Hillary Used the Word “Assassination” in 2008 Campaign against Obama

Words matter, my friends. And if you are running to be president, or you are president of the United States, words can have tremendous consequences.

Hillary Clinton, August 10, 2016

The corporate media (CM) is once again slinging mud at Donald Trump over his comments at a South Carolina rally. Hillary’s campaign joined in the claim that he encouraged violence against her. But Trump said nothing about violence. Absolutely nothing.1

On the other hand in 2008, Hillary Clinton used the term “assassination” directed at Barack Obama. She used it to justify remaining in the race long after her chances had evaporated. That is “forgotten” now by the CM amidst their unremitting attacks on Trump.

Let us remind ourselves. It was May of 2008. Hillary had no hopes of winning the nomination since Obama had secured the delegates he needed. Many in the media were asking why she insisted on staying in the race.

In an interview with the editorial board of a South Dakota paper, the Argus Leader, on May 23, she was asked why she was hanging on. It made no sense said the editors. In answer Clinton said that she was being pressured to drop out and that it was “a mystery” to her why that pressure was being applied.

She went on to say that assassination might yet occur in the presidential race, referring to Robert Kennedy, thus: “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.”

There is little that is ambiguous about that. She used the “a” word, “assassination.” The YouTube recording of the interview can be found here. The comment drew widespread criticism at the time, including from Obama himself and many in the media.

Nor was Hillary’s use of the “a” word a one time event like Trump’s, easily put down to a gaffe. She used it again as Jeffrey St. Claire of CounterPunch reminds us:

During an interview with Richard Stengel, managing editor of TIME magazine, Hillary was asked why she was staying in the race. ‘I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer,’ Hillary said. ‘We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A.’

Hillary would do well to recall those words when she now tells us on August 10: “Words matter, my friends. And if you are running to be president, or you are president of the United States, words can have tremendous consequences.”

And it is well to remember the atmosphere in those days of 2008. There was much alarm in some quarters – not deserved as it turns out – about the upstart African American, and some feared for his life. The Clintons played on this with Bill urging Dems to vote for his wife, because Obama could not win the general race against the Republican. The unstated reason was that Obama could not win because he was Black. So the Clintons helped to create a racially incendiary situation and then Hillary herself tossed a match into it – no, two matches, at least. No matter how you might take Trump’s lone statement with no reference to violence, it pales next to the devious bloodthirstiness of the Clintons. Once again Trump emerges as the “lesser evil” in this respect.

Among the most devastating comments on Hillary’s remarks in South Dakota was that of Keith Olbermann on MSNBC here. It is well worth a listen since it makes clear just how many racial sores were opened by Clinton’s comments on assassination at the time.

But that only touches the surface of the Clinton hypocrisy in this case. This is the politician who has been the ardent supporter or architect of serial wars on Serbia, Iraq, Libya, and now Syria. The numbers of people, mostly people of color, killed in those wars number well over a million now, with many millions more driven from their homes or harmed. That is on top of the sanctions on Iraq initiated in the Clinton co-presidency, as they called it, and which took hundreds of thousands of lives, 500,000 children among them.

This is the politician whose campaign now says that “violence” has no place in a presidential campaign. Let us remember that as part of this campaign Hillary promises to continue the neoconservative policies that have cost so many lives and have drawn leading neoconservatives like Robert Kagan to leave the GOP and support her. Her policies will surely lead in the future to violence of the most massive kind.

That should remind us of the unrestrained bellicosity of Hillary Clinton, and the danger that it poses to human civilization and human survival. It should remind us that if she is elected president the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is sure to move their clock that much close to the midnight of nuclear devastation.

This reminder of Hillary’s hypocrisy did not appear in the CM nor in most of the “alternative” media, CounterPunch excepted, during the present flap over her charges against Trump. It first came to my attention on RT. It is one more reminder why we must turn to alternative sources beyond the reach of the imperial US media to get the entire truth. The level of censorship and distortion in the CM has now reached epic proportions, most notably with the treatment of the Trump campaign, for example in the New York Times.

  1. Trump said: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” There is no mention of assassination or violence, a stark contrast to Hillary’s statement in 2008. To make that perfectly clear, Trump later tweeted in response to the attacks:

    “Media desperate to distract from Clinton’s anti-2A stance. I said pro-2A citizens must organize and get out vote to save our Constitution!”10:21 PM – 9 Aug 2016 []

John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar@gmail.com. He writes about issues of war, peace and empire, and about health care, for Antiwar.com, Consortium News, Dissident Voice.org and other outlets. Now living in the East Bay, he was until recently Professor of Physiology and Cellular Neuroscience at a Massachusetts Medical School. He can be reached at Read other articles by John V..