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Kamala Harris: On Second Thought, We Don't Need to Have That Conversation About Criminals Voting

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

That conversation Sen. Kamala Harris said she wanted to have on Monday about letting convicted murderers vote is already over. 

The California Democrat changed her tune the very next day during a press gaggle in New Hampshire. 


“Do I think that people who commit murder, people who are terrorists should be deprived of their rights? Yeah, I do. I’m a prosecutor,” Harris said. “There has to be serious consequences for the most extreme types of crimes.”

Harris's national press secretary called her response a "thoughtful answer."

The comments came after the topic was broached during a CNN town hall on Monday after Sen. Bernie Sanders said he was in favor of giving criminals the right to vote.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Another issue that I want to talk to you about -- this is really important -- I'm not sure if you were watching earlier, but Senator Bernie Sanders said that he is in favor of felons being able to vote while serving in prison.  He was asked specifically about people like the Boston Marathon bomber, also people who are convicted of sexual assault.  And he said, this is a quote, "The right to vote is inherent to our democracy, yes, even for terrible people."  Do you agree with that, Senator?
 SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I agree that the right to vote is one of the very important components of citizenship and it is something that people should not be stripped of needlessly, which is why I have been long an advocate of making sure that the formally incarcerated are not denied a right to vote, which is the case in so many states in our country, in some states permanently deprived of the right to vote.
 And these are policies that go back to Jim Crow.  These are policies that go back to the heart of policies that have been about disenfranchisement, policies that continue until today, and we need to take it seriously.
 LEMON:  But people who are in -- convicted, in prison, like the Boston Marathon bomber, on death row, people who are convicted of sexual assault, they should be able to vote?
 HARRIS:  I think we should have that conversation.  (Transcript via RCP)


CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer defended Harris's about face, suggesting her change of tune was simply a clarification. 

That excuse did not sit well with David Harsanyi, a senior editor at The Federalist. 

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