Sanders responds to questions on 'ghetto' comment

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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Clinton has 13-point lead over Sanders in California Major green group endorses Clinton Poll: Americans want change in presidential nominating process MORE is trying to clarify a statement he made about whether white Americans can empathize with blacks.

During Sunday night’s Democratic debate, Sanders said that "when you are white, you don't know what it's like to be living in a ghetto, you don't know what it's like to be poor." 

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The Vermont senator tried to explain on Monday.

"What I meant to say," Sanders said, according to an NBC News reporter, "is when you talk about ghettos, traditionally what you're talking about is African-American communities."

His comment echoed much of the social media criticism unleashed Sunday night, after Sanders made his initial remarks.

But on Monday, the senator continued to defend his answer.

"What I meant by that is, I think that many white people are not aware of the kinds of pressures and the kind of police oppression that sometimes takes place within the African-American community," Sanders said.

"In the African-American communities, you have police officers abusing people, and that is the point that I tried to make."

Sanders said no other presidential candidate has talked about poverty more than he has, nor proposed as specific ideas as his to address the issue of poverty.

"I don't want to be lectured about talking about poverty, whether it's white, black, Latino," he said.

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