- Associated Press - Friday, August 12, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Bill Clinton said it was a mistake for Hillary Clinton to maintain a personal email server even though her predecessors and her successor at the State Department did it, adding that she should’ve known a different set of rules would apply to her if she ever ran for president.

Bill Clinton’s acknowledgement came during a question and answer period on Friday at a Las Vegas forum organized by Asian American Pacific Islander journalism and voter advocacy groups. But the former president spent much of his response defending his wife, calling the controversy “the biggest load of bull I’ve ever heard” and saying issues emerged because of different records classification processes between the State Department and the intelligence community.

“That is not a cause for distrust,” he told the audience in the 4,000-seat Colosseum auditorium at Caesars Palace. “If it were a cause for distrust, it’s inconceivable that all these prominent national security people … would’ve endorsed her.”

Bill Clinton took on a range of topics during his keynote address, touching on trade and immigration to make an argument that “our diversity is a blessing.” He characterized the election as a choice between building walls or building bridges, saying his wife was best prepared to work with other countries and make the best of those relationships.

“The truth is, we live in a world that is interdependent,” he said. “That’s just a fancy word for saying divorce is not an option.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump did not attend, but his campaign sent Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes as a surrogate. Reyes, who is of Filipino, Hawaiian and Japanese descent, joked with audience members about their shared heritage before doing damage control over comments the businessman made last week.

Trump said at a rally in Maine that the U.S. needs to bar refugees from terrorist nations, and named the Philippines in a list of such countries. Reyes said he had full authority to clarify the remarks, which have prompted a backlash in the Philippines.

“He welcomes law-abiding Filipinos who want to come and have a better life,” Reyes said. “But he was talking about specifically terrorist elements that do exist in the Philippines, and there’s no one here that is from the Philippines that can dispute that.”

Other candidates who attended in person included Green Party presidential Jill Stein, who lamented climate change and emphasized its effects on low-lying islands in the Pacific. Her proposal for fixing creating jobs and ending oil-driven wars in the Middle East is what she calls the “Green New Deal” - a rapid shift to a renewable energy economy.

Her address came the same day that the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office ruled that no Green Party candidates can appear on the state’s ballot. The party fell short in its attempt to petition for ballot access, officials said.

Asked why she couldn’t support the Democratic Party, Stein argued that they have “sabotaged” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

She pointed to leaked emails from Democratic National Committee staffers that appeared to show favoritism toward Hillary Clinton, citing efforts to portray Sanders as an atheist to more religious audiences.

Fellow minor party candidate Gary Johnson, a Libertarian and the former governor of New Mexico, told the crowd that he thinks he has a chance at the presidency if he gets to participate in debates with the major party candidates. He said he’s trying to pick up votes from “the big six-lane highway between Republicans and Democrats” this cycle.

“A wasted vote is voting for someone you don’t believe in,” he added.

Johnson is known for his permissive stance on marijuana, noting that his most recent experience was consuming an edible product called Cheeba Chews three months ago. But he said he wasn’t currently using cannabis because he didn’t want to come to work unprepared.

Libertarians, he explained, “always come down on the side of choice … as long as those choices don’t adversely affect others.”

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