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. Pete in OR

    Vulture. If you look at the pattern of things, it's clear that she's gone from "unelectable (by "hard working, hard working 'white' americans")" to going back on her word and suddenly 'legally' claiming 600K "popular" votes and giving Obama none to now suggesting that "death" (criminal) could be a reason to give her the nomination.

    For those apologists who claim technicalities, just add MLK and Kennedy and think about it.

    Hillary as VP now? the answer is obviously NO. Even 10 food tasters would not be enough now with her as VP as she has suggested "tragedy" to her supporters as a good reason to be nominated....Sara Jane Moore or John Hinckley Jr anyone? I for one would recommend that he not be in the same room alone with her for sure.
    I admired the Bill Clinton and the Clintons at one point for inspiring America (morals aside) and reinforcing the idea that the American century could extend into the 21st century. The same is not true now. Certainly Hillary does NOT project the same.....

    May 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  2. Former Obama Supporter

    Hillary was simply saying that the democratic primary season goes all the way to June and people should not be telling her to drop out because historically the process runs into June. Obama and his supporters are spinning this into a story because they want to find any reason to not pick Hillary for VP. Also, the media is really showing how bias they are towards Obama.

    May 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Walter, FL





    May 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  4. Bill


    Obama placed under Secret Service protection
    POSTED: 11:32 p.m. EDT, May 3, 2007

    (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois, has been placed under the protection of the Secret Service, the agency said Thursday.

    The government is not aware of any specific, credible threat against Obama, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the decision. But his office has received hate mail and calls and other "threatening materials" in the past and during his campaign, the source said.

    Three Obama campaign officials who discussed the issue on condition of anonymity also said there was no specific threat against the candidate.

    They said the request stemmed from what one called the "cumulative effect" of a heavier campaign schedule, larger crowds and "just the growing perception internally" it was time to take additional security precautions that are best suited for the Secret Service.

    A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson also told CNN there is no known specific or credible threat.

    Illinois' senior senator, Democrat Dick Durbin, told reporters Thursday night that he relayed concerns about the size of the crowds Obama was drawing and other issues to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

    Reid decided to take the matter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as an issue for a congressional advisory board, Durbin said.

    "I knew the crowds were large ... but some of the other information given to us, unfortunately I think, raised a concern among many of [Obama's] friends," Durbin said.

    "Unfortunately, some of the information we found was racially motivated. It is a sad reality in this day and age that Mr. Obama's African-American heritage is a cause for very violent and hatred, hated reactions among some people."

    May 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. jorge

    I am an ardent Obama fan but I after seeing the blurb on Hillary´s comments I see no reason why she should have to apologize to anyone. The media is making a big deal out of nothing. There are other more important issues to worry about.

    May 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. Lisa

    I am not a bit surprised. She is staying in because she HOPES that something happens to Obama. She is floating a not to subtle hint out there. And her supporters actually want someone with this mentality to be their commander in chief.

    Instead of her medical records being checked, I think her psychiatric records should be checked thoroughly.

    May 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  7. Deborah Stewart

    To diminish by Obama and his campaign of a reference of history to something pathetic is outrageous. Obama and his campaign doesn't know what it was like, because they don't care, to experience a prominent and wonderful President that JFK was and a wonderful representative of the people was as RFK was. This is pathetic on the part of Obama and his campaign to diminish our history into some political statement. This Obama slop doesn't know what it felt like to experience both of these events. And diminish it to some political statement is an autrocity. This idiot Obama doesn't know what it was like to lose a president or a potential president. This flippen idiot Obama doesn't know what it is like to lose both who are very much admired. And to resort to make a political statement by Obama and his campaign is just as pathetic as he is. The Obama campaign and its political statement for an historical reference doesn't know...not even come close as to how much it hurt to see two great great great in JFK and RFK gone from this planet. How sick can you get for the Obama campaign to use this as a political statement when Senator Clinton was only using history. It makes me sick to my stomach that Obama and his campaign would do this.

    May 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Ben

    I am a guy ,so I would n't say anything,because anyone saying anything about Hillary is seen as attacker her because she's a woman.
    However, If she was a man, I would say it's time to go get a brain scan. What an evil and desperately wicked thought.

    May 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. Anita - AZ

    Daniel – New York,

    Now wait a minute. First off, Clinton supporters were complaining Obama doesnt defend himself, then say he has thin skin and crys alot. You keep changing the complaint to something different, kind of like Clinton trying to change the rules. You're not far from the tree, are you?

    May 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. Omar, TX

    Disgusting, absolutely outrageous why invoke evil thoughts in people who may oppose Obama.

    May 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. Joe Ossai

    God!, this is my bigest fear.


    May 23, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. DNC Stop Her Now

    There was no apology to Obama. She knew exactly what she was saying.

    SHAME SHAME SHAME on Clinton. DNC, stop her NOW.

    She's a Lawyer. She knows how to speak and exactly what she speaks of.

    May 23, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  13. Capricornthree

    Hillary was merely stating a fact. You people need to quit drinking so much coffee and sit back. Bobby Kenneday as sad as it is, was killed while campaiging in June of 1968. Her point was to use it as relevance for the length of time a primary runs to. You all need to stop spinning out of control, it is people like you that are breaking down the Democratic Party, why don't you go become a Repulican, they need some help from people like you.

    May 23, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. Taylor

    If Australia didn't exist, I would suggest we put Hillary and all her wacko supporters on an island somewhere and get them out of our lives!

    May 23, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. mulla

    Imagine, Obama said something like this !!!

    May 23, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  16. Lenore Z.

    This is a new low. RFK should never be referenced during a time when you are running for the nomination– not for any reason. Period.
    At best, it's tasteless and thoughtless and gauche. At worst, it's cynical and deliberate. No excuses.

    May 23, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. Steve from California

    Hilliary Clinton was simply making an historical reference to how presidential candidates are sometimes selected late in the primary process. What other reference could she be making? It's the Obama campaign that is trying to make hay on this one.

    May 23, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  18. JD

    Not a surprise – Hillary has proven she will stop at nothing to take the nomination away from Barack. First it's comments about Barack only winning states that don't matter in November, she claims white hardworking Americans prefer her (which I find extremely insulting as a white hardworking individual who has met and once admired Hillary), then it's complaining that she is losing because of gender, and now this – absolutely disgusting. She's not losing because she is a woman – one could equally argue she's done as well as she has simply because she is a woman (and the Clinton name didn't hurt initially).

    I hope Barack says no to Hillary as VP. He doesn't need her and she's done everything possible to burn bridges with him and his supporters. As for those saying they will vote for McCain when Hillary finally faces reality, I just don't buy it. If these people care about the future and are true Democrats, there's just no way they would support McCain when Obama and Clinton are so close in terms of policy.

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


    YOU ARE DONE!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  20. Kalejaiye Minneapolis

    Hillary is racist and desperate to be president. She crawled to be senator, in the bid to be president. She claims to love black people, but yet, nothing comes against her ruthless ambitions, not even M. Lewisky ...

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

    You Clinton supporters can try to spin this any way you want to but we all get the meaning. If you all are going to get up in arms about the "bitter comment". She went way too far. The Kennedy family has been through way too much for this kind of statement to be made. If she is tired – she needs to get some rest. My gut feeling told me not to vote for her and this latest among many statments that she has made confirms that I made the right decision not to vote for her.

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

    I am sick over this, that she would suggest something like this and yes I saw it as a suggestion not a slip, she is dangerous, digusting, evil and foul, She needs to get out NOW, The SD's need to put a stop to this before someone takes her hints.

    May 23, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  23. Whitney G GEORGIA

    I am not surprised because she is the one who will do ANYTHING to win. I dont put it past Hillary Clinton.......

    May 23, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  24. Wayne Philips

    History Lesson:

    Both Bill Clinton and RFK's primaries went to June.

    That's all she was referencing and any attempt by Barack worshippers to take her historical statement and make into something more, well, stop drinking so much kool-aid!


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

    I don't think she meant disrespect. I don't know what she meant when she said it though. lol. I just do not think that she had this planned on purpose.

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