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.
“I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and in particular the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever,” the former first lady said.
Clinton had remarked about RFK’s assassination as early as March 6, 2008 in an interview with Time Magazine.
In a statement, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said, “It is clear from the context that Hillary was invoking a familiar political circumstance in order to support her decision to stay in the race through June. I have heard her make this reference before, also citing her husband’s 1992 race, both of which were hard fought through June. I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense.”
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 video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast May 23, 2008.