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

Clinton apologizes for RFK assassination comment

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[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Texas

    So, uh, Hillary are you implying that if we wait till June 2008, something could "happen" to your opponent that will allow you to become the Democratic nominee?

    May 23, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  2. Carl Los Angeles

    Bush 4 more years before Hillary!

    May 23, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  3. Carrie Pa

    Another example of Hillary's character!

    May 23, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. Dave in Pennsylvania

    As many of us saw Hillarys evil side months ago, now others are seeing her true colors in her desperation. She wont go down alone. She is too proud. She will take down anyone she can to try to make herself look better. If she cant be president in her mind, no one can.
    She is a discrace to the demicratic party. Its time for the major demicratic leaders to send her away.

    May 23, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    ... and *THIS* ... is why I will not vote for Clinton, even as a Vice Presidential candidate.

    May 23, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Harts

    This shows how serious Hillary is and the length she will go to become President of the US. We should take her for her word and never forget who the Clinton's real are- Self Centered, self serving and egotistic. This political family is finished- nobody in their right mind will take Hillary seriously anymore.

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. jennifer

    I would love to hear what the Kennedy family has to say about this.
    I am sure it won't be pretty.

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. Susan

    This ongoing attempt, by the Obama camp, to paint the Clintons as racists.... well, I have had enough of it.

    There is no way I will vote for Mr. Obama in November. I'm done considering him.

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. Donna, Texas

    I was sick to my stomach when I heard what she said, referencing Bobby Kennedy. I think it's time for her to step aside. I'm hoping she wasn't trying to sow the seeds for harm to come to Obama and the fact that she would even speak those words out loud gives me great concern. Even her loyal supporters could not condone this behavior, or at least I hope this will open the eyes of the ones she has left.

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Lethem

    Although the insanity writing has always been on the wall, some have continued to look the other way in the name of democracy. Sen. Clinton is incredulous. I am an Obama supporter, but if he selects her as a VP - I'll stay home

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  11. calif

    as hillary surpporter am speechless this is the worst and the must unbelievable thing i can ever image her she need to get out cos she have given obama enemies the chance to try to do something stupid

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. @americans


    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. Terrence (Winston Salem, NC)

    This... along with the Karl Rove statement tells me that she needs to THINK before she speaks.

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. lama



    If this is so, pray tell, then why would she apologize? And why would Obama's campaign be the cause of her own words?

    And why are you screaming?

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. Elly

    I am hoping Senator Obama wins but I Believe Senator Clinton never
    meant any harm by this remark
    I hope people realize how very tired these candidates are after campaigning for well over a year…its easy to make a slip up when your tired and if you look at the pic below they both look very tired
    Having said that tho, I also know if Senator Obama made a comment like that it would likely be the end of his campaign simply bc the media tends to pick on his mistakes more
    I think people and the media should let up a little on both of them
    This is almost over

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. Cathy

    Out of the abundance of the heart you Hillary speaketh the truth.
    Hillary, nothing SHOULD happen to Obama.

    Is she cooking something and has she just let the cat out of the bag?

    I am scared for Obama.

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  17. John

    Clinton did not mispeak, she was again misinterpreted by the rabid Obama fans that look for any excuse to criticize her campaign. It's not over till the fat lady sings and that will be when the convention is held and all the votes are in. Michigan and Florida will be seated. CNN needs to do a better job of editint these personal attacks against the candidates by the ignorant biased fans

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. DeniseGA

    @ Joe

    I was upset when I read this earlier, I was glad to see the News picked it up! It has nothing to do with Obama. I was trying to figure out how to get this info to the News. The delegates need to end this now!

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. Jenny

    That was a scary and disgusting comment.

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. deemann

    Her comments make complete sense. Hillary can, and should, stay in the race as long as the rules say she can...that's FREEDOM. Obama fanboys are so mindless and pitiless. Obama is the sure fire candidate to throw this country into depths of insanity that Bush only dreamed of. I have to say that as a life long Dem I am leaning towards McCain because of both of these zealous and racist campaigns from Hillary and Obama.

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Ed

    hi from Canada..

    Ok being in another country and watching what is going on gives me a different perspective and from what Hillary has done up to this point has been more and more desperate... but what she said about RFK is inexcusable... did she inhale what Bill said he did not or what..???
    Even when she so called apologizes..she tries to justify it all you people that support her could you support such an idiot??? and to top it off threaten to vote for McCain who is a clone of Bush just because you do not like Obama ...
    OK people ..grow up and realize that Obama is the winner even if it is not official yet...
    If you really love and care for your country , put aside your prejudice against Obama and unite to defeat the tyrany and dictatorship of the Republicans that you have had to suffer for during the past 7 years...
    and your dismal economy is starting to even affect our flourishing economy up here in the Great White North...
    So for the love of G*D, vote for Democrats in November.... eh?????

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. calif

    this woman is disgusting

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. Cathy

    What was she thinking?? This is a new all-time low. Time for Hillary to try to salvage her image with a graceful exit. She is only dividing the party with her actions.

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. LSekhmet

    I believe Mrs. Clinton was tired and said something that, while accurate, wasn't very well-phrased. I think her explanation that she's been thinking about Ted Kennedy makes some sense; every Senator has to be thinking about Senator Kennedy's brain cancer.

    Recently, Barack Obama said that there were "57 states," and no one really came down on him for it - the few people on television who even mentioned it said, "Oh, he's tired, it's been a long race," etc.

    I definitely do not believe this was either intentional or anything other than an inelegant way to point out that there have been other highly-contested primaries that went into June. Period.

    May 23, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  25. FedUpDem

    She should never have apologized.
    She said NOTHING wrong.
    She just stated fact.
    Unfortunately, the obamidiots can't handle the truth.

    May 23, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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