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Olbermann lambasts Senator Clinton over RFK assassination comments
Nick Langewis and David Edwards
Published: Saturday May 24, 2008

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An enraged Keith Olbermann had no shortage of words for Senator Hillary Clinton over her recent invocation of a political assassination, something he calls "unforgivable," while speaking on her continued run for the presidency.

"My husband," said Clinton during an interview with the editorial board of Sioux Falls, South Dakota's Argus Leader, "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."

The Senator made a similar statement in a March interview with Time Magazine. "Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual," she said. "We will see how it unfolds as we go forward over the next three to four months."

Senator Clinton later apologized. "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," she said. "I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever." Clinton and her camp went on to say that she was simply referencing historical fact in that both President Clinton and Senator Kennedy had been part of races that had continued into June of the election year without an official nominee.

"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," added Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in a statement on the matter. "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."

Olbermann queries: "Those words, Senator?

"You actually invoked the nightmare of political assassination? You actually invoked the specter of an inspirational leader at the seeming moment of triumph for himself and a battered nation, yearning to breathe free, silenced forever?

"You actually use the word 'assassination' in the middle of a campaign with a loud undertone of racial hatred and gender hatred and political hatred? You actually use the word 'assassination' in a time when there is a fear, unspoken but vivid and terrible, that our again troubled land and fractured political landscape might target a black man running for President? Or a white man? Or a white woman?"

As June 5th, the 40th anniversary of Senator Kennedy's assassination, approaches, Olbermann finds Clinton's remarks particularly insensitive when compounded with Senator Edward Kennedy's recent diagnosis with a malignant brain tumor.

The invocation itself and its timing, Olbermann opines, "[open] a door wide into the soul of somebody who seeks the highest office in this country, and through that door shows something not merely troubling, but frightening."

The entire speech, as broadcast on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann on May 23, 2008, is available to view below. Full transcript is available at MSNBC.