9. March 11, 2016: “We started a national conversation”
During the funeral of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, Clinton chose to compliment Mrs. Reagan’s advocacy against HIV/AIDS, stating “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.” The only problem was that the Reagan family was notorious for ignoring the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
Accordingly, progressives and gay Americans who were already lukewarm toward Clinton because of her relative lateness in supporting gay rights were only further inflamed. Clinton had to issue multiple apologies and stated that she had misspoken, instead meaning to praise Mrs. Reagan’s support of stem cell research. Nonetheless, this increased grassroots progressive skepticism toward Clinton’s candidacy.