Column: Clinton Sabotaged Campaign With RFK Comment

This story was written by Thomas Wachtel, Indiana Daily Student

Last week, Hillary Clinton did exactly the opposite of what she needed to do in order to have a shot at the Democratic nomination. She needed opponent Barack Obama to slip up, to say something offensive or stupid, to somehow sabotage his own campaign at the last second. Instead, Clinton was the one shooting herself in the foot.As you almost definitely know, Clinton implied accidentally or otherwise that part of the reason why she was remaining in the primary race was because there was a possibility that a race-changing event might occur. You know, something simple like Obama being shot to death.She used Robert Kennedys June California primary win in 1968 and subsequent assassination to try to make the point that this years ultra-marathon was not that unusual.There are several facets of this characterization that are bothersome. First of all, its hard to buy the idea that Clinton misspoke, or that she didnt realize mentioning assassination when her opponent has been compared in one way or another to John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. is a really bad idea.Clintons entire campaign has been based around bludgeoning the public with her experience and her 600 years of political knowledge. If shes ready to lead on day one, then she should know better. And she does. If she was not consciously trying to put the possibility of Obamas death into the public mind, she would have mentioned RFKs campaign in California, not his assassination. Or she might have mentioned one of the other long campaigns shes supposedly using as inspiration.Now, though, Clintons campaign is accusing Obamas of blowing a nonissue up into the death of Hillary Clinton and fanning the flames of a controversy that doesnt exist. Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of Clintons campaign and one of my favorite people ever, claimed that Obamas people ... tried to take these words out of context.Fanning the flames of controversy? Taking words out of context? Im sorry, has McAuliffe been in the woods for the past couple of months? Perhaps he missed the bombardment aimed at Obama over Jeremiah Wright? Besides that, theres been very little out of the Obama camp about the Kennedy reference, aside from the candidate himself saying he didnt think it was that big of a deal. Most of the outrage has been coming from the media.The point is that, really, both sides here are right. Its safe to assume Hillary Clinton wasnt trying to send a signal to her supporters that shed put out a bounty on Obama. But she really shouldnt be using political assassination as a part of her reasoning for staying in the race. But theres a history of assassination in this country from the Kennedys to Reagan, from Lincoln to the Roosevelts and a history of racially motivated murder. This is really a subject that would be best left alone, even in desperation or by accident.