ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday May 25, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 52

Clinton faces uproar with Kennedy assassination comment

WASHINGTON, Saturday (AFP) - US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton faced a firestorm today sparked by her raising the 1968 assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy to justify her decision to prolong her White House campaign. Clinton told a newspaper board in South Dakota she could not understand calls for her to quit, arguing that history showed that some past nominating contests had gone on into June.

“My husband (Bill Clinton) did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary, somewhere in the middle of June, right?” Clinton said Friday in an interview with the Argus Leader newspaper editorial board. “We all remember, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California, I don't understand it,” Clinton said.

Hillary Clinton speaking to the media on Friday in Brandon, South Dakota where she apologizes for an earlier statement, citing the June 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in defending her decision to keep running for the Democratic presidential nomination despite increasingly long odds. AP

Obama spokesman Bill Burton condemned her comment as “unfortunate” and said it “has no place in this campaign.”Clinton appeared to reference the Kennedy killing at the end of the 1968 Democratic presidential race to show that previous Democratic nominating contests have stretched well into June. But referring to political assassinations is fraught with sensitivity, especially for supporters of Obama, who accepted Secret Service protection last year, long before the time it is offered to most presidential candidates, because of unspecified threats.

Clinton quickly launched a damage control effort, saying that the Kennedys had been in her thoughts, after Senator Edward Kennedy was diagnosed with brain cancer this week.“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. I certainly had no intention of that, whatsoever,” Clinton said.

“My view is that we have to look to the past and to our leaders who have inspired us and give us a lot to live up to, and I'm honored to hold Senator Kennedy's seat in the United States Senate from the state of New York.”The Argus Leader's executive editor, Randell Beck, issued a statement saying: “(Clinton's) reference to Mr Kennedy's assassination appeared to focus on the timeline of his primary candidacy and not the assassination itself.”On Thursday, Clinton brought up what for Democrats is the nightmare of the 2000 presidential recount debacle to demand the reinstatement of Florida and Michigan delegates.

She also referred to political turmoil in Zimbabwe.“People go through the motions of an election only to have it discarded and disregarded,” she said.

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