COMMENTS: Rodham Clinton Invokes Bobby Kennedy

Why is Hillary Rodham Clinton still running for the Democratic nomination as late as May when the odds are so stacked against her? That was the question, posed by the Argus Leader editorial board in South Dakota, that provoked this freighted phrase as part of her response: "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California." When her rival Barack Obama observed that such wording had no place in this campaign, ABC's Jake Tapper characterized her response as "a very rare apology." She voiced her "regret" if her reference "was in any way offensive." Tapper told us that what she meant to say was that RFK "had been campaigning in June not that he was assassinated then." When she has mentioned RFK previously, Tapper told us, "she has usually been a lot more delicate."

The Obama campaign did not make a big deal out of Rodham Clinton's mortification. CBS' Jim Axelrod reported on their belief that the remarks "were unfortunate not sinister" and NBC's Lee Cowan quoted Obama chief strategist David Axelrod as insisting that "he cannot believe that she actually meant that she was waiting for harm" to come to Obama. "She has every right to stay in this race as long as she wants," Axelrod added. ABC's George Stephanopoulos stated that there have been no formal talks between the two camps about an endgame yet two of Rodham Clinton's key supporters--Sen Dianne Feinstein and former President Bill Clinton--both now support a slot for her as Obama's running mate.


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