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Bloomberg: Stop and frisk comments in 2015 'not the way that I think'

Democratic presidential candidate Michael BloombergMichael BloombergAs Trump steps back in the spotlight, will Cuomo exit stage left? 'Lucky': How Warren took down Bloomberg Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson vs. Donald Trump: A serious comparison MORE said controversial remarks he made in 2015 about stop and frisk are not indicative of the way he thinks or the way he led New York City during his tenure as mayor.

Bloomberg was pressed at a campaign event in Chattanooga, Tenn., Wednesday as to why he said in 2015 that the practice was a way to curb crime by throwing minority kids "up against the walls" and frisking them. Bloomberg added in the resurfaced audio that "95 percent" of "murders and murderers and murder victims" are male minorities between the ages of 16 to 25. 

"I don't think those words reflect what, how I led the most diverse city in the nation. And I apologized for the practice and the pain that it caused," Bloomberg said when asked by a reporter about the remarks. 

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"It was five years ago," he added when pressed again. "And, you know, it's just not the way that I think and it ... doesn't reflect what I do every day. I led the most populous, largest city in the United States and got reelected three times, the public seemed to like what I do."

Bloomberg, who is waging a White House campaign backed by his personal fortune, has grappled with a days-long effort to contain the fallout from the controversy as he tries to gin up support for his presidential bid. Studies have shown that the police practice was ineffective in reducing crime and overwhelmingly targeted New Yorkers of color.

Both President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE and his campaign manager, Brad ParscaleBrad ParscaleAides tried to get Trump to stop attacking McCain in hopes of clinching Arizona: report MORE, jumped on the resurfaced audio Tuesday, saying it was evidence that Bloomberg was a “complete racist.”

Tom SteyerTom SteyerGOP targets ballot initiatives after progressive wins On The Trail: The political losers of 2020 Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far MORE, another billionaire 2020 contender, also called the clip “extremely disturbing.” 

“By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should've done it faster and sooner," Bloomberg said in a statement this week. "I regret that and I have apologized — and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities."