Though she has now apologized for that very strange and tasteless comment to the Argus-Leader, this was not the first time she’s said it. This from her interview with TIME Managing Editor Richard Stengel, published 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.
Her excuse now is that the Kennedys have been “much on my mind these days” with the illness of Senator Edward Kennedy, but that doesn’t explain what brought it to mind more than two months ago.
UPDATE: H/T to commenter Elvis Elvisberg, who notes that even the reference to her own husband’s campaign was wrong. Bill Clinton’s primary race was effectively over in March.
UPDATE2: Last night on NewsHour, Mark Shields pointed out something else that is misleading about Clinton’s comparison of this race to 1968. RFK’s candidacy was not a long, drawn-out one, as you might believe from Clinton’s suggestion:
MARK SHIELDS: I think it was, at the best, totally reckless. I mean, her history is absolutely faulty. Robert Kennedy’s first primary, Ray, was in May 7th of 1968. He was murdered four weeks later. She’s talking about a long campaign.
This campaign began the first week in January. She’s still talking about June. So, I mean, it’s faulty there.
Here’s the text of RFK’s March 16, 1968 announcement speech, which came only after the New Hampshire primary earlier that month (how late that seems now) in which Eugene McCarthy came surprisingly close to beating LBJ. This is how RFK explained his decision to enter the race so late:
The remarkable New Hampshire campaign of Senator Eugene McCarthy has proven how deep are the present divisions within our party and within our country. Until that was publicly clear, my presence in the race would have been seen as a clash of personalities rather than issues.