May 24th, 2008
02:03 PM ET
3 years ago

Clinton apologizes for RFK assassination comment

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Sen. Clinton listens during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday.
Sen. Clinton listens during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday.

BRANDON, South Dakota (CNN) – Sen. Hillary Clinton said Friday that she regretted comments that evoked the June 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy as part of her explanation for why she was staying in the presidential race late into the primary season.

Earlier Friday afternoon, she told the editorial board of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said.

Clinton complained that "people have been trying to push me out of this ever since Iowa" and said that position "historically ... makes no sense."

Later at an event in Brandon, South Dakota, she said, "earlier today, I was discussing the Democratic primary history and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns that both my husband and Sen. Kennedy waged in California in June in 1992 and 1968, and I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nominating primary contests that go into June. That's an historic fact.

Update: During an interview with Radio Isla Puerto Rico on Saturday, Barack Obama reacted to the Clinton RFK comment.

According to a quote released by the campaign, he said, “I have learned that when you are campaigning for as many months as Senator Clinton and I have been campaigning, sometimes you get careless in terms of the statements that you make and I think that is what happened here. Senator Clinton says that she did not intend any offense by it and I will take her at her word on that.”

Full story

Related video: Watch Sen. Clinton's comments to a SD newspaper's editorial board

Related video: Watch Brian Todd's report on Sen. Clinton's remarks Friday.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (937 Responses)
  1. jfs Memhis, Tn

    This is rather like the remark Bill made in South Carolina. Totally blown out of proportion........Right??? NOT. She said exactly what she wanted to be understood. The Clintons NEVER leave anything on the table. I cannot believe that after remarks such as this that she would even think that Obama would have her on the Ticket with him. She's a piece of work. The LONGER she stays in, the more she uses her supporters as an excuse to continue ...and ruin this party, the less chances the Democrats will have in Nov. Sen. Fienstine please call your FRIEND and stop this nonsense. I fear she may have been misleading you for all these years.

    May 23, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Meme for Obama

    WoW-How low can one possibly get (desperation is not even the word)
    You never seize to amaze me hillary.

    May 23, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Vic

    "I am beginning to believe that Hillary, without Bill, would be a far better president than Obama or McCain."

    Anita~ You got that from this blunder on the part of Hillary? Why didn't the "obliterate" Iran comment seal the deal for you?

    May 23, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. RJ

    Why is CNN blowing this out of proportation, I wonder WHY the WOLF has so many issues with HILLARY.
    HiLLARY was the first to sympathize with the Kennedy's.
    She is harmless and means no harm.
    If this was a guy thing, it would be translated different, but this goes to show that WOMEN are still inferior in this great Nation, We do not practice what we preach,
    And by the way, I suggest that the best political read OBAMA's books that clearly implied the hatred for white americans,
    And echoing fact by Michelle.
    I do not see CNN analize these remarks,
    Clearly OBAMA is the CNN choice for the nomination,
    Dirty politics at work
    I hope the people see through these UGLY people at CNN

    May 23, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. Lila

    THis woman is tactless and shameless!
    More I think about it, more I am convinced that she has 2012 in mind. To make it possible, she has to weaken Obama as much as possible and help defeating him.

    May 23, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  6. Sandy

    HRC is simply repulsive.

    May 23, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. bean counter, Motor City, MI

    Yawn.

    Not a Hillary supporter, but this is not what I would call newsworthy. Mr. Obama has "mis-spoke" (er misremembed a-la Roger Clemens) or various occasions when talking policy.

    May 23, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  8. LinnieFB

    NO! NO! NO!

    I expect her to remove herself from the race withing 24 hours!! She has obviously lost her mind (and her sense of decency). Her days in public office should be OVER!

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  9. Tim

    Wow I'm sure she didn't mean to say anything offensive but she attacked Barack over the bitter comments I think she needs to think before you attack cause Karma always comes back to bite you in the butt.

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. Sue, Bloomington, IN

    There is no defense for this remark. We all know what she meant and why ! Any superdelegate who does not come out now and endorse Obama is guilty of encouraging the disgusting tactics of the Clinton campaign. I hope Ted Kennedy and RFK's kids come out and tell Hillary what they think of this incredibly tacky and offensive remark.

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. cody

    I'm for Obama, but I really think Clinton just misspoke, just didn't think it through. Her explanation of why she would say this is plausible. I think the Obama camp should acknowledge this. Certainly both candidates are human.

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. Lady

    I urge everyone to be objective about things no matter who your candidate is.This statement is wrong and serious from Hillary.if Obama had made this statement,the whole world would be upside down now.When he made the bitter comment,Lou Dobbs dedicated his entire hour talking about it.The entire weekend was dedicated to it and the weeks to follow.The media and everyone needs to call a spade a spade.GO CHRIS MATTHEWS!!

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  13. Alfredo (SSG)

    Wow.. is that a foot in your mouth again Hillary? Must taste good because it ends up there often.

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. After further review,Texas

    The straw that broke the camels back.

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. Top of the Ticket

    Give it a rest. It is clear she was indicating that some campaigns go on until the convention and it doesn't make sense to drop-out early because you never know what can happen (i.e.: Rev Wright). The real issue is why have the party insiders and press been trying to push out the first viable female candidiate in our history.

    Hillary is the best candidiate and should be our nominee. I say take it all the way to the convention.

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Dana in Maryland

    I was astounded by Hillary's comment, which sounds too much like her "hard working WHITE americans" comment to have been a complete slip. It reminds me more of trial lawyer tactics to state something prejudicial in front of a jury and know that even if the Judge orders it stricken from the record, the Jury will still be affected by it. As an Unconscious slip, it is even more troubling since it implies she is sticking this out on the off chance something may happen to Obama. Makes me wonder a bit too much. It really seems more like the tactic of say something negative for effect and then take it back after the damage is done. All too "Clinton"

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. debbie, PA

    I'm speechless. All we need is some nutty person on the verge of a meltdown interpreting that as an invitation. so she can win. Someone that bright and political astute surely must have known what she was saying. This is so, so sad. I was actually starting to feel a little sorry for her.

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Sunny

    She ought to be ashamed of herself. I doubt she ever will be, but she ought to be.

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. robert

    I am so tired of the stupidity of Americans with all this politically correctness, the woman made a legitimate statement, I heard it and understood it as she meant it. Are the rest of americans so stupid that they can't understand a statement? I felt the content was clearly explained. Give me a Break, at this point I feel Mrs. Clinton has every right to continue on with her campaign, enough bullying from Democrats and media. Last time I checked this was America, Just report the news quit being analysts, it's getting old and tired. I think it's time for America to get real... Maybe if they stopped watching reality shows and started living in the real world! Things may improve! It makes me ill how all this makes us look in the eyes of the world. We look like fools...

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Rj

    Oh my God! Whoa! What's been on your mind Hillary? Let the entertainment begin. I'm going to sit back and watch her supporters gasp for air. Even rats know when the ship is sinking.

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. Obama Independent

    Blah blah blah–slow news day

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Judy

    Superdelegates:

    Get Hillary out of this campaign before she destroys the Democratic Party.

    She is not fit for politics with her EVIL mind.

    I don't trust the Clintons: they will destroy anything and anyone who is in front of them when they are losing.

    Yes, Hillary needs to be immediately investigated!

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. David Goldman for OBAMA

    SHE IS MENTALLY ILL.

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. Chuck, LA

    How sad....really sad, and now with sleepless nights and out of dirty tricks, she finally gives an idea of what she has planned in her mind for her pathetic desperate bid to steal the Dems nomination from Obama
    :(

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. natasha VA

    Senator Clinton needs some deserved R&R time. She is deteriorating on a daily basis and it seems it is affecting her psychologically. It is not an all-or-nothing game. There is senate leadership, cabinet posts, and/or supreme court appointments that are still possible. Why commit a political suicide?

    May 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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