Clinton on staying in the race.

This is one of the few times you’ll see this large of a context provided for the famous “assassination” remarks. What do you think? Interestingly, both right and left in the media are jumping on a similar band wagon…


The Giddy Fox News Reaction:

Having this creepy broad suggest that Hillary was wrong about the “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” is just plain strange.

The Keith Oberman Reaction (long):

Clinton’s statement later on:

“Earlier today I was discussing the Democratic primary history, and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns that both my husband and Senator Kennedy waged in California in June 1992 and 1968 and I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nomination primary contests that go into June,” Clinton said.

“That’s a historic fact. The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator [Edward] Kennedy and I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that, whatsoever. My view is that we have to look to the past and to our leaders who have inspired us and give us a lot to live up to, and I’m honored to hold Senator [Robert] Kennedy’s seat in the United States Senate from the state of New York and have the highest regard for the entire Kennedy family.”
[source]

Comments

  1. #1 uncle noel
    May 27, 2008

    I’m willing to be generous and take her at her word that she just meant to remind people that the nominee is not always known before June. But boy did I cringe when I heard her say it! Mentioning an assination, when most people think that is the only way she could get the nomination now, is a disturbing gaffe. I’m afraid most people heard: “Why am I still in the race? Well, people have been known to be assassinated in June!”
    I do wish media people of all stripes would refrain from over-reacting to every misstatement the candidates make.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    May 27, 2008

    This is why I presented the longer interview. The short version or the direct quote makes her look like a ghoul. The longer one places the comment in the context of a series of statements about primaries and their history.

    Still, mentioning assassination when you are only one of two in the race is bad form. Especially if your nick name is Annie Oakley…

  3. #3 Kevin W. Parker
    May 27, 2008

    It was a crass and tasteless comment. It’s getting wide play because everyone agrees it’s a crass and tasteless comment.

  4. #4 Doyle
    May 27, 2008

    Her comments were not merely bad form, they were ahistorical. Some primaries may have lasted until June in the past, but did any of them began as early as this one? In the case of Robert Kennedy, I believe he had only entered the race in April, whereas Obama and Clinton have both been campaigning since last year. Thus, if the argument is “it’s normal for primaries to gone on this long” she is just plain wrong. Even if that were not the case, how is an assassination scenario relevant? Is she saying that if she dropped out, and then something happened to destroy Obama’s nomination, she would be unable to get back in? Are we really supposed to believe that the Democratic party would throw up its hands and exclaim “if only she had stayed in the race, we would nominate Hillary, but alas, she dropped out so now we shall have to pick someone else!”?

  5. #5 Ana
    May 27, 2008

    Ugh…Hillary plays the “assassination card”….
    I love how Olbermann blames himself for not getting Clinton on this the first time around (was it Feb?), but then again he wasn’t so interested in getting her out of the picture at that time. His outrage is comical when placed next to his own recent suggestion that someone should take Clinton herself “into a room” that she then doesn’t come out of.
    And, seriously, can somebody please get the good people at FOX some training on the difference between pronunciation of the letter ‘b’ and the letter ‘s’ before November?

  6. #6 AnnieT
    May 27, 2008

    It is not a matter of punctuation. The foxies are happy to link Obama with Osama any time. This is at least as bad as what is being done to Clinton by the media.

    Where, in all of this, is a discussion of actual issues of import?

  7. #7 Joel
    May 27, 2008

    The massed ranks of male pundits gleefully pronounced that Clinton had lost the battle with Obama immediately after the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, despite past precedents that strong second-place candidates (like Ronald Reagan in his first, ultimately unsuccessful campaign in 1976; like Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown) continue their campaigns until the end of the primary season and, in most cases, all the way to the party convention.

    None of these male candidates had a premature political obituary written in the way that Hillary Clinton’s has been, or was subjected to such righteous outrage over refusing to quiesce and withdraw obediently from what, in this case, has always been a knife-edge race. Nor was any of them anything like as close to his rivals as Clinton now is to Obama.

    Here we come to the crunch. Hillary Clinton (along with her husband) is being universally depicted as a loathsome racist and negative campaigner, not so much because of anything she has said or done, but because the overwhelmingly pro-Obama media – consciously or unconsciously – are following the agenda of Senator Barack Obama and his chief strategist, David Axelrod, to tear to pieces the first serious female US presidential candidate in history.

    “What’s particularly saddening,” says Paul Krugman, professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton and a rare dissenting voice from the left as a columnist in the New York Times, “is the way many Obama supporters seem happy with the . . . way pundits and some news organisations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent.” Despite widespread reporting to the contrary, Krugman believes that most of the “venom” in the campaign “is coming from supporters of Obama”.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/north-america/2008/05/obama-clinton-vote-usa-media

  8. #8 Ana
    May 27, 2008

    Thanks for the link Joel! So hard to come by reasoned analysis and commentary these days….

  9. #9 Richard Parker
    May 28, 2008

    Well, Joel, ‘….pundits and some news organisations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent.”

    ….is probably very true.

    This woman isn’t running for president in her own right; she’s doing it as the wifey of an ex-President

    She has absolutely no experience of governance except the gossip she once heard over the White House kitchen table.

  10. #10 Joel
    May 28, 2008

    Richard Parker, you’ve provided one more example of the irrational sexism used against Hillary Clinton throughout this campaign. Thanks.

  11. #11 Ana
    May 28, 2008

    You mean especially when Obama has referred to her as Annie Oakley, Greg. It’s not HER nickname. Thanks for the longer version.

  12. #12 Ana
    May 28, 2008

    One of my favorite bits from the good folk at The Onion (NOTICE: this is satire – I didn’t get the sense that commenters recognized what was behind the posted Obama-girl video, earlier, and wanted to make sure you all laughed here. Laughed with silent tears, maybe, but laughed nonetheless):

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/48757

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    May 28, 2008

    Yes, Ana, the Annie Oakley thing is Obama’s statement, and I think it was funny under the circumstances. And in the same week, Hillary went from a New Yorker to a Pennsylvanian to an Ohioan (did I have that right) also, and her campain managed to pin the “elitist” label on Obama. . Very impressive. This is one of the reasons she would make a good president.

  14. #14 Joel
    May 28, 2008

    Greg, why are you willing to accept Obama’s statements about Hillary, yet Hillary makes a statement about Obama and you find a problem?

  15. #15 Stephanie Z
    May 28, 2008

    Joel, I think your biases are being tested. Both of Greg’s statements were compliments that could be taken seriously or as sarcasm.

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    May 28, 2008

    Just to clarify: My negative criticism is about a candidate or that candidate’s campaign or minions leveraging opposition to the cross party candidate within the party contest. In my view, Clinton or her campaign has done that and Obama’s not to my knowledge.

    If Clinton says “I have experience Obama lacks” that’s fine. If Clinton says “McCain has experience Obama lacks” that’s not OK in my view. If Hillary didn’t really say that and I’ve got it wrong, fine, I withdraw the criticism. If she did say something like that but didn’t’ really mean it, then we must add to the growing list of things Hillary said but didn’t say and ask about her experience in the area of rhetoric, or lacking evidence that she is not dumb, query her intentions and get some kind of explanation.

    And I don’t believe Hillary’s ovaries protect her from this criticism any more than Obama’s melanin protects him from criticism of his lack of experience relative to Clinton.

    Let me be clear: this does not mean any criticism of the person one is running against is not OK. Obviously that has to happen, that is the whole point of the campaign. So, this may be hard to define in some cases and there may be instances where individuals simply can’t agree on what really happened.

    So often in this campaign the things people pick to argue about are so far away from what I think is really happening or important that I can’t believe it. For instance, Clinton’s remarks that included the “assassination” comment. Very few commenters have actually noted what is actually wrong with what she has said (though a few have). Her argument, in my view, is pretty much irrelevant to her conclusion. The conclusion …. that someone in her position can “stay in” ’till August if thats her choice … does not require the points she made in that interview. Yet, the points were flawed by using “June” as a benchmark rather than the actual variable … length of campaign.

    Getting shot is actually more relevant than people seeem to think. Yes, as FDR said, “Do not speak of ropes in the home of a man who has been hanged…” but it is nonetheless on all of our minds. And not specifically Obama, who is both black (MLK) but Kennedy like (JFK/RFK). You’ve gotta believe that Hillary is just as likely to draw fire from the crazy people.

    …. but I digress…

  17. #17 Ana
    May 28, 2008

    I knew we’d get back to that “technically funny” nonsense. Obama’s calling Hillary a name in order to avoid a subject, even if you think it’s cute (maybe more accurately, because you think it’s cute), is still sexism of the worst sort. And really, after Obama’s “typical white people” “clinging to their guns” INSULTS, the elitist component of his personality was pretty well out there. I’m not so impressed by Clinton’s ability to “pin” this on him as I have been by his inability to speak about his values without trash-talking everyone else.

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    May 28, 2008

    Ana,

    Do you really, honestly believe that Obama calling Hillary Clinton Annie Oakley in the context of of the New York Senator donning plaid flannel shirts and downing boilermakers with the good folks of rural Pennsylvania is sexism of the worst kind? Sexism of the worst kind? How does that work?

    That, technically, is bullshit.

    With all respect (and I honesty mean that) I call “politics”! There is a difference between talking about how people run their campaign and simply campaigning for your person. I think you may be somewhere around that line, Ana.

  19. #19 Joel
    May 28, 2008

    Stephanie Z, In the off chance that it was a serious question and I really didn’t understand why Obama calling Hillary Annie Oakly was funny and questioning Obama’s claim as a working class regular guy is another example of Hillary’s political caculation that makes her uniquely qualified for the office of president maybe you could give me the benefit of doubt that my mind isn’t rampant with bias.

    I guess it is possible that Greg could have meant Hillary really would make a good president, but given Hillary’s status as Lord of the Evil Empire, I’m inclined to think the comment was meant as scarcasm.

    But then, I’m extremely bitter because I’m a white working class guy, who has neither guns or religion to cling to for comfort. :)

  20. #20 Joel
    May 28, 2008

    Now I get the Annie Oakley thing may be considered funny, I really don’t follow these guys around 24×7, but one could also say given that sexism is a serious problem in this country, it was in really poor taste and bad judgement for Obama to have made that comment and is due some criticism for it.

  21. #21 Stephanie Z
    May 28, 2008

    Joel, I think the difference is that I took Greg at his word in this extended conversation when he said he started by preferring Clinton. That, and I had my moments of deepest bitterness a few months ago. I hadn’t really considered going target shooting as a way of relieving the bitterness, though. Hmm… :)

    Clinton isn’t evil. Obama isn’t evil. But everyone is concerned that someone will make the big gaffe that puts McCain in the White House. When the pundits are screaming about every ill-made remark, well, it’s easy to get tense and twitchy. I’d really rather we didn’t expend our election energy being tense and twitchy at each other. I’m not really calling you biased as much as I’m asking that we all try to work around our biases. If we don’t have any at this point, we’re not really invested in the election.

    And while we’re discussing -isms in the race, can we please decide whether we’re using first or last names for all the candidates? My vote is for last, since it’s customary and I won’t have to remember whether Hillary has one L or two.

  22. #22 Greg Laden
    May 28, 2008

    Joel: I guess it is possible that Greg could have meant Hillary really would make a good president, but given Hillary’s status as Lord of the Evil Empire, I’m inclined to think the comment was meant as scarcasm.

    I started out preferring Clinton and I still do. However, I know when I’ve (she’s) been beaten and switched to the other Democrat. But I may be wrong about being beaten and I’m willing to listen.

    At the same time I have some real criticisms of Clinton’s campaign. I’ve been involved in democratic campaigning since I worked for George McGovern, and I’ve seen it done a lot of ways, and I haven not quite seen it done this way (the closest was Kennedy) … of course all campaigns are different.

    This whole discussion here started, really, because I was feeling very disturbed at the apparent emergence of a line one must walk, or not cross, or whatever, in criticizing the Clinton campaign before being called a sexist or losing one’s credentials as a feminist, or whatever. I am now starting to believe that the feminist argument is starting to get exploited. I am seeing very disturbing things on TV and I’m not talking about re-runs of Little House on the Prairie.

    But then, I’m extremely bitter because I’m a white working class guy, who has neither guns or religion to cling to for comfort. :)

    I recommend getting a Wii

    Stephanie: Clinton isn’t evil. Obama isn’t evil. But everyone is concerned that someone will make the big gaffe that puts McCain in the White House. When the pundits are screaming about every ill-made remark, well, it’s easy to get tense and twitchy. I’d really rather we didn’t expend our election energy being tense and twitchy at each other.

    That is so absolutely perfectly what I am thinking.

    My vote is for last, since it’s customary and I won’t have to remember whether Hillary has one L or two.

    I feel the same way, and I don’t mean it in a sexist way. (Although isn’t the number of ‘L’s related to the gender of the person, like HiXary Clinton vs. Sir Edmond HiXary???? )

  23. #23 Stephanie Z
    May 28, 2008

    You expect consistency in spelling? :)

  24. #24 Greg Laden
    May 28, 2008

    NO! not at all. I’m just better at speling Clinton’s second name than I am at speling her first name. Like you.

  25. #25 Analiese
    June 3, 2008

    Did you hope I would just “go away”, Greg? ;)
    Sorry, I was on vacation.

    I said earlier that I preferred your ribbing to your flattery; let me amend that now with how I prefer your flattery to your disrespect. Despite that you give no indication of interest in my opinion here and prefer, in an ah-so-Obama-like manner, to dismiss and distract, in the interest of clarity and self-defense I will yet explain where I was coming from.

    With regard to my technical bullshit:
    Back in April, Barack Obama made some stupid comments that alienated a large block of would-be, or could-be, Democrats. Hillary Clinton chose to campaign for them, talking about her personal history, working to give them the sense that they were understood, respected, and a valued constituency. Rather than work on repairing his image with these voters, Obama chose instead to focus on Cinton, and to do so by attacking her character. This is a classically sexist strategy. I would point you to literature here, Greg, but am confident by this point (what after all your belligerent and obfuscating talk of special protection for ovaries) that you wouldn’t read it. Not deeply, anyway.

    Here are Clintons comments on learning to shoot a gun, and on why she thinks guns are important to some people:

    “You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught me how to shoot when I was a little girl. You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It’s part of culture. It’s part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it’s an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter.”

    And here is Obama’s response to her having worked as a candidate to repair the Democrats allegiance with critical voters:

    Shame on her why? She knows better what? Oh yeah, because she was still campaigning, and winning, and that was a problem for Obama (and for you).

    I’m sure that part of my sensitivity to this play of Obama’s is specific to my adoration of Annie Oakley herself (she was my hero, once upon a pigtail) as a champion for women and as one who took a lot of flack for it during her time. She really did know sexism, and slander, and often took it to the courts. But Obama doesn’t refer to that Annie Oakley, no, he makes a caricature of her memory in order to deride his competition rather than face his own idiocy. And then, of course, he says that it’s all just Clinton playing politics. Kind of like how you, Greg, responded to me here.

    What happened to this guy, who seemed to know a thing or two about communicating and engendering support:

    Then again, it’s really Charlie Rose here who gets the “don’t offend ‘em” angle, isn’t it.
    Notice also that it’s men who hunt. Women go to church.

    Responding from the Clinton camp:
    For months, Barack Obama and his campaign have relentlessly attacked Hillary Clinton’s character and integrity by using Republican talking points from the 1990s. The shame is his.
    Sen. Clinton does know better, she knows better than to condescend and talk down to voters like Senator Obama did. Senator Obama’s outburst won’t change the fact that he has embraced his characterization of the millions of Americans who live in small towns.

    I think they’ve got it pretty much right, there.
    With regard to your second point, Greg, that I’m somewhere around a line (that you have defined) with regard to support, let’s just look for a moment at your own words throughout this online debate:
    First was the appearance and steady increase of racist rhetoric coming from Hillary Clinton and some of her supporters.
    Following the race card being played by the Clinton campaign, we then saw a sexism (or anti-feminist) card also being played by Clinton spokespeople.
    Clinton scoring points in her campaign that were harmful to the party’s medium term goal�
    We (or at least I) are/am not interested in pushing Hillary Clinton aside. We just don’t want the Democratic Party to fuck up. Again. As usual.
    Is it OK for Clinton or Obama (but so far this is mainly or exclusively been Clinton) to damage the party’s chances with certain campaign tactics at the primary level?
    That makes me mad at Clinton.
    …a record of her being willing to cross that line of damaging your same-party opponent for the general election.
    Hillary Clinton was not born yesterday and did not enter politics yesterday.
    I like her but for reasons that make me feel a little icky.
    She did not need to go there to make the point.
    I feel that this was a violation of the party loyalty.
    She handed the Republican a sound bite that he can use later in his ad campaign against Obama.
    …an unelectiblity she has herself fostered by stepping outside the party’s own boxing ring…
    So at this point, not only do I think she should get out of the race, I also think she should get out of the Democratic Party.
    Hillary should get out of the race.
    I did not mind her staying in, but then she went over the line and must now go away.
    (Edwards may) help undo the damage Clinton has done with ‘white voters’.
    A 2% victory by Clinton would be a blow to her campaign (but still a win, technically).
    …the other factor is what will it take to get Hillary to go away?
    Even though I originally supported Clinton, I would really like to see Obama win by a few percent causing an upset and ending it.
    Obama is fully qualified to a) be president (which he is) and b) represent the Democratic party (which he is…
    At some point in time, several weeks back, it became numerically Obama’s race, barring highly unlikely events.
    At some point I realized that Obama was going to win the nomination.
    There are Obama supporters who are absolutely foaming at the mouth at Clinton. They will go on and on (totally justified, by the way) about how Clinton is ruining the party, etc. etc. etc. But then if you ask them “OK, but if she’s the nominee, who will you vote for” and they always say “Well, Clinton, she’s the Democrat.”
    Blacks who are voting for Obama are voting for the first viable African American, and they will vote for Clinton if she is the nominee. White males in Virginia voted for Clinton because she, as a woman, was the lesser of two evils.
    …conventional wisdom says that there is a number of percentage points reflecting Clinton’s expected win above which this would truly count as a win for her, and below which it could be perceived as a victory for Obama.
    I”m going to present two models, one moderately favoring a shift towards Obama, and the other strongly favoring a shift towards Obama.
    There is not a magic number above which a Clinton victory is a real win, and below which it is not. There are two. Above X, she kicked ass, below Y, she bombed, such that X is greater than Y by art least a few percentage points.

    Really? Not a single instance of critical thought on the Obama campaign? Oh yeah, that’s because you don’t know of anything worth criticizing there. Despite that I and others have mentioned a few areas of concern, you don’t seem willing to consider those possibilities. At least you’re consistent. But your strategy of “don’t look, don’t tell” with regard to the golden boy (which according to you has been the greatest violation of the Clinton camp and which leads to almost all your vitriol) will not hold for November.

    You sent me an e-card a couple of days ago in which you claimed that we had had a “fight” but not a “disagreement”. I don’t know how you could come to this conclusion, unless you had simply not given any thought to my words here. I have disagreed with you on any number of points; just because you have declined to address them (for instance, your holding my “feet to the fire” without defining what fire though I had asked for clarification there any number of times) does not negate the disagreement. I also wholeheartedly disagree with your first decision to vote in the primary for a candidate who had what you saw as “momentum” despite your claims to feeling that another candidate, Clinton, was the stronger. In fact, you continue to argue that she is the stronger candidate. Why would you do either of those things? I have my ideas, but since you have shown so little interest thus far in those, I’ll leave it at that. Consider yourself.

  26. #26 Greg Laden
    June 3, 2008

    Ana: Really? Not a single instance of critical thought on the Obama campaign? Oh yeah, that’s because you don’t know of anything worth criticizing there. Despite that I and others have mentioned a few areas of concern, you don’t seem willing to consider those possibilities.

    The reason I started posting these posts in this way was to elicit these (and other comments). To give this discussion a place for my eleven (now ten, I suspect) readers to talk about this.

    I have already made it clear that my preferred candidates are a) The Democrat; b) Clinton; c) Obama. Obama’s positions are vacuous and poorly defined. I have not said much about them (virtually nothing as you’ve pointed out) because it is kind of hard to tell what they are.

    I am entitled, when Clinton is scrounging votes, as all politicians (even Obama who’s supporters claim otherwise) do, and going a little over the top, to have a less than loveydovey opinion on that.

    That is more explaining of what I chose to blog or not blog than I care to do, but out of respect, as a matter of ribbing, and by way of flattery, I figure, “what the heck.”

  27. #27 Elizabeth
    June 3, 2008

    Analiese: you claimed that we had had a “fight” but not a “disagreement”. I don’t know how you could come to this conclusion, unless you had simply not given any thought to my words here

    Maybe because you are both in favor of the same candidate? Ana/Analiese, I do not see how you can say that GL is being disrespectful. Almost everyone I read or hear is either rabidly in favor of Clinton or rabidly in favor of Obama. Except Greg who seems to be thinking about the campaign rather than picking sides and vehemently disagreeing with the other side. Myself included in that.

    Greg: I thing there is a very large difference in the amount of vote scrounging being carried out by H.C. vs. B.O. But, as an Obama supporter I admit I may be biased.

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