WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Education Secretary William Bennett has returned fire on critics of his broadcast remark on crime and black abortions.
Bennett, a conservative radio talk show host, suggested on the air that aborting black children would reduce the U.S. crime rate.
"If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down," Bennett said.
He quickly added that such an idea would be "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do." But, he said, "your crime rate would go down."
Democratic lawmakers and civil rights leaders denounced the remark. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., demanded an apology and others called for Bennett's radio show to be canceled.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said President Bush thought Bennett's remark was "not appropriate."
Bennett posted a statement on his Web site Friday criticizing his critics for making so much of his comment.
"A thought experiment about public policy on national radio should not have received the condemnations it has."
Bennett said his critics had "selectively quoted" him and distorted his meaning.
"I renounce all forms of bigotry," he said.