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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rev. Al Sharpton urges Hillary Clinton: Watch what you say

Cool it with the assassination talk, the Rev. Al Sharpton warned Saturday.

Sharpton said he spoke to Hillary Clinton Saturday morning about her recent reference to the assassination of Robert Kennedy - "and she understands my feelings firmly."

Her team did not immediately divulge the details of their chat.

Clinton raised eyebrows - and drew a rebuke from rival Barack Obama's campaign - by recalling Kennedy's 1968 killing while defending her determination to keep running against Barack Obama.

"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," she told South Dakota Argus Leader's editorial board Friday. "I don't understand it."

Clinton later apologized for the remark, saying she meant no disrespect to the Kennedy family. Instead, she said, she was only pointing out that other presidential campaigns had run into the summer, so she should not be pressured to withdraw.

Daily News readers erupted over her assassination comment on nydailynews. com.

"How disgusting!!!!!!! Hillary has hit rock-bottom," wrote one.

"[She] did Obama a favor, now he does not even have to consider her for the V.P. spot," another commented.

Others rushed to her defense.

"To imply that Sen. Clinton is staying in the Democratic presidential race because she believes that Barack Obama will be assassinated, just as Bobby Kennedy was in 1968, is sick and disgusting," one noted.

Sharpton told listeners to his radio show that he believed neither Clinton nor former GOP candidate Mike Huckabee, who wisecracked about someone pointing a gun at Obama during a National Rifle Association speech, had ill intentions.

"I don't believe either candidate meant it when they said it, but I do believe if you strike a match in a flammable environment, you run the danger of something catching fire," Sharpton said. "I'm asking them to be careful how they handle their matchbook."

Botched references to the Kennedy assassination can easily be "exploited" by "kooks" who want to undermine a candidacy, said Sharpton

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