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Clinton: I 'Misspoke' About Nancy Reagan and AIDS Advocacy

by Carrie Dann /
Image: Funeral Held For Nancy Reagan At Reagan Presidential Library
SIMI VALLEY, CA - MARCH 11: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton follows the casket during funeral and burial services for former first lady Nancy Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on March 11, 2016 in Simi Valley, California. The first lady is being buried at the library next to her husband, who died on June 5, 2004. Nancy Reagan died of heart failure at the age of 94. David McNew / Getty Images

Hillary Clinton has apologized after saying that Nancy Reagan used "very effective low-key advocacy" to "start a national conversation" about the HIV/AIDS epidemic during her time in the White House.

In a tweet, Clinton said she "misspoke" about the Reagans legacy on the issue, telling followers "For that, I'm sorry."

Gay rights activists immediately questioned Clinton after she told NBC's Andrea Mitchell Friday that the Reagans started "a national conversation" about the disease.

Human Rights Campaign head Chad Griffin said that Mrs. Reagan, who died over the weekend, was "no hero" when it came to victims of a disease that was notably ignored by the White House for most of Reagan's presidency and linked by many of those around him to the "immorality" of gay men.

Clinton told NBC earlier Friday that Nancy Reagan helped push the crisis into the public's attention.

"It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about HIV/AIDS back in the 1980s. And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan, in particular Mrs. Reagan, we started a national conversation, when before nobody would talk about it," she said."Nobody wanted to do anything about it.

"And, you know, that too is something that I really appreciate with her very effective low-key advocacy, but it penetrated the public conscience and people began to say, hey, we have to do something about this too," she added.

Mrs. Reagan's funeral was held Friday in Simi Valley, California.