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. linda

    Oh pleaseee every word Senator Clinton says is riped apart and questioned about hidden meanings. Whereas Obama the new Messiah can say anything, do anything without a word said. I am sure Hillary has learned to turn a deaf ear to the news media reporting on whatever she says....she has never and will never get a break by those who should believe in fair reporting. So please Wolf don't act so hurt over this most recent statement concerning RFK. This is called politics! Once again sexism is alive and well in the "situation room"
    GO HILLARY!

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  2. Jesse

    Obama-Robots gone wild!

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. N Kannan

    To think that this unstable person is fit to run a country! She might run amuck inside the white house at the first sign of a tough opponent!

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. ShannonGI

    Has Hillary ran out of words to say that she had to reference RFK. What was she thinking! Hillary to reference the RFK incident in the wake the Kennedy family situation and the fact that its all ready a touchy subject with Obama being the first BLACK Presidential Canidate to go this far and succeed thus far. We all know that there are some people that dont want to see change and wont accept this change. This new fresh blood in leadership! Hillary I was a supporter of you at the beginning. I saw you as a stong woman making a blow and standing up. I took a lot of flack being a black woman. But now that I have really listen to your views and ideas versus the others. I WAS WRONG! NOT ONLY WOULD I NOT VOTE FOR YOU, I SUGGEST OTHERS TO NOT VOTE FOR YOU! YOU HAVE DIVIDED THE PARTY BY STAYING IN THIS LONG! GIVE IT UP! THE CLINTON ERA IS OVER. As much as I LOVED Bill! His speeches of late have hurt peoples image of him and scarring yours as well. And while I am discussing hurts. Chelsea, as being public figures and your father being the former President. If the public questions Enough said about this Clinton fiasco! DROP OUT AND SALVAGE SOME DIGNITY AND THE DEMOCRAATIC PARTY!!!

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. BL

    This does it. When Hillary gets critized for something she said what is history that the nimination was not decided till June and the Obama camp jump on it. The Obama supporters remind me of the Bush supporters. You better shut up and not say a thing and do hail Bush. Now the Obama supporters want us to say hail Obama. As a life long democrate I will not vote for Obama in November. I'm sick of the Obama camp and the supporters. This doesn't seem like the United States of America anymore. This nomination was decided a long time ago by the media and Opra.

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. Clinton/McCain

    The Obama campaign reacted quickly. "Sen. Clinton's statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign," they said in a statement.

    What are they talking about? It was a simple comment. Here we go again, the Obama campaign turning an innocent comment into something it's not. That's exactly why this Democrat refuses to vote for such a sneaky person as Obama.

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. Anita

    IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO OBAMA, SHE SHOULD BE CHARGED AS AN ACCOMPLICED!

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. Ken Mitchell - Miami FL

    Bye Bye Hillary.

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Venus

    So much for ready on day one!

    She should take the advise of her Gov.!

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. Sara

    if anything happen to Barak, she is responsible!

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. supporter

    It didn't take long for the Obama supporters to jump on this one. listen to what she said, she did not mean anything about it and you Clinton supporter haters know it.
    Clinton or McCain = NObama and hate supporters 08

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Daniel M, El Paso, TX

    She wants Obama to go down like Bobby so she can take the nomination. Is that what it comes down to? Its hit a whole new low...

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. tina

    I guess she just misspoke again!!! I'm outraged. And I am your so called perfect demographic Hillary. White, woman, rural, didn't finish college. And guess what I'm smart enough all my own to realize who the best candidate is...especially now. Your greedy and your only concern if filling your ego balloon. Your concern need to be America! We need to fix the hole that GW has created. The only way that is going to happen is with a very UNITED democratic party. Go Home Hill! And to think that I almost cast my vote for you. Montana's primary is June 3rd. You WON"T get mine!

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. Francys

    I think everybody knows now why she is staying in the race and what she is hoping for when she is staying that anything can happen. There is no smoke without a fire...

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. Deb, IN

    People are stretching her comments. I don't find anything wrong with her comments. Get a life!!!!!

    Hillary don't take it personal only the Obama supporters find something out of nothing.

    Obama supporters are PATHETIC!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  16. Eric

    Hey Concerned Canadian, before making a statement like "Obama said things ten times worse", can you at least give one example. Of course not. You are just a shameless liar like your candidate.

    May 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. ALECO1 -----NOKOMIS,FL

    HILLARY CLINTON'S MOUTH MOVES FASTER THAN HER BRAIN.THANK GOD SHE WILL NOT BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT.
    IF THE WHITE HOUSE PHONE RANG IN THE MIDDLE OF A NIGHT, HER FIRST COMMENT WOULD BE -LEVEL IRAN.

    May 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. George M

    She said it, she meant it, now she is recanting.

    I think American's will cringe when this makes the evening news. Absolutely deplorable.

    May 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. ARD

    This campaign is over the top in regards to such heightened sensitivities regarding race, gender and age that we can no longer make any comment without being negatively pounced on by the other candidates supporters. Everyone talks about having a dialogue, (especially the Obama Camp) yet, every utterance spoken is twisted to some incredible insult and unbelieveable gaffe. This Democratic campaign has become extremely focused on the small, all the while the elephant in the room gets ignored. To clarify, Obama's inexperience, sexism against Clinton and the fact that come November, if Obama wins the Nomination McCain is the clear winner. For anyone that's curious, I'm an Independent and glad I left the Democratic Party...I hope the Democrats reflect back on their lack of focus and in November say welcome President McCain! Life should be about lessons learned, not repeating the same old mistakes.

    May 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  20. Jennifer from Atlanta

    She's a SNAKE

    May 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  21. James

    The brilliant and gifted Senator Clinton has no need to apologize for her highly respecftful remarks about the late Robert Kennedy, whose seat is now held by Senator Clinton herself !! It would be highly fortunate if Senator Clinton could finally complete the journey to the White House as U. S. President that was denied to the late Robert Kennedy by his unfortunate death !! The three Kennedys in New York, who are publicly backing Senator Clinton, would obviously be extremely proud to have Senator Clinton carry the torch for the late Robert Kennedy !! Their public statement backing Senator Clinton a few months ago was brilliantly written, and carried much more substance than the purily emotional reason given by Carolyn for her support for Obama "I believe he can inspire people the way my father did." I have big news for Carolyn, Obama does not come close to measuring up to President Kennedy in any capacity whatsoever !!!
    The only reason that people keep begging Senator Clinton to end her bid for the Democrat nomination is that they are pro-Obama people who know that Senator Clinton, who handily won every televised debate against Obama, may overhaul Obama in deep-stretch !! Down to the wire, Hillary, then carry the Regan Democrats (unlike Obama) to gain a landslide victory in November 2008 !!! VICTORY FOR HILLARY, VICTORY FOR USA !!!!

    May 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. evy

    GROW UP OBAMABOTS!
    Stop hating on Hillary. This is so high school. YOU KNOW WHAT SHE MEANT, BUT YOU ARE TWISTING HER WORDS SO YOU CAN HAVE YET ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO HATE ON HER. get real. get your eyes checked and your ears cleaned, because obviously you are not seeing or hearing the whole truth.

    You all are acting like the exact mirror-image of extreme right and are no better with your senseless attacks. (this is coming from a liberal democrat too fyi...)

    May 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. margie wakefield

    The revolving headline that CNN is running is misleading and a blatant attempt to sensationalize Senator Clinton's remarks about the Democratic party nomination running into June. I have watched and listened to the video, her remarks are not the least offensive to anyone who knows anything about history and the absolute fact that the Robert Kennedy campaign ran into June. So what is the "news" here? Why is CNN portraying Sen. Clinton in this manner? You just lost a viewer, I am sick of the anti-Hillary slant and continual attempts to make a story out of nothing. Why don't you cover the bodies coming home from Iraq? Where is the coverage of the war like we saw during Vietnam? Margie Wakefield

    May 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  24. Anya Iwo

    This woman is too desperate and must be separated from senator Obama for security reasons.

    May 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. christine

    I'm sorry for the Kennedy family – what a tasteless thing to say at this time.

    I worry about Obama's safety every day. I try to think positive – he IS going to be the best president!

    May 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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