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I wonder if Hillary Clinton could even name the Obama children. Barack is too classy to suggest she needs to apologize because Malia Ann (age 10) and Natasha ("Sasha" age 7) might find out that she brought up the chance that "Daddy might get killed".
The Daily News featured her OpEd ("Why I continue to run"), which provided her a second chance to apologize to Barack Obama and his family. She didn’t. According to Terry McAuliffe and Howard Wolfson, she has no reason to do so:
Asked if Clinton has personally called Obama to apologize for the
reference, McAuliffe said she has not, "nor should she." He added,
"Let’s be clear. This had nothing to with Senator Obama or his
Appearing on CBS’s "Face the Nation", Clinton senior strategist Howard
Wolfson said McAuliffe is "absolutely right" that Clinton didn’t want
to apologize to Obama for the remark and said: "I think it was
unfortunate to attack Senator Clinton’s remarks without knowing fully
what she had said." LINK
In my previous column (here) I wrote that I am a psychotherapist who believes in the unconscious, and that I believe that some choices of words which one later regrets saying are representative of unconscious wishes too unaccepatble to reach one’s conscious awareness.
I don’t condemn Hillary for having this unconscious fantasy if indeed she does. She’s human. You may have the unconscious wish that your beloved wealthy aunt dies and leaves you a fortune but that doesn’t mean you want it to happen.
I rather doubt Hillary Clinton has ever undergone psychoanalysis or spends much time wondering about her unconscious mind. I’d be surprised she ever awakens from a puzzling dream at 3:00 A.M. and makes a mental note to try to figure out in the morning if it had any hidden meanings she could learn about herself from.
I see Barack Obama as a more self-reflective person as his first book ("Dreams from My Father") suggests. But that’s the subject of another yet to be written column.
I wrote about this before but want to emphasize it again now that Clinton has had the opportunity on reflection to grasp that she said something that has an impact on the Obama family as well as the Kennedys.
This is what I suggest Hillary could had said if she had any sense of empathy for the Obamas. This includes not just a mea culpa, but an explanation far more difficult than the one she gave to the Kennedy’s about the family being on her mind. In these instances apologies without sincere and honest explanations are empty words.
When I initially apologized for bringing up Robert Kennedy in my attempt to illustrate how some hard fought campaigns historically went into June, it was a history lesson best left untaught under these circumstances. I do not need an historic precedent to bolster my case to continue to run and I am ashamed to admit I was insensitive.
I deeply regret even uttering the word which must have boiled up from my unconscious, because I am only human and obviously it lurks there in my mind as a horrendous possibility, as it must for any politician.
I feel I owe Barack and Michelle Obama and their family as much of an apology as I gave to the Kennedy’s. After all, he is the one who now has to explain about this to his children, should they hear of this on the news or from friends. I can’t imagine how he will explain why someone who I am sure he has told them is a good person even though she is running against him would bring up something so frightening and terrible.
In the cold hard light of self-evaluation I realized that after competing against Senator Obama all these months I saw him as more the formidable opponent than the vulnerable human being.
Politics is unfortunately often a fight where you are so focused on trying to exploit your rival’s weaknesses you forget they are humans beings with feelings and families. I know how I have felt when my own daughter Chelsea has been attacked.
I can only ask the Obamas and the American people to accept this belated apology for uttering a word that is so fraught with horror.
I am deeply ashamed for being so caught up in the battle when I initially apologized to the Kennedys that I neglected to appreciate the power of that word to cause emotional pain to the Obamas as well.
Andrew Sullivan, whose opinion I have always respected makes a similar point although he doesn’t mention the children:
Now, even if all this was completely unintentional – and we should
see this as just a very unfortunate slip of the tongue – the apology
made it an issue. She owed an apology to Obama but more so to Michelle
Obama, a woman who has to live with this fear all the time. And yet
Clinton could only apologize to the Kennedys. This tells us a great
deal about someone’s character. Clinton has no class and no grace and a
narcissist’s understanding of others’ pain.