May 25th, 2008
11:10 AM ET
10 years ago

Clinton op-ed: 'Why I Continue to Run'

Clinton has faced a media firestorm since her Friday comment.

Clinton has faced a media firestorm since her Friday comment.

(CNN) - Two days after Hillary Clinton pointed to Robert Kennedy’s June 1968 assassination as part of an explanation for why she was continuing her presidential run, the New York senator continued her efforts to stem the lingering fallout over the comment – and to explain her reasons for staying in the race.

In an op-ed in Sunday’s New York Daily News – portions of which where sent to reporters by her campaign with the headline “***MUST READ***: Hillary: Why I Continue To Run” – Clinton said some had taken the controversial reference “entirely out of context.”

“I want to set the record straight: I was making the simple point that given our history, the length of this year's primary contest is nothing unusual,” she wrote. Kennedy was still running for president in June of 1968, although his own run was far shorter since he had been a candidate only since March of that year.

Clinton has faced increasing pressure to end her campaign in the face of a nearly insurmountable delegate lead by rival Barack Obama.

(UPDATE after the jump: Clinton senior adviser accuses Obama campaign of "inflaming" the situation)

In her piece, Clinton also pointed to statements in her defense by the editor of the South Dakota paper where she made the comment, and from prominent supporter Robert Kennedy Jr. Most members of the Kennedy family, including those who have backed her presidential bid, have yet to make public statements on her comment.

“I realize that any reference to that traumatic moment for our nation can be deeply painful - particularly for members of the Kennedy family, who have been in my heart and prayers over this past week. And I expressed regret right away for any pain I caused,” wrote Clinton Sunday.

“But I was deeply dismayed and disturbed that my comment would be construed in a way that flies in the face of everything I stand for - and everything I am fighting for in this election.”

Clinton gave several reasons why she was continuing her presidential run despite the increasingly remote mathematical odds of her success, including her beliefs that “I can win on the merits,” provide real leadership on a host of pressing national concerns, and that as the first female candidate with a real chance of making it to the White House “I have a responsibility to finish this race.”

“Finally, I am running because I believe I'm the strongest candidate to stand toe-to-toe with Sen. McCain,” she wrote. “Delegate math might be complicated - but electoral math is not. Our campaign is winning the popular vote - and we've been winning the swing states we need to get 270 electoral votes and take back the White House…”

Clinton’s contention that she is leading in the popular vote has been a matter of great debate, since the only scenario where that claim is possible includes the unauthorized votes from both Florida and the Michigan contest where Barack Obama’s name did not appear on the ballot, and does not include any votes from several caucus states which do not release popular vote totals, but where the Illinois senator won an overwhelming majority of the delegates at stake.

The New York senator added that “no matter what happens in this primary, I am committed to unifying this party. Ultimately, what Sen. Obama and I share is so much greater than our differences.”

In an interview with ABC’s This Week, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said that the campaign was “beyond that issue now,” echoing similar Saturday statements from the Illinois senator himself - despite its statement taking aim at Clinton shortly after she made the remark, and its later decision to send direct reporters to a commentary by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann that was extremely critical of her Kennedy reference.

“As far as we're concerned, George, as far as we're concerned, this issue is done. It was an unfortunate statement, as we said, as she's acknowledged. She has apologized. The apology, you know, is accepted. Let's move forward.”

He also attacked Clinton’s argument that she remained a viable candidate, and would make a more competitive nominee than Obama.

“So - but here's the thing, George. This isn't ‘American Idol,’ OK? This is a nominating process. We have rules,” said Axelrod. “We elect delegates state by state. Senator Obama has built a lead over these six – over these five months. And we expect on June 3 that this process will come to an end.”

UPDATE: Clinton campaign co-chairman Terry McAuliffe said Sunday that she had been making a valid point about the timeline of the race, telling Fox News Sunday that “a hyped-up press over Memorial Day weekend, the Obama campaign inflaming it, tried to take these words out of context.”

McAuliffe said the Obama campaign’s claim that they did not want to attack Clinton over the remark were disingenuous because of the decision to criticize Clinton on Friday, which “got it going so the story would be around for three days. It's nice to get a story going and then, you know, let it go for
three days over the weekend and say, ‘Oh, she didn't mean anything about it.’"

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (449 Responses)
  1. debbiePA

    I don't mind her running until the end but stop telling lies such as that she won the popular vote. Play by the rules–win or lose. She has lost the most contests, popular vote , delegates and now superdelegates. If Obama does not win she will be blamed for dragging this on once it was pointless.

    May 25, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Sarah

    Go away Hillary, Obama 08', Come on supers, end this.

    May 25, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. unbelieveable

    Vic Nashville, TN, Your comment is unbelieveable and ignorrent at best. It is becaues of people like you our country is in the state it is in.
    People like you will distroy our nation and we will no longer be free.

    Someday you will learn what freedom really means!

    God Bless You!

    May 25, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. Jason, Texas

    Go home Hilary

    May 25, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. Al

    Why? – simply because two royal families is enough. Son of a president, wife of a president, daughter of a president... Then one can vote for war and have no any responsibility... not even a modest jail time... or some money to compensate these 10B/month for the war, and many tens of thousands of dead (if Iraq civilians are counted as humans).
    23 senators voted agains war, but Hillary and McBush happen to be among the 77 that voted for it. Guilty.

    Hope we return to democracy:
    Obama 2008

    May 25, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. Rj

    Hillary threw Florida and Michigan under the bus when it was convenient for her. Think what you want, support who you want but don't ever forget this fact.

    May 25, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. Jody Reno, Nevada

    Stick with it Hillary...YOU WILL BE THE NOMINEE!



    May 25, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. Deb for Obama

    "Will the Clinton's say they "inflammed" the bitter matter or Rev. Wright. You said what you said. The Obama camp didn't need to do anything further. Hillary know's the reason she is still running is because she can't stand to lose. This was suppose to be handed to her on a silver platter. The amount your campaign is in debt should say a whole lot about her campaign.

    May 25, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. Jean

    I sincerly hope Hillary gets the nomination. Bill is correct she deserves it! She deserves to take the fall when Mc Cain wins.
    The divided party always loses

    May 25, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Turquoise


    May 25, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. Tim

    Osama Bin Laden said, give me $500,000 and I will bankrupt the United States. $3 Billion on the war so far it is clear he is winning this race. Obama will not beat McCain, so blaming Clinton for this is an act of cowardice. Every person voting for Obama, who has no idea how to fix this, is a vote to say the death of more soldiers is not important, and the mounting debt is not important. It is so much easier to blame somebody else rather than take responsibility for your own action. So the deaths, the bankruptcy of the United States, the decline of USA influence falls on every singe democrat who voted for Obama. At least have a back bone and accept what you have chosen.

    Another 3000 dead American soldiers and another $3 Trillion spend on the war will leave a nation bankrupt. Osama Bin Laden’s ultimate goal is within sight, yet you blame Clinton.

    May 25, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. BillJ

    Hillary is the most talented women alive period.

    Hillary for President........................08......................

    Hillary beats out the playing field.

    May 25, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. heartlight 3, Maui, HI

    "Pat -There is one question that I have not hear addresed about Obama. If he had such a meger upbringing how was he able to attend such a prestigious college and how did he become so wealthy at such a young age?"

    He was able to attend such a prestigious college because he got scholarships to a good school early on because he was so intelligent, and did well enough to be accepted at Columbia and Harvard. He went there on student loans that he only recently finished paying off. He got rich at such a young age because he wrote 2 best selling books. Have you read them? They are excellent.

    May 25, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Mike G

    I believe she didnt mean harm about the RFK statement- but she is DOING harm by the fact that she doesn't concede-she has lost!

    May 25, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. jason

    So, people get sent to guantanimo bay for less than this.

    Just because her husband is the one who started the whole extraordinary rendition thing doesn't mean she should be immune to it.

    May 25, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. jmarie

    Clinton supporters:

    You blame the Obama camp for fanning controversy over her remarks.

    Sorry, that is not the case.

    I follow her campaign, watch/read her remarks first-hand, unfiltered...based on that, I am really insulted by her remarks and twisting of reality.

    This is not the media's fault or other candidates' fault.

    This is her, 100%. She could have been good, but that ship sailed months and months ago.

    May 25, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. BillJ

    Obama people get over it...................................
    Bobby Kennedy was not a big deal.

    May 25, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. Morgan

    Think for a minute people. Is it Obama's fault that he ran his campaign based around the current voting rules of the party? He went after delagates and did very will with the caucuses. He campaigned very very well. A year ago Clinton was the favorite and Obama was chasing a dream. Is it Obama's fault that Michigan and Florida broke the rules? Let's not forget that whether she liked it our not Clinton went along with the punishment until she start to fall behind. Obama wants some voice to be heard by Florida and Michigan.

    Don't disenfranchise the caucus votes in order to claim Clinton has the vote lead. That is as bad as not counting Floriday and Michigan. If we need to fix the caucus system it's best to do so after this nomination process not during and discounting the voice of hundreds of Americans.

    Lastly for Clinton supporters, do some homework on Obama. Read his Blueprint for change. There is a lot of substance to his policies and speeches. You will find that he and Clinton are not that different in policies. They are very different in approach that is all. (that's saying you don't count age,race and gender.) Obama's upbrining and family is probably more like yours or you can relate to his background if you take a look. Hilary is great, but ran a poor strategy for the nomination. Don't blame Obama for it and vote McCain.

    May 25, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Sweet Daddy

    The one and ONLY thing she's in the race for is the MONEY.

    May 25, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. Dem in CA

    Hillary is the most capable and vetted candidate – she is a true democrat. Obama does not have the judgement to lead our nation in these incredibly dangerous times. This isn't American Idol this is the presidency!

    He is inexperienced and will not get my vote in the fall.

    May 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. John in AL

    If this isn't resolved before the convention, we'll have thrown away the third presidential election in a row that we could have won. Do we really want that?

    May 25, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. Hillary fan from NW

    It is a shame that evrybody is trying to push her out of this race and it is shameful by Obama campaign to take her word out of context in regard to the RFK remark. How low can they get? They are doing anything they can to knock her out. But she still has a chance and she is fighing because she cares about her country and she knows that she is the best candidate to beat McCain.

    Obama camp has proven to be a divider not a uniter as they claim. What a hypocrisy!!!!

    Go for it Hillary go all the way to the end. Tere are millions cheering for you.

    May 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Why still running?

    Hillary is still running for one reason only-she can't believe and will not accept that she has lost the nomination. It wasn't supposed to end this way. She was the front runner before any votes were cast. She had the democratic establishment on her side, with over 100 superdelegates pledged to her before the first vote was cast. She had more money than any of the other candidates before a single vote was cast. But when the votes were cast, they didn't pick her. IOWA picked Obama and Edwards over her! And we all know it was downhill from there. So, what else can she do, but hope and pray for something to go wrong with Obama because if she isn't the nominee, her story will go down as one of the greatest political tragedies ever. And her story will not be written that she was somehow the subject of sexism, but utter organizational and management failure. It was her fault and her poor management skills that led to her fall. Her campaign management was a part of her audition for the role of president and she blew it big time!

    May 25, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. obama - supporter - arkansas


    grow up
    learn to count the math
    and by all means
    see her for what she is
    unfit to lead any thing to do with our goverment
    get pissed off if you like
    she is making a blind fool out of all of you

    May 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Blogthis

    "Clinton campaign co-chairman Terry McAuliffe said Sunday that she had been making a valid point about the timeline of the race, telling Fox News Sunday that “a hyped-up press over Memorial Day weekend, the Obama campaign inflaming it, tried to take these words out of context.”

    No No No campaign co-chairman dont blame this on the Obama camp your canidate made her own gaffe and the media inflamed it, it was well on its way to being an issue before the Obama camp even replied. And besides he has said several times that he did not think she meant what most thought she was implying. Yall always want to blame Obama for everything and never take responsiblity for your own actions, please.

    May 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18