BET Networks lands key interviews with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as they battle for the 2016 democratic presidential nomination. On the eve of the critical South Carolina Democratic primary, BET News sat down with each candidate to discuss the specific issues that matter most to the African American community. BET News anchor Marc Lamont Hill will interview Bernie Sanders at the Morehouse College campus in Atlanta and BET News special correspondent Jeff Johnson will interview Hillary Clinton at the Rosebud Theater District in Chicago. The half-hour BET News special “Talking Black: A BET News Special with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders” will premiere Sunday, February 21 at 10 AM ET/PT on BET & Centric.
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, locked in a surprisingly close race, are fighting to secure the vital support of black voters in the upcoming primaries. Both candidates claim to best represent the interest of African-Americans but how do these candidates specifically propose to end mass incarceration and institutional racism? What ideas do they put forth to end police brutality? What are their views on the Black Lives Matter movement? These topics and more will be explored in the special, allowing viewers to assess the Democratic candidates and their vision.
HILLARY CLINTON on the criticism that she supported then President Bill Clinton’s Crime Bill: “And I do think it's a little bit cherry-picking, to be just candid with you. A lot of folks who care passionately about issues I care passionately about-- are, you know, writing and saying, "Well, you know, she was for this. She was for that." And I can only say, "My opponent voted for it. And why does he get a pass?”
HILLARY CLINTON on ending mass incarceration:
“I would build on some of the very good work that-- President Obama, Attorney General Holder, now Attorney General Lynch has done holding communities accountable, holding police forces accountable, shutting down private prisons which I think have contributed to the over-incarceration, looking at ways to go right at mandatory minimums to begin to exercise some discretion, set up drug courts, set up veteran's courts, set up more diversionary programs for both drug and alcohol abuse to try to help people get the recovery treatment that they need.”
HILLARY CLINTON on growing business opportunities for African-American women:
“So we've got to up the-- you know, the pay scale. We've gotta give Americans a pay increase. But we also have to push open the doors-- to the corporate boardroom. We've gotta push open the doors not just by talking about diversity but by incentivizing it, making it clear. As president, I'm gonna look at diversity in federal contracts. I'm gonna look to see whether there are ladders of opportunity for women, for people of color so that they know they're on notice. If they wanna keep doing business with the federal government they're gonna have to live up to our values.”
BERNIE SANDERS on racism in America:
“Look, we have institutional racism in this country. I mean, that's a tragic fact. I think over the years, we've made some progress. But when you and I see videos on television of an unarmed African American male being shot in the back, that's institutional racism. That's not economics. And that we have to address.”
BERNIE SANDERS on criticism he wasn’t sensitive enough to the Black Lives Matter movement: “What I think is a very fair critique is that I think the white community, including myself-- have not been as sensitive as we should be to what goes on in black communities in terms of policing issues.”
BERNIE SANDERS on the Obama presidency:
“You know, Hillary Clinton now is trying to embrace the President as closely-- as she possibly can. Everything the President does is wonderful. She loves the President, he loves her and all that stuff. And we know what that's about. That's trying to-- win support from the African American community where the President is enormously popular. But you know what? I have enormous respect for the President. He's a friend. We have worked together. I think he has done a great job in many respects. But you know what? Like any other human being, he is wrong on certain issues.”
For more information on the BET News special “Talking Black: A BET News Special with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders” including exclusive excerpts from the interviews, additional articles, photo galleries, opinion pieces and more go to BET.com. Join the conversation on social media using the dedicated hashtag #TalkingBlack and following @BETNews.
(Photos: Scott Olson/Getty Images)