Friday “might have been one of the worst days of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s political career. Her campaign, as everyone knows, was already struggling,” writes The New York Times’ The Caucus.  

But on Friday, she made a reference to Bobby Kennedy’s assassination — a “terrible choice of phrase in a presidential campaign that features an African-American candidate.”

The Caucus offers a fascinating account of the day the story broke from Katharine Q. Seelye, a reporter travelling with Hillary’s press pack. And while dropping the word “assassination” cannot be construed as anything other than unfortunate — the paper makes the point that The Argus Leader would provide perhaps the only thorough account of what the Senator actually said on the stump throughout the day.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has endorsed Mrs Clinton, told The NY Times that he did not take offence at the comment, and he soon issued a statement to that effect. But the damage was done. Especially once Keith Olbermann and his furrowed brow weighed in.

“After a day like Friday, it is hard to imagine how she keeps going, not just with her campaign, but emotionally. Even if she wanted to let off steam, she can’t, at least in public,” writes Seelye. “The question is, did this episode alienate those who would have helped her to find a graceful way out.”

Meanwhile, Hillary has written an explanation in The New York Daily News: “I was deeply dismayed and disturbed that my comment would be construed in a way that flies in the face of everything I stand for — and everything I am fighting for in this election.”

But is anyone listening?

Hillary in her own words. I want to set the record straight: I was making the simple point that given our history, the length of this year’s primary contest is nothing unusual. Both the executive editor of the newspaper where I made the remarks, and Sen. Kennedy’s son, Bobby Kennedy Jr., put out statements confirming that this was the clear meaning of my remarks. Bobby stated, “I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense.” — Hillary Clinton, The New York Daily News

A bit of perspective please. The signature defect of modern political journalism is that it has shredded the ideal of proportionality. Important stories, sometimes the product of months of serious reporting, that in an earlier era would have captured the attention of the entire political-media community and even redirected the course of a presidential campaign, these days can disappear with barely a whisper. — Politico

More nerdy Monty Pythonness. Political junkies are sometimes nerds. So it’s not especially surprising that, as the presidential race drags on, we’d start seeing more and more Monty Python analogies. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, for example, recently referenced the famous “dead parrot” sketch when writing about Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Now, some supporters of Barack Obama’s have taken a page from the Python movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and recast the film’s legendary Black Knight as Hillary Clinton — Salon.

On oil. before we start suing distant sheikhs in exotic lands for violating the NOPEC act, why don’t we start by suing Congress? After all, who “limits the production or distribution of oil” right here in the United States by declaring that there’ll be no drilling in the Gulf of Florida or the Arctic National Mosquito Refuge? As Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz herself told Neil Cavuto on Fox News, “We can’t drill our way out of this problem.” Well, maybe not. But maybe we could drill our way back to three-and-a-quarter per gallon. — Mark Steyn, NRO

A lobbying labyrinth. Rick Davis, the manager of Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, is a typical Washington insider in many ways, having long worked as both a lobbyist and a political operative along the intersection of politics, policy and money. Now Mr. Davis is overseeing new lobbyist-related guidelines that the campaign has issued in an effort to safeguard Mr. McCain’s reputation as an opponent of special interests. The plan, among other things, bars “registered” lobbyists, those who must file disclosure reports listing their clients, from working on the campaign. — Barry Meir, The New York Times

Nobody mention the President please. President Bush is scaling back next week’s fundraising swings for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at the request of the campaign, which wants the events closed to the press, POLITICO has learned. The change — in both Arizona and Utah — is part of McCain’s delicate effort to find the balance between embracing an unpopular president and taking advantage of his huge continuing draw with well-heeled Republicans. The Arizona event, which was to be at the Phoenix Convention Center, was the first time Bush was to have appeared with McCain since their White House meeting in March. — Politico

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.