Responding to a question from the We all remember was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don't understand it," she said, dismissing the idea of abandoning the race.editorial board about calls for her to drop out of the race, she said: "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right?
The response has been as any reasonable person might expect.
Even the statement about her husband campaigning to June of 1992 is false. Though he did not have had enough delegates to be the nominee until June, all of his meaningful opponents had dropped out and the race was basically over by early March. The 'campaigning' after that was for the general election.
Her statement that Bill Clinton was still campaigning in the primary in June, like the sniper fire episode in Bosnia, is just more historical revisionism.
But this -- what she said today as rationale for remaining in a contest she cannot win any other way -- was nothing short of inexcusable. It breaks down like this: if she had no malignant intent, then she is clearly not poised enough to be President. If she meant what it sounded like she meant, she is no one to be defended.
Imagine for a moment what the uproar would have been if the roles were reversed and Barack Obama had said: "I want to be Hillary's vice president, because, you know, JFK was assassinated in office."
One positive that I can see from all this: Obama has been freed of the burden of making Hillary his vice-presidential pick. He probably has been under a lot of pressure from party insiders to select her for the sake of unity. But after these comments, no one is going to hold it against him if he doesn't.
(As I post this Keith Olbermann is about to say it, in one of his Special Comments, better than any of the rest of us ever do. I'll update this post with it once it's online.)
"I was discussing the Democratic primary history, and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns both my husband and Senator Kennedy waged California in June in 1992 and 1968," she said in Brandon, South Dakota. "I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nomination primary contests that go into June. That's a historic fact.
"The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy. I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive, I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever."
"My view is that we have to look to the past and to our leaders who have inspired us and give us a lot to live up to and I'm honored to hold Senator Kennedy's seat in the United States Senate in the state of New York and have the highest regard for the entire Kennedy family."
Thanks. Not a word about the inappropriateness of referencing assassination. Not a word about the inappropriateness of implying - whether it was intended or not - that she was hanging around waiting for somebody to try something terrible.
Not a word about Senator Obama.
Not: I'm sorry.
Not: I apologize.
Not: I blew it.
Not: please forgive me.
God knows, Senator, in this campaign, this nation has had to forgive you, early and often. And despite your now traditional position of the offended victim, the nation has forgiven you.
We have forgiven you your insistence that there have been widespread calls for you to end your campaign, when such calls had been few. We have forgiven you your misspeaking about Martin Luther King's relative importance to the Civil Rights movement.
We have forgiven you your misspeaking about your under-fire landing in Bosnia.
We have forgiven you insisting Michigan's vote wouldn't count and then claiming those who would not count it were Un-Democratic.
We have forgiven you pledging to not campaign in Florida and thus disenfranchise voters there, and then claim those who stuck to those rules were as wrong as those who defended slavery or denied women the vote.
We have forgiven you the photos of Osama Bin Laden in an anti-Obama ad.
We have forgiven you fawning over the fairness of Fox News while they were still calling you a murderer.
We have forgiven you accepting Richard Mellon Scaife's endorsement and then laughing as you described his "deathbed conversion."
We have forgiven you quoting the electoral predictions of Karl Rove.
We have forgiven you the 3 a.m. Phone Call commercial.
We have forgiven you President Clinton's disparaging comparison of the Obama candidacy to Jesse Jackson's.
We have forgiven you Geraldine Ferraro's national radio interview suggesting Obama would not still be in the race had he been a white man.
We have forgiven you the dozen changing metrics and the endless self-contradictions of your insistence that your nomination is mathematically probable rather than a statistical impossibility.
We have forgiven you your declaration of some primary states as counting and some as not.
We have forgiven you exploiting Jeremiah Wright in front of the editorial board of the lunatic-fringe Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
We have forgiven you exploiting William Ayers in the debate on ABC.
We have forgiven you for boasting of your "support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans".
We have even forgiven you repeatedly praising Senator McCain at Senator Obama's expense, and your own expense, and the Democratic ticket's expense.
But Senator, we cannot forgive you this.
"You know, 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."
We cannot forgive you this -- not because it is crass and low and unfeeling and brutal.
This is unforgivable, because this nation's deepest shame, its most enduring horror, its most terrifying legacy, is political assassination.
Lincoln. Garfield. McKinley. Kennedy. Martin Luther King. Robert Kennedy.
And, but for the grace of the universe or the luck of the draw: Reagan, Ford, Truman, Nixon, Andrew Jackson, both Roosevelts, even George Wallace.
The politics of this nation is steeped enough in blood, Senator Clinton, you cannot and must not invoke that imagery! Anywhere! At any time!
And to not appreciate, immediately - to still not appreciate tonight - just what you have done, is to reveal an incomprehension of the America you seek to lead.
This, Senator, is too much.
Because a senator - a politician - a person - who can let hang in mid-air the prospect that she might just be sticking around in part, just in case the other guy gets shot - has no business being, and no capacity to be, the President of the United States.