Hillary Clinton apologized on Monday for saying in March that she would put coal miners and coal companies "out of business" as part of a transition to alternative energy sources.
The Democratic front-runner and former secretary of state called the prior remark a "misstatement" as she campaigned in Kentucky, ahead of the state's Democratic primary on May 17, CBS News reported. The small group discussion took place in what was once one of the country's top coal producing counties, as protesters gathered outside.
"What I said was totally out of context from what I meant," Clinton said. "It was a misstatement, because what I was saying is that the way things are going now, we will continue to lose jobs."
Clinton had made the comment during a town hall hosted by CNN in March, saying she would move away from coal and other fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy sources.
"I'm the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country. Because we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business," she said during the town hall. " And we're going to make it clear that we don't want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories."
Clinton's apology on Monday came in response to a man who said he had lost his job in the coal industry.
"I do feel a little bit sad and sorry that I gave folks the reason, or the excuse, to be so upset with me, because that is not what I intended at all," Clinton said, CBS News reported. "I'm here because I want you to know whether people vote for me or not, whether they yell at me or not, is not going to affect what I'm gonna try to do to help."