Obama Accepts Clinton Account of RFK Remark

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton quickly apologized after citing the June 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy as a reason to remain in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination despite increasingly long odds. Video by AP
Sunday, May 25, 2008

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, May 24 -- Sen. Barack Obama told a Puerto Rican radio station Saturday that he takes Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at her word when she said she meant no harm by invoking Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's assassination in speaking about the current Democratic presidential race.

"I have learned that, when you are campaigning for as many months as Senator Clinton and I have been campaigning, sometimes you get careless in terms of the statements that you make, and I think that is what happened here," Obama (D-Ill.) told Radio Isla in his first public comments about the remark. "Senator Clinton says that she did not intend any offense by it, and I will take her at her word on that."

Clinton (D-N.Y.) told a South Dakota newspaper Friday that history pointed to primary results changing course in the summer, citing her husband's campaign in 1992 and the 1968 race, when, she said, "we all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California." The statement ignited a firestorm, particularly in light of lingering concerns about Obama's safety on the campaign trail. Her aides said she meant only to refer to examples of primary season running into June.

Later, she said the Kennedys had been on her mind since Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's brain tumor was reported. She expressed regret if her comment "was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that."

-- Alec MacGillis

© 2008 The Washington Post Company