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)

    hillary is a senator in the seat of RFK--\\\\

    I AM SURE –RFK,S family has endorsed her too

    so i am sure –it was just a mix -up

    obamabote- GOT KOOLAID???

    May 23, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. RB, Raleigh North Carolina

    Enough already, every time this woman opens her mouth she inserts her foot.

    May 23, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. Math Wiz

    This is a big deal!! Actually, it isn't, it is just poor word usage. However, in a primary season where poor word usage has been a focal point (i.e.'bitter',) Clinton, by her own standards, should be lambasted. It won't happen; if she hasn't been pummeled yet, she certainly won't be now. It just makes it more humorous when I hear Hillary supporters vent that this election hasn't been fair. They are right: any other politician would've been tarred and feathered for saying a quarter of the things that have come directly from her mouth.

    Staying in context, however, she once again shot herself in the foot. While she wanted to focus on June, the real commonality between Bill and RFK was California. Formerly, when California's primary was held in June, she would have an argument to stay in the race because there were enough delegates for her to catch up. Unfortunately, that doesn't apply here because even if she wins every unpledged delegate left (not including super-delegates, mind you,) she will still be trailing Obama. She should probably go back to the drawing board and find a better excuse to stay in the race and undermine Obama for another shot in 2012. Truly, she is a pathetic politician.

    May 23, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. James

    Dont think theres anything crazy to criticize here, im for Obama but theres nothing here to talk about people. Media looking for a frenzy or as stated before "slow news day". They do the same to Obama, nothing new. Vote Dem, none of this crossing over people, thats just out there. id really like to not see the presidency turn into a dynasty, that goes a little too far for America thats for sure, starting a father son husband wife trend, give me a break. But whatever id rather see Clinton win over McCain any day.

    May 23, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. Tarheel for Unity

    She is a wolf in sheep's clothing!

    May 23, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  6. Dylan

    First off, Im an Obama supporter.

    While these comments can be misconstrued, lets not blow it out of proportion here. I highly doubt she truly intended these comments to be offensive in any way.

    You should all be ashamed of yourselves, obama and hillary supporters. The greatest enemy of the democratic party isnt the republican party...its the democratic party. We always allow ourselves to get divided. The fact of the matter is, when it comes down to it...the republicans always manage to unite behind their candidate....and the reason we dont win is because we get caught up in irrational emotions and petty differences that we hand them the white house or congress or whatever. WE NEED TO UNITE!!! If hillary wins I would vote for her because in spite of all that happens, I still respect and love her for the fact that she is on the right side and would be a great president. I hope Obama wins....but I hope even more that you all are mature enough not to throw away another election just because you narrow your vision.....This country cannot survive another 4 years of a republican administration...don't make the mistake of pettiness. Stand up for your party and for what is right.

    May 23, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  7. Steve

    I Can't believe that Hillary is now hoping her rival will get shot. Only a Clinton!

    May 23, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  8. Sam Allen, Oklahoma

    Hillary is just telling it like it is. This is the most violent country in the world that has shot at least 4 Presidents. If Obama can't take the strain, then drop out.

    May 23, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. Noreen

    1. The California primary this year was in March! History does not help her now!
    2. How stupid does she think we are?
    3. I hope she doesn't want what happened to Bobby Kennedy to happen to Barack Obama.
    4. Will the democratic paprty please shut her down?

    May 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  10. JD

    I like how CNN focuses on Clinton's apology, much like they didn't do when Obama made his so-called "elitist" remarks in Pennsylvania...all I seem to remember from that was bash after bash from every side.

    stay biased CNN! your news coverage really is worthy!

    OBAMA 08

    PS I was being sarcastic.

    May 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. Gus

    why would she even say something so stupid, what a disgrace

    May 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. martin

    i want barack to have a pope mobile!more security for barack!these comments are frightening the american people and we want our next president protected at all cost.i wouldn't put anything past some politicians and government officials.we've seen it before.

    May 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  13. Crazy HillBilly


    Don't let this CRAZY witch anywhere near the VP slot. You need a VP that won't try and kill you in the first 100 days.

    May 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  14. Will - OKC

    The talking heads are scrambling to "give her the benefit of the doubt" regarding this but I say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

    The media must IMMEDIATELY stop treating Senator Clinton as adoring fans and really take her to task for this statement. This is extremely offensive to the Kennedy family, to Senator Obama and his family, as well as Americans everywhere.


    This is simply disgusting.

    May 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  15. mt

    all Obamistas are saying that Hillary will do everything to win. Well, does not he? Or other candidate? Isn't any race about winning?

    How is that she is being picked on, accused of wrong sayings, but Obama gets away with everything he says? And his wife too. They are not any better than other candidates, they should not be treated in gloves, and the other candidates criticized, attacked all the time.

    Obama's campaign is not any better than Hillary's. It is not about raising money, it is about to be a president.

    Hillary has to apologize for everything she says. Obama does not have to. This is ridiculous. And unfair, double standard. She is being hit hard because she is a woman, and she dared to invade men's territory.

    May 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  16. James in GA

    Yikes, guys. I'm a complete Obama fan and don't much care for Clinton, but this was just a gaffe. Let's not turn nothing into something.

    May 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. Sean in Texas

    Typical of the misogynistic "Barak News Network" to twist everything Mrs. Clinton says. After listening to the comment it is soooo obvious that she was only saying that history shows that the primary season goes until June, before a canidate is declared. To read anything else into this shows the ignorance and/or hatred that sexist news pundits have for her. It just highlights how the media has twisted this entire election season and have abused their position to insure that Mrs. Clinton never stood a chance.

    May 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  18. Abraham

    We all agree: The Superdelegates should put an end to her quest, for insanity.

    May 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. noobama

    I am a black female and every time Hillary make a statement it is twisted. I will not vote for Obama if he wins. I am also tired of people in the media white and black trying to speak for all black people, they dont know what we think. STOP IT

    May 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. Another Foreigner

    She better pray long and hard – and daily – that NOTHING happens to Obama. Because if it does, all fingers will be pointed at her. Including mine.

    May 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  21. oletu from denmark

    this is the highest form of madness from hillary. it is time for the supperdelegate to end the race .

    May 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. Chula

    Obamas attempt to make this into a story for his own personal self interest is another perfect example of how OBAMA and his campaign are about DIVISIVE politics....NOT ABOUT UNITY.

    The only people that think this is a story or that were offended are the Obama supporters in the media and Elite!


    May 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Proud

    History is a history , who is afraid of history?


    MCCAIN / ROMNEY 2008

    May 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. NoHillaryOnVpTicket

    Now we know what she was planning if Obama had made her VP. She hopes she will become VP... then something happens to Obama and she finally Gets to be President. The Supers need to ALL go with Obama and get her out of there now. This I agree was a mistake... because she slipped up and told on herself!

    May 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. undecided

    Shouldn't Senator Clinton be apologizing to Senator Obama?

    May 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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