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner reported last year, Hudson’s publicist sent the Reagan White House a telegram begging for help in getting Hudson moved to a French military hospital where the doctor could treat him. Nancy Reagan personally saw and rejected the request.
Nancy Reagan may have played a role in encouraging her husband to push for more funding for AIDS research, which Congress did appropriate. However, says Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal, “Shameful is not even strong enough a word for the record of the Reagan administration on this. Did she try and fail, or not try very hard? I really don’t know.”
Later of course Hillary walked this back a little, but not before handing Bernie Sanders plenty of ammunition for future debates, and angering many in the gay community:
It is understandable that Hillary feels that she must say something positive about a fellow former First Lady, but you would think that she would have at least one gay staff member who she could have run this statement past that would have told her not to say it.Hillary Clinton’s statement on her comments about the Reagans' record on HIV and AIDS: pic.twitter.com/RtIs0zpJfk— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 11, 2016
Or for that matter ANYBODY who is aware of the history of the Reagan's abysmal record on fighting HIV/AIDS.
These are the kinds of unforced errors that have bedeviled Hillary in the past and she really needs to tighten things up to keep them from happening moving forward.