CLEARWATER, FL - Former Gov. Jim Edgar Monday said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle "got a little carried away" last week when she said GOP icon Ronald Reagan was deserving of a "special place in hell."
In his first public statement since Preckwinkle's gaffe, Edgar said her comments at a leadership conference he hosted last Tuesday at the University of Illinois represented a clear lapse in judgment but that he was pleased she quickly recanted.
"I think she got a little carried away. We all make mistakes. We all are going to say something we wish we could take back," Edgar told reporters at the kickoff breakfast of Illinois delegates attending the Republican National Convention.
"I think she did the correct thing very quickly, saying she made a mistake," said the former governor, who this year debuted a program for emerging state and local leaders called the Edgar Fellows and invited business and political leaders like Preckwinkle to address the group last week.
Edgar said he understood her broader point about needing to revisit the nation's drug policy and its impact on the criminal justice system but chalked up her misstatement to inexperience as a top elected official always under the microscope.
"She's kind of new at this, and as I said, we all make mistakes," Edgar said.