May 27, 2008

Assassination Gaffe?

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right?" she said. "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California."

The assassination references by Hillary Clinton in South Dakota are pretty well trodden ground at this point and it seems to me that the storm is passing over for her because the majority of the MSM is lacking in the stones to really press the point. Most of the commentators and pundits are giving Hillary a pass and pretty much refusing to really assert that her comments were intended to be suggestive of the assassination of Obama as a potential event justifying her remaining in the race. Hell, Kennedy family members and Obama himself have extended her grace (which they would never have gotten were the roles reversed) I might agree if this were the only time she has made such reference. However, as Olberman points out in his rant (see our featured video), this is not the only time she has referenced that event. At least twice before she had done so. She referenced the assassination explicitly in comments to Time magazine on March 6th for example. Each time she has made this purportedly "timeline" reference, she has pointedly alluded to the assassination event, sometimes using the word, sometimes not, as was the case with her remarks at a Washington fundraiser on May 7th and again later the same day at an event in Shepherdstown West Virginia (see Olbermans video for the quotes). Pundits and others have said its clearly an allusion to timeline, which is true, but all of the prior comments have also clearly alluded to the assassination as well. Every time. She has pointedly made the allusion in a very similar way each time, which says to me its a talking point and suggests that she is intentionally trying to allude to this, to suggest obliquely that such an outcome could befall Obama and that is a rationale for her continued campaigning for the nomination. Because of the other times noted above when she has made these allusions and they way they are artfully constructed to suggest both the timeline issue and remind the listener of the assassination event at the same time, I do not regard the reference as benign. I believe she WAS engaging in this sort of subliminal messaging.

What is perhaps the bigger issue here is that whether or not you think she was actually doing such a thing intentionally, I think there are few people that don't believe she is perfectly capable of doing it. Either way you slice it, it does not say anything good about her character, her candidacy or her campaign tactics.