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Former Education Secretary Under Fire For Remarks on Blacks

Democratic lawmakers and civil rights leaders are denouncing conservative commentator William Bennett for remarks he made about abortion and African Americans.

Mr. Bennett was Secretary of Education under President Ronald Reagan and drug policy director under the first President Bush. He is now the host of a radio talk show.

On Wednesday he told a caller, "you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down."

The conservative talk show host, who is a fierce opponent of abortion, added that what he suggested would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do.

Leading congressional Democrats and civil rights leaders have called on Mr. Bennett to apologize. The White House Friday said the comments were not appropriate.

Mr. Bennett is standing by his statement, saying it was a hypothetical proposition. He said he is not a racist. He also is the author of a best-selling book of morality tales called The Book of Virtues.

Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.