Olbermann ‘Special Comment’: Clinton RFK remark ‘unforgivable’

Raw Story

An outraged Keith Olbermann directed blistering commentary at Hillary Clinton for referencing Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination while defending her decision to stay in the race.

Hillary Clinton mentioned RFK’s assassination during an interview at Sioux Falls, S.D. Argus Leader. Clinton later expressed regret for the remarks.

Here is a partial transcript of Keith Olbermann’s “special comment”:

But Senator, we cannot forgive you this.

“You know, 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.”

We cannot forgive you this — not because it is crass and low and unfeeling and brutal.

This is unforgivable, because this nation’s deepest shame, its most enduring horror, its most terrifying legacy, is political assassination.

Lincoln. Garfield. McKinley. Kennedy. Martin Luther King. Robert Kennedy.

And, but for the grace of the universe or the luck of the draw, Reagan, Ford, Truman, Nixon, Andrew Jackson, both Roosevelts, even George Wallace.

The politics of this nation is steeped enough in blood, Senator Clinton, you cannot and must not invoke that imagery! Anywhere! At any time!

And to not appreciate, immediately – to still not appreciate tonight – just what you have done… is to reveal an incomprehension of the America you seek to lead.

This, Senator, is too much.

Because a senator – a politician – a person – who can let hang in mid-air the prospect that she might just be sticking around in part, just in case the other guy gets shot – has no business being, and no capacity to be, the President of the United States.

Good night and good luck.

This was definitely one of the most passionate, the angriest Special Comment I have heard from Keith yet. It was well deserved, and I hope Senator Clinton heard it.

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Several more responses from the media and the internet:

The Washington Post Hillary Clinton Raises the Specter of the Unspeakable
Bob Cesca of HuffPo – Worst Person in the World
The New York TimesSay What? Hillary Clinton Does it Again
Op-Ed News – Hillary Isn’t Quite Ready For Prime Time
Daily Kos – Hillary Clinton: On why she’s still in it
Juan Cole (Informed Comment) – Clinton touches off National PTSD
Andrew Sullivan (The Atlantic ) The Daily Dish
Paging Dr Freud

8 thoughts on “Olbermann ‘Special Comment’: Clinton RFK remark ‘unforgivable’

  1. Watched Keith last night…..Good, strong, correct comment’s from him…Sometime’s in this life all we have to do is wait for the evil to self distruct, other time’s we have to do something….This time all we had to do was wait…Blessings

  2. Keith’s comment last night was surely viewed by the Clinton camp. Bear in mind, though, that she doesn’t like MSNBC (Schuster, Matthews), so she may just want to wait this storm out.
    Olbermann’s guests last night, as well as Matthews’ were stunned by the comment — today I saw the Time magazine article in March where she first conflated her staying in the race to the Kennedy assassination in June. That time, the comment was not broadcast nationwide.
    It proved to me that this was not a casual slip of the tongue, but something she had tried on before.
    How can she ever hope to be his VP now?
    Remember Johnson and Kennedy?

    Her so called apology was lame, evasive and not contrite — she was pained, and looked like she was suffering, but even that wasn’t enough for her to make a sincere apology to the Kennedys and OBAMA. She gave her usual oblique, non-committal “apology.”
    Michelle Obama does not like Hillary, and this comment will surely temper that feeling to hardened steel.

  3. Thank god I didn’t hear the comment. This shows how self-absorbed she really is. As much as I dislike Bush and Cheney, I would never, ever make a comparison to an assassination even to those two traitors. That’s bad Karma and it will come to her.

  4. Hillary does not have the tact to be President. She is certainly no Bill.

  5. Hillary’s campaign has thus settled upon the one defining issue: racial prejudice and hatred strong enough to evoke political assassination. She won West Virginia by pandering to her base: old, white, lower socio-economic and poorly educated voters. These folks are likely to vote for McCain out of pure racial prejudice.

    When I heard Hillary’s comment, I couldn’t help but wonder how the Secret Service agents detailed to protect Obama felt.

    It’s rather pathetic when the case for her continued campaign rests on the hope that her opponent could be assassinated. Given that kind of attitude, that kind of rhetoric, I would hope that Hillary be summarily stripped of all her delegates. It’s bad enough our country has used political assassination in the past, albeit covertly, to eliminate unfriendly leaders of other countries. But now, to even obliquely suggest that one’s political opponent in a campaign could be assassinated should evoke an outcry from all corners.

    What could we expect from a Hillary campaign againt McCain, should McCain be leading in the polls? “well, you know, I’m still in this race because, you know, sometimes candidates for public office get assassinated. wink-wink, nod-nod. Not that I’m suggesting that somebody actually shoot John McCain, but, you know, he’s old. He could die of a heart attack, have a stroke, you just never know what could happen to him, if you know what I mean.”…

    She has no business running for public office. Sadly, there are those who are drawn towards admiring one who uses such tactics…they admire the bully, they get a vicarious thrill out of seeing someone else’s blood. These are the warmongers. These are whom Hillary is catering to…these are the heart and soul of the Republican Party right now (who merely use the religious right).

    Fear. Prejudice. Hate. Bloodshed. World Domination by Military Force.

    Welcome to the America of the 21st Century.

    I would like to see an Obama/Boxer ticket.

    It’s time to be strong enough to defeat the politics of fear.

  6. BnF – Well spoken. Yeah, what are the Secret Service workers thinking now that Hillary made a suggestion about a possible assassination.

    I hate to say this, now I definitely will never vote for her.

  7. I’m trying very hard not to be cynical on this. The kindest interpretation I can make is that Hillary was not equating Obama to Kennedy, but rather was equating herself to Kennedy. In other words, she may have been saying that her campaign is like Kennedy’s in that both went into June behind the frontrunner (Humphrey in the case of Kennedy) and yet were fighting on (Kennedy had just won California). His bid was cut short by assassination, but otherwise he would have continued on to the convention. Had she described it this way in the first place, I don’t think there would be an uproar.

    In support of this interpretation, Wikipedia summarizes the situation as follows:

    “At the time of his death, Kennedy was significantly behind Vice President Hubert Humphrey in convention delegate support, but this has not deterred many from the belief that Kennedy would have ultimately secured the nomination following his victory in the California primary. Historians such as Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. have argued that Kennedy’s broad appeal and charisma would have been sufficiently convincing at the Democratic Convention to give him the nomination.”

    It’s possible to see how Clinton would look to this as an analogy for herself.

    Wikipedia goes on to state that some historians think that Kennedy would not have won anyway.

    “Only thirteen states held primaries that year, meaning that most delegates at the Democratic convention could choose a candidate based on their personal preference. Historian Michael Beschloss thus believes it unlikely that Kennedy could have secured the nomination given that the convention selected Hubert Humphrey as the candidate even though he had not participated in any of the primary contests. Humphrey ultimately went on to lose the general election to Republican Richard Nixon.”

    In any case, this seems like a plausible interpretation. With this kinder, gentler interpretation, Hillary is not an evil monster, just incredibly careless and stupid with her remarks. Given it was the third time she had made them, there is no excuse, and this alone should disqualify her. Even with this interpretation, her crass insensitivity is orders of magnitude worse than Obama’s “bitterness” remark, which Hillary jumped on like a trampoline, as an example of why he was not ready for the job.

    Anyway, I do prefer to take this interpretation, as the alternative is too hideous to believe.

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