Hillary Clinton and the RFK Assassination

Sen. Hillary Clinton pointed to the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy as a reason she should stay in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. These are thoughts better not articulated, lest they have an effect on some disordered mind.

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NOAH ADAMS, host:

There are still reverberations from Hillary Clinton's comments last week to a South Dakota newspaper. Senator Clinton cited the June 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy as part of a discussion about the timing of the current nominating contest and prospects for eventual party unity. Clinton says her words were taken out of context and whipped into a media and Internet tempest. Regardless of her intent, our senior news analyst, Daniel Schorr, says, take note.

DANIEL SCHORR: The holiday weekend has afforded time to reflect on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's apparent inability to understand why so many Americans are upset by her mention of the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Senator Clinton has shown evidence of a tin ear before, but her allusions to a past assassination for whatever reason displayed a deeper disconnect with an American trauma. Her assertion that her husband did not sew up the nomination in 1992 until mid-June, that's factually wrong. Governor Bill Clinton was generally recognized as the Democratic front-runner from the time that Paul Tsongas withdrew in March, and he said so in his own memoir.

But more troubling was Senator Clinton's reference to the assassination of Senator Kennedy 40 years ago on June 5th. These are thoughts better not articulated lest they have an effect on some disordered mind. From Lincoln to the Kennedys, we know the unhappy possibilities. We live with the sorrowful awareness that a talented soldier statesman, Colin Powell, agonized about running for president and finally decided against it when his wife, in tears, implored him not to expose himself as a target on the campaign trail. We live with memories that resulted in Senator Obama's receiving Secret Service protection earlier than any other presidential candidate in history.

In a Washington Post-ABC poll last March, almost six of 10 Americans worried that someone might try to harm Senator Obama. Among African-Americans, the figure was eight of 10. We do not need to be reminded that one of our leaders can suddenly be struck down. Senator Clinton may have thought she was just helping her waning candidacy, but I imagine that she's reduced her chances of being designated for vice president, only a heartbeat away from the presidency.

This is Daniel Schorr.

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