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. dave

    Please go away Hillary!

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. willowood

    What will it take to make her realize she is making mistake after mistake after mistake? Apologize all she wants, she knew what that refernce meant and how it would be interpreted. I supported her candidacy, but this is now my departure point. I feel she has lost sight of what the country needs and I now must is not her. Please make ammends: go these last few primaries and step aside. I am now convinced she should also not be considered as a Vice Presidential candidate. What a pitiful ending to what could have been so presidential.

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Joanna

    Yes, Obama's campaign sounds snippy for saying's obvious what she was saying...get off her back and let the campaigns play out...

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Smitty

    I'm sure Senator Clinton didn't mean anything by it – and I"m an Obama supporter...but it was tacky.

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. H.G. of Atlanta, GA

    The comments, no matter the intention, were disgusting and I have absolutely lost all respect for both Hillary and William Clinton.

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. hickinaz


    We reject AND denounce your apology. It isn't genuine and is another one of your scum tactics!

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. Dan

    Does she think before she speaks? This is a little disturbing. Obama has probably received 100's of threat just based on his race. She just poured poison into someone's ear today.

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. Obama 08

    Am i really reading this.. or are my eyes playing tricks on me. Every time i think she can't go lower she stoops and stoops..............
    Out of all the examples she could have used this is the one she picked.

    Obama 08

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. Alex

    Hill-dog's self-comparison to RFK might make a bit more sense if she: a) had any chance of grabbing the nomination, b) was a widely respected leader of integrity, c) was part of a political family the country was enamored of, d) was worth the price of a few ounces of lead.

    But otherwise, right on Rodham! Maybe if you keep up the self-pitying martyr routine, a few super delegates will feel a bit of sympathy for you, before casting their votes for the candidate who has had the nomination wrapped up since March! I dunno if you're gonna get a football stadium out of the deal though.

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Susan McCachren

    Senator Clinton, what are you thinking and what are you doing? You are creating pain and suffering for fellow democrats who have worried and suffered continuously the past 7.5 years. Is this how you truly want to be remembered and thought of, as a woman out-of-control and desparately saying anything to get her way or justify loosing?
    Please just go.
    Enough is enough.

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. Susan Carlson

    I am absolutely stunned that Hillary's comments regarding an historical reference to selecting presidential candidates into June (i.e Bobby Kennedy) warranted such disdain from the talking heads. My husband started telling me the story and I gave the same answer before I even knew about what Hillary said. This is just incredible and political correctness at its worst.

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. A Denny

    So, Hillary, you want us to believe you're just stupid, and making off the cuff remarks? I don't buy it. You know very well you can not unring a bell. The small percentage of your supporters that are wing nuts have just been given permission to utilize that avenue to secure you the nomination. Shame on you. It is time for the Supers to step in , end this, and save you from yourself.

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  13. sophia nyc

    Go away, Hillary and take your mis-speaking with you.

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. DPZ of Houston

    She is too desperate she is about to self destruct oh well... Goodbye!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. NJ Independent

    Outrageous comment, once again. When will it stop?

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. RB

    HIllary, I've regretted a lot of things for which I have never apologized. Are you trying to apologize to the 53% of democrats who support Obama, the Kennedy family, and the nation OR are you regretting the damage it will cause your nomination bid? The words don't mean the same thing, but you already know that.

    I think you should drop out of this race before you completely damage your career, your husband's legacy, and any chance of Chelsea ever going into politics. Yes, you have become that volatile. You are self-destructive and are allowing the campaign pressures to cloud your judgment.

    It's OK to lose if you gave your best. If you didn't, then you only have yourself to blame. Sometimes, other people are just better than you. Every dog has its day. It's over, Hillary.

    May 23, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. Sharon from Houston

    She better pray that nothing happens to Barack Obama! Because All fingers will be pointing to Sen. HRC!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    That's just what Teddy needs right now, to hear Hillary rattle on about his brother's death. She's a cold lady.

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

    Its very clear that Clinton was trying to insult the entire Kennedy family. We should kick her out of the campaign and probably stone her to death. Come on – do we really need articles like this and more disturbing does Obamas campaign have to comment and make this an actual deal? Politics really are sickening sometimes.

    May 23, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. go blue

    I don't really think this is a big deal.

    But I would like to remind people that RFK was elected to the US Senate in 1964 and ran for President just four years later in 1968.

    Sound familiar?

    The Clintons say they supported RFK's run in 1968- I guess they didn't care about "35 years of experience" at that time.

    May 23, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Adele

    She is sick.

    May 23, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. Rick

    I've been an avid Obama supporter for awhile now and definitely haven't agreed with many of the ways Clinton has run her campaign but I really don't think she meant her comment to come across like that. I think it was just really poorly worded. But regardless of what she actually meant, she obviously just dug her hole even further.

    May 23, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. Yankee Air Pirate

    The Obama camp always seems to be in a hurry to condemn other candidates words, yet the Obamtrons seem to think this guy represents hope & change.Hope & change.One.

    May 23, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Democrat first, feminist second

    I can't believe she actually said that! What on earth was she thinking? Oh My God – she's completely off her rocker!

    May 23, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. sam

    to add above comments , hope all people come to senses and do not give her singel votes in next three primary and send message across country , this kind of dirty politics have no place USA politics.

    May 23, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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