I’m coming to the conclusion that maybe this RFK thing isn’t quite as venal as it appeared at first glance.
Clinton first trotted out this line on March 6:
TIME: Can you envision a point at which–if the race stays this close–Democratic Party elders would step in and say, “This is now hurting the party and whoever will be the nominee in the fall”?
CLINTON: No, I really can’t. I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn’t wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual.
That was one day after Jeffrey Toobin made the same point on Larry King on March 5:
L. KING: Jeffrey Toobin, it is a ding dong race, isn’t it?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, there’s never been a political race anything like this in any of our lifetimes. Yes, many races have gone on longer. In fact, most political primaries have gone on longer. They often been resolved in June with the California primary, whether Bill Clinton in ’92 or George McGovern in ’72 or the — in 1968, of course, was when Robert Kennedy was assassination in June, at the end of the California primary.
Looking at this as generously as possible (Why? Because she’s not this stupid.) it seems at least plausible that she found herself watching Larry King one night a couple of months ago. She regurgitated Toobin’s friendly analysis the next day in an interview with Time, and then had the same nugget burble to the surface today in South Dakota.
Not that it mitigates the impact, but it’s certainly more plausible than the “I’ve been thinking about Teddy” excuse.