Talking to the editorial board at the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, Hillary Clinton defended her decision to stay in the Presidential race by saying, “”My husband 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. I don’t understand it.” (NY Post)
The Obama campaign quickly decried the comments, and earlier today Clinton apologized.
However, while the comments were dumb, Clinton likely wasn’t trying to suggest she’s staying in the race because Obama risks being assassinated (or shot backstage at an NRA convention).
Instead, it appears Clinton merely fumbled the argument that further primaries could turn the tide in the campaign, such as Bobby Kennedy did against Eugene McCarthy in California in June, 1968. Just after giving a victory speech for a win that many believe cemented his nomination, Kennedy was shot and killed.
But California’s primary is no longer in January – it happened almost four months ago. So why is Clinton making the comparison now? Even if its a general statement that remaining states could give her an edge, the numbers don’t bode well: the two remaining primaries on June 3rd in Montana and Dakota have 31 delegate votes between them… even if Clinton were to win all of these, she’ll still have less than Obama.
Clinton’s comments are sloppy, if not boggling. I can’t imagine she was suggesting she needs to stay in the race just in case Obama were assassinated.