Weekend Internet Buzz: HIllary Invoked RFK Last March, Too


The following Hillary Clinton news started flying across the Internet last night.  More stunning revelations about her RFK assassination remarks have re-surfaced. 

So far, as of 2:30 PT today, some cable news networks are skating over the history surrounding this story.    (ETA:  MSNBC’s Olbermann may have covered it in his rant last night but…sometimes Olbermann is so over-the-top I can’t get past the heat.)

Yesterday, Clinton made a shockingly inappropriate remark to the Sioux City, South Dakota Argus Leader editorial board.  Defending her decision to continue her bid for the nomination, she invoked the June 1968 RFK assassination.   Clinton then issued a wishy-washy apology to the Kennedys but she did not apologize to Obama for stoking everyone’s worst fear - the assassination of the  first African-American (presumed) presidential nominee.  

However, Time Magazine reveals that Clinton also alluded to the RFK tragedy last March.  It appears that Clinton’s bizarre comments may actually be a scripted response to questions about her intention to stay in the race through June.

(CNN just ran a lengthy segment about the Argus Leader incident hosted by Josh Levs, but CNN apparently hasn’t stumbled upon the Time Magazine story.  There was no mention of it, in any case.  CNN reports, however, that the Argus Leader story has caught on like wildfire and there is lot commentary on BET.com.   BET’s political blog, Pamela on Politics, asks "Hillary Implies Obama Might Get Shot?"   And on BET News: "Hillary Makes Shocking Assassination Comments.")

Karen Tumulty, TIME’s National Political Correspondent, posted the info on her blog late yesterday.  On March 6, responding to TIME Managing Editor Richard Stengel’s question about an extended primary process "hurting the party,"  Clinton’s answer was eerily similar to the remarks she made to the Sioux Falls SD Argus Leader’s editorial board.

Time Magazine:
No, I really can’t. I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer.  We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A.  My husband didn’t wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual.

Argus Leader:
There has been this urgency to end this…It’s unprecendented….Historically it makes no sense. 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…

ETA:  DailyKos  comments - "This isn’t the first time she has made this same, offensive comparison.  Once might be a mistake, twice and it’s a tactic."

Tumulty’s blog points out that Bill Clinton’s campaign was "effectively over" in March, not June.   Tumulty also directs readers to comments made by NewsHour’s veteran analyst Mark Shields who slammed Hillary for her "reckless" behavior and her distortion of history.

I think it was, at the best, totally reckless. I mean, her history is absolutely faulty. Robert Kennedy’s first primary…was in May 7th of 1968. He was murdered four weeks later. She’s talking about a long campaign.  This campaign began the first week in January.  She’s still talking about June. So, I mean, it’s faulty there.

The NY Times editorial board has called the remarks an "inexcusable outburst."  Word to the NY Times editorial board:   Hillary’s remarks no longer qualify as an outburst.  The comments appear to be calculated and rehearsed.

All of this comes on the heels of Mike Huckabee’s so-called "joke" at the NRA convention about a gun being pointed at Obama.  

Will the Gray Lady stop their whining about Hillary’s inappropriate behavior and finally rescind their endorsement?

Per the NY Times editorial board yesterday:

We have no idea what, exactly, Hillary Clinton was thinking when she referred to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in explaining her decision to keep on campaigning when it looks like there is virtually no hope of her winning the Democratic nomination.

(We’ve supported her decision to do so. This is a democracy, after all.)

But she could, at least, have apologized.

Instead, she issued one of those tedious non-apology apologies in which it sounds like the person who is being offended is somehow at fault: “I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive.”

Mrs. Clinton tried to excuse her inexcusable outburst by saying she was distracted by the shock of the news of Senator Edward Kennedy’s malignant brain tumor. But there was something familiar about what she said, and thanks to Ben Smith of Politico, we remembered what it was. Mrs. Clinton said basically the same thing in an interview with Time on March 6:

“I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A.”

ETA:  Hillary Doesn’t Own Up; Spins Instead.   This morning, the Clinton campaign went into full spin mode.  Predictably, they blame the media and the Obama campaign for stirring the pot and claim her remarks were "taken out of context."

uhhhh - sorry, no.  I’m not buying it.  I watched her May 23 remarks in context.  And you can watch as well below.  The remarks were clear as a bell and appear to be scripted (especially when compared to the March 6 comments)….why can’t Hillary just say she’s deeply sorry and she made a horrible mistake and she’ll never do it again?  She was "simply" making a point about history?  There was no logical reason at all for Hillary Clinton to use charged words and invoke the specter of "assassination" when defending her decision to see the primary process through to the bitter end.  And it’s not so simple.  Once is a slip, perhaps Freudian, but twice (that we know of)?  Subliminally, the Clinton campaign is playing on legitimate, widespread public fear for Obama’s safety.  (see the ABC/Washington Post, March 2, poll here - 59% concerned; 29% very concerned.)  The Clinton campaign’s dissembling is almost, but not quite, more distasteful than the remarks.

ETA:  From the Houston Chronicle.  Hillary’s Latest Delusion: It’s Obama’s Fault

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any stranger, Terry McAuliffe appeared today on Fox News Sunday and blamed the Obama campaign for Hillary’s remarks about Bobby Kennedy. Yes, you read that right, it’s Obama’s fault….Ah yes, the dreaded out of context. The last refuge of someone trying to defend an indefensible statement. Tell me Terry, exactly what would be the proper context in referring to the assassination of a presidential candidate? Just curious.

A few blogs around the ‘Net, responding to Hillary’s Argus Leader remarks:

It’s Official: Hillary Clinton Is Insane  (Houston Chronicle)

Paging Dr. Freud   (Andrew Sullivan)

Clinton staying in just in case of an assassination?  (Dallas Morning News)

Hillary and the Argus Leader