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. Fonzi, an independent.

    You are a disgrace!

    May 25, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. William

    Why Hillary continues to run? It's her ego and belief that she can steal the nomination.

    Clinton dirty tricks. It gets old Hillary. Please put the country ahead of your own interests.

    May 25, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. BJ

    IF anything happens to obama,then hillary clinton should be ready to explain in court,and these time nothing will go silent all of millions obama supporters will go on streets for the whole world to see the real america they never knew.
    obama 08

    May 25, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. cpljoeb from NC

    McAuliffe is smoking some good stuff. He blowing smoke up Hillary's Pant Suits.

    May 25, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Leslie from Dallas

    I think Hillary is like a child. If she can't get attention for be good, then she'll get it by being bad. Are we not now reading and hearing about this all Memorial weekend?

    May 25, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Clinton


    May 25, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Javone77

    LOL you have GOT to be kidding me!!!!!!! She is claiming that she made a mistake and that her words are being taken out of context and that obama is making the situation worse? LOL I seem to remember Obama making a mistake and saying that some people were "bitter" and man she jumped on that like white on rice!!! I guess what's good for the goose isn't always what's good for the gander. Maybe Obama can claim she's being sexist against him. She should just REALLY sit in the timeout corner and be quiet now.

    May 25, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. S in Austin

    I have submitted several comments that are relevant to the posts and remain respectful of authors and other commenters. I am trying to figure out why they never get posted. I know the moderators are under no obligation, certainly, but I'm just trying to understand. It certainly can't be the volume of comments in this particular case... can you shed some light on this for me, please?

    May 25, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. L

    The saying is "strong women fall hard." Somebody had better make sure they are ready to catch Hillary. She is leaning towards bi-polarism and needs to take a long vacation.

    May 25, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. David O

    And when is this going to include an apology to the Obama family you crazed power hungry loon?

    May 25, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Debo

    She's irrelevant. Next story...

    May 25, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. Canadian feminist

    For all the intelligent and capable people the Clintons have running their campaign (yes, their– even those of us outside the U.S. can see what this is really all about), they sure give stupid advice.
    It makes no sense for her to continue to make excuses for herself after what she said. It is inexcusable. Period. No lengthy explanations will fix this. It is time for Americans to smarten up and do what the rest of the world is waiting for. Obama '08

    May 25, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. LuLu

    I have a comment on the update, from Clinton' campaign compaining about Obama's campaign. First – the Clinton campaign has repeatedly fueled the flames of every gaffe of Obama's and have not hesitated to take his words out of context. Second – Obama's campaign has run on a higher road than Clinton's throughout. They haven't been perfect, but they have been better. Third – Obama's campaign commented on this latest Clinton gafffe but could hardly be said to attack her over it. In this case and several others, Obama has been very gracious to Clinton. I'm not overly offended by Clinton's RFK reference, but I continue to be offended by her campaign's attitude. I think it's been very clear who's acted more presidential during this primary season.

    May 25, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. steve from NY

    Please someone explain to me how the Clinton camp have the nerve to complain about the Obama camp fanning the flames when they them selves are guilty of so much more fanning over less.

    How they strung out "Bitter-gate" is the prime example.

    Hillary is acting like the ultimate spoiled child.

    May 25, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Lisa (PA)

    No, Senator Clinton, you might not have said those specific words but they were implied. How stupid or ignorant do you think the people of the USA are at this time. No one brings up those comments at this time of our lives especially during this ELECTION!! In fact, you have stated them many times, not once, twice but 4 times. And now you are finally called ont he rug to explain yourself.

    Anyone that has seen you speaking can tell when you are lying. When you lie, you do not look at anyone person, you look at the ground or close your eyes. Again, do you think that the american people are that ignorant.

    I think not!!!!

    May 25, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. Brad

    She has yet to even prove she understands what the controversy is about. All of her words seem to imply she is apologizing to the Kennedy's for bringing this up. Not once has she apologized for the implication, however unintentional it was, that she is waiting around for something to happen to Sen. Obama.

    May 25, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. Jim

    You're still going to lose Hillary. And when you lose, you will need to pay back all of your special interests back some other way than with our tax money.

    Imagine her known arrogance in telling her $upporter$ something to the effect of "it's a sure thing".

    I can see her cold sweat building from here.

    A woman for future president, YES! Any Clinton as future president, NO! Begone and take your messed-up legacy with you.

    May 25, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. Yes We Can

    Hillary has showed she could not run the Whitehouse and didn't know what was going on under her nose with Bill and Monica, she can't run her campaign and she can't tell the difference in the truth or a lie. The last time she mis-spoked was when she said that Bill's campaign was finished in June 1992. Bill knew he was the nomniee in March,. It wasn't because the Kennedy's were on her mind. She said the same horrible thing about Bobby in March. She blames everything that is a lie on how tired she or she has been without sleep. How can she possible run the country? Especially, with all of her 3:00 am telephone calls. I'm a 60 year old Republican w/white women from Texas voting for Barack Obama and proud of it and proud of him. YES WE CAN WHEN WE UNITE.

    May 25, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Loan Hillary A Calculator & A Rule Book






    May 25, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. JustADude

    Come on guys she just "misspoke" once again !! If Obama had said the same she´d be ravaging about how wrong, disrespectful, .....etc....etc.... Obama is and adding that "no chance of wining the general election" line. We have seen it too many times and frankly it´s geting boring.

    May 25, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. LT for Obama

    "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."

    Terry McAuliffe is just as out of touch as her candidate. BO spoke up yesterday, more than once, and said that he did not fault her and accepted her clarification, taking her at her word that she did not mean anything by it. Stop blaming BO for the careless words spoken by your candidate and the backlash it has caused.

    The fact that this has gone into three days is in part the media who continues to talk about it and the supporters who also continue to flame about it.

    May 25, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. Rob

    she is so far removed from reality – she says out loud something from a dark evil place in her heart tries to change all the rules mid game but you know it's all about her. time to take a long vacation in a soft walled room.

    May 25, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. Peter

    The damage is done. Nobody pushed her to make this comment so Hillary' campaign should not blame Obama Campaign for this problem. By the way why do they see every problem as though Obama made it up. Sounds a lot like being a sore loser. I would be very surprised if the superdelagates give her the nomination based on her maths.

    May 25, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. RCats

    All I know is that Clinton's campaign for me has turned into a long national nightmare. I would have left this comment at the previous article but after only two comments the comments were closed. It makes me sad that the Clintons want the presidency again so badly that they are willing to say and do anything. They deserve to be attacked but mostly they deserve to loose. Talk about greedy for power – they've already had the presidency 8 years. Let's move on from Bush-Clinton-Bush to Obama.

    May 25, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. anonymous

    She continues to run because she's stubborn and out of touch with reality, similar to another politician – GWB.

    May 25, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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