Hillary Clinton's Other Historical Gaffe

by: tremayne

Fri May 23, 2008 at 17:37

Below Matt blogged about Hillary Clinton's comments about the RFK assassination in June of 1968 which she made to point out that presidential primaries sometimes last into June. This is the part of what she said that will be getting all the attention and rightly so (whether she was thinking "hey, Obama could die" is just speculation however).

But the other part of what she said should also be scrutinized. She said her husband didn't secure the nomination in 1992 until mid-June when he won the California primary. This is wrong. Here are the facts:

1. The 1992 primaries ended on June 2, 1992, a day earlier than this year. Several states, including California, had primaries that day. It was not mid-June.

2. According to wikipedia: "Clinton effectively won the Democratic Party's nomination after winning the New York Primary in early April."

3. Clinton's chief rival was Paul Tsongas who dropped out of the race in mid-May, 1992.

4. According to polls, Clinton led in every remaining state except California where Jerry Brown was polling well (his home state). Brown was not going to catch Clinton for the nomination in any scenario.

5. From the May 11, 1992 New York Times: "Aides to Mr. Clinton say that in most of the remaining primaries he will ignore the former Governor of California, Edmund G. Brown Jr., and will try to give voters a clearer sense of his own personality and his positions on major issues, in preparation for a general election campaign against President Bush."

Summary: Hillary Clinton's reference to 1968 was accurate (that campaign was still in doubt) but tacky. Her reference to Bill's 1992 race was wrong on the facts. Like Tsongas, Hillary Clinton is not (yet) mathematically eliminated. Like Tsongas, Hillary's campaign is out of money. Unlike Tsongas, she doesn't know when it's a good time to wrap it up.

tremayne :: Hillary Clinton's Other Historical Gaffe

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"Accurate but tacky" (0.00 / 0)
Well, did you see along's comment in the other thread?

but she's wrong on the facts
The fact that he was assassinated in June is irrelevant, given the length of the primary season that year.
The 1968 Democratic primary season lasted only 12 weeks, from March 12 in NH to June 11 in Illinois. There were only 15 contests... Yes it was at the end of the series of primaries, but comparing that to this year is absurd.

Just saw it (0.00 / 0)
It's good point....it was still going in June but started 2 months later.

[ Parent ]
It's not just tacky ... (0.00 / 0)
It shows that she and her cronies are well aware that assassination is their only path to the nomination. Fuck them all. She's earned every ounce of vituperation directed at her, and more.

There are enough nuts and racists out there that comments like this could prompt one of them to actually assassinate Obama. If something happens to him, I blame her personally. And I will also pre-emptively refuse to believe it's an accident or a lone nut.

Assassination is not a valid path to the presidency, asshole. We're not going to sit back and take it like our parents did with the Kennedys. Something happens to Obama, there will be a general strike, we will occupy all the buildings and shut this country down.


Humphrey! (0.00 / 0)
But I do love that she's admitted that she sure as hell ain't no threat to the system like Bobby Kennedy. The bright side is that Hillary Clinton just likened herself to that incompetent establishmentarian, Hubert Humphrey, ha-ha-ha!


[ Parent ]
Hillary's Path (0.00 / 0)
She actualy has a strong case for the nomination.

Unless, of course, you're an Obama supporter, and are frantically trying to shut down campaigns, disenfranchise certified, legal vote totals, shout down revotes and solutions, and get Obama nominated, at any cost to whoever gets in the way.

You've earned every ounce of vituperation directed at you, and more.

[ Parent ]
gaffes on gaffes (0.00 / 0)
Another historical error is that Robert Kennedy was not the front runner when he was shot.

At the moment of RFK's death, the delegate totals were:

   * Hubert Humphrey 561
   * Robert Kennedy 393
   * Eugene McCarthy 258


So if the 1968 analogy holds true, it would be Clinton who gets assassinated not the delegate leader Obama.

Your numbers may be accurate, (4.00 / 1)
but what they don't capture is the enthusiasm and the change that was taking place.  I was following that campaign, and I was convinced that it was his for the taking. 'Bobby' took a lot of time struggling with whether he would present a serious challenge, but once he came to terms with his inner struggles he became a real contender.  There is no doubt in my mind that he would have won the primary--even though he was effectively a late-comer.

That does NOT make Sen. Clinton his modern day equivalent. Sen. Clinton, sir, IS NO Robert Kennedy, not even in the wildest dream could that comparison be made.

[ Parent ]
I'm inclined towards this interpretation... (0.00 / 0)
That Hillary sees herself as being attacked and driven away in a fashion that could be likened to the assassination of RFK.  She says as much in her comments in the video - she was responding to the question in which she was asked why she thinks people are "asking" her to leave the race.

How closely anyone else would compare her to RFK is entirely up to debate, however I heard nothing in her statement that could be taken as a direct reference to Obama.  I think it IS entirely sexist to think that she, as an individual and as a professional woman, is ALWAYS necessarily referencing Obama, or is deferring to him as a point to bring up in an interview.

Clearly the majority of people who read her comments as an attack on Obama are coming from the perspective of Obama as the nominee.  But for Clinton, SHE is the nominee, or at least in her mind, still has a chance at it.

She's in this for herself, folks, and just like any other candidate (including - guess who - Obama!) - it's about her.    It's ludicrous, SEXIST, and to be honest - pretty unfair - imagine that every comment she makes necessarily is about Obama.

The fact that you can't allow a woman who's been ballsy enough to make it this far in the race a certain sense of self-worth and self-preservation is pretty telling.

grow up people.

[ Parent ]
Please. (0.00 / 0)
   If Obama were in her place he would have dropped out in March.  He didn't have her cash and he didn't have her establishment connections.  I don't know what any of this has to do with "self-preservation."  Hillary will be fine.  She'd be better than fine if she would stop making ludicrous arguments and ludicrous statements.  This has NOTHING to do with her sex.  You're the one who brought it up.  Sheesh.

John McCain lets lobbyists shape his economic policy

[ Parent ]
Depends on how you view primaries (0.00 / 0)
Hers was an historical gaffe ONLY if one believes a primary win is determined by having a PLURALITY of delegates.  It is not.

Another point (4.00 / 1)
It would seem to me that 1968 is hardly the right example to use when one is trying to argue that long divisive primaries do not hurt in the General Election.
Isn't 1968 THE example of a chaotic convention destroying the Democrats come November ?

Speaking of 1992 (4.00 / 3)
I was involved in the 1992 campaign and when I worked for Senator Tsongas we were told in no uncertain terms never to discuss Bill Clinton's alleged escapades with anyone or we'd be fired and the campaign would have nothing to do with us again (including no White House job).  

How is this relevant to Hillary's remarks today?  It illustrates a key difference between her and politicians like Senator Tsongas and Senator Obama.  I think the reason Tsongas "suspended" his campaign in March but didn't withdraw and endorse Clinton until the convention is that we all suspected there'd be more revelations about Bill Clinton's personal life, Clinton would have to withdraw in disgrace, and we'd have a big say in choosing the nominee even if we couldn't get Paul on the ballot.  But had any of us said that to the press we'd have been fired.  And I could never imagine Paul saying or even hinting at this to a reporter.    

That's the kind of campaign Senator Tsongas ran and that I believe Senator Obama is running -- there are more important things than winning at all costs and we were (and are) to steer well clear of that sort of destructive campaigning.  When you run a campaign that often skates up to the line, it's no surprise the line gets crossed fairly regularly.  

Voter Genome Project

Obama Campaign (0.00 / 0)
Are you seriously trying to make the point that Axelrod and his merry band of propagandists hasn't taken every liberty, played every card, and run the kind of backdoor smear campaign that  people like Lee Atwater and Karl Rove wrote the book on??


One thing I have little patience left for is Obaman exceptionalism.

He is nothing more than politics as usual, just with better media manipulation than most.

[ Parent ]
As far as I know (0.00 / 0)
No one on the Obama campaign has come anywhere close to raising the sorts of issues you can see in the right wing emails and sites about Hillary.  I'm not going to repeat them here, but I'm sure everyone here who was out of diapers in the 90s knows the rumors and accusations I'm talking about.

I'm not even talking about Billy Shaheen's drug dealer comment, Andy Cuomo's "shuck and jive", and Geraldine Ferraro's ongoing implosion.  Those are over the line but then add on the muslim email being passed around by Clinton staffers, and the "as far as I know" comment from Hillary, and then look for corollaries coming from Obama surrogates pushing the right-wing's Hillary rumors and there is no comparison.  

And as far as I know, no one on the Obama campaign has crossed the line into guilt by association, tying Hillary to people she knew and worked with (and who her law firm defended) in the 60s the way she has tried to tie Obama to the Weather Underground even though her husband apparently pardoned members of that organization and even though Obama was in elementary school at the end of the 60s.

Voter Genome Project

[ Parent ]
Stupidity (4.00 / 1)
The reference to '68 was also a mistake considering the disaster that was the '68 convention. Even without the stupid assassination comment, the '68 analogy stupidly raises the specter of the last time we had a convention fight.

This is a petty analysis (4.00 / 1)
You may think she's tacky ( by the way are you aware is a word used to refer to women not men?....sexism so hidden you don't even notice)  But you are being petty.

1. The 1992 primaries ended on June 2, 1992, a day earlier than this year. Several states, including California, had primaries that day. It was not mid-June.

12 days and you may a BIG POINT out of that!!!!

To her millions of supporters the race is not over....they don't think it's over...

California is a big state lots of elelctoral votes.. if Brown won it..it would have changed things a lot.  

Tsongas dropped out because his cancer began to recur...as well as he lost some primaries...so don't exaggerate....Hillary is not out of money...she certainly has enough for the remaining states...and so what if Mark Penn doesn't get his money?

Some people have no idea when to stop pushing her supporters so hard that they will turn their backs on Obama...this is not helpful to him or to winning the general election.

And I am enormously glad she's not Paul Tsongas, she is a better progressive than the very moderate Tsongas and she has courage and determination to see things through.  And why does she keep winning states, like Nevada,  that he loses to McCain,  even though Obama is the presumptive nominee?

She has a case

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"


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