Hillary Clinton's remark on Robert Kennedy’s assassination as a reason why she is staying in the race stirs uproar.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton defended staying in the Democratic nominating contest on Friday by pointing out that . . . “We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.”
[T]he comments touched on one of the most sensitive aspects of the current presidential campaign — concern for Mr. Obama’s safety. And they come as Democrats [NOT THIS DEMOCRAT] have been talking increasingly of an Obama/Clinton ticket, with friends of the Clintons saying that Bill Clinton is musing about the possibility that the vice presidency might be his wife’s best path to the presidency if she loses the nomination.
Concerns about Mr. Obama’s safety led the Secret Service to give him protection last May, before it was afforded to any other presidential candidate, although Mrs. Clinton had protection, too, in her capacity as a former first lady.
Friday was not the first time Mrs. Clinton referred to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in such a context. In March, she told Time magazine [essentially the same thing].
And from The Washington Post under the headline "Hillary Clinton Raises the Specter of the Unspeakable."
Smart candidates don't invoke the possibility of their opponents being killed. This seems so obvious it shouldn't need to be said, but apparently, it needs to be said.
There are taboos in presidential politics, and this is one of the biggest. To raise the specter of a rival's assassination, even unintentionally, is to make a truly terrible thing real. It sounds like one might be waiting for a terrible thing to happen, even if one isn't. It sounds almost like wishful thinking.
The fear of a president or a presidential candidate being shot or assassinated is horrifying precisely because recent history teaches us that it can happen. We don't need anybody to remind us, and we certainly don't need anybody to remind whatever suggestible wackos might be lurking in the shadows.
In the context of Obama, Clinton's words broke a double taboo, because since the beginning of his candidacy, some of Obama's supporters have feared that his race made him more of a target than other presidential hopefuls. Obama was placed under Secret Service protection early, a full year ago. To be unaware that one's words tap into a monumental fear that exists in a portion of the electorate -- a fear that Obama's race could get him killed -- is an unusual mistake for a serious and highly disciplined presidential candidate.
It's surprising, too, because something very similar just happened last week, when Mike Huckabee made a joke at an NRA convention about somebody aiming a gun at Obama. He later apologized and called his remarks "offensive."
Another story in The Washington Post notes that her comment "cooled speculation that the two may form a joint ticket for the general election."