Sunday, January 20, 2013

RFK's "Only the powers of the Presidency" Quote

There has been some controversy over whether or not RFK, while campaigning in California on June 3, 1968, said that "only the powers of the Presidency will reveal the secrets of my brother's death." 

[Many thanks to Tom Scully for compiling these references and links] 

The assassination please almanac - Page 148
"I now fully realize that only the powers of the presidency will reveal the secrets of my brother's death." —ROBERT F. KENNEDY to several students at San Fernando Valley State College, June 3, 1968

Warren HinckleWilliam W. Turner - 1981
now fully realize that only the powers of the Presidency will reveal the secrets of my brother's death. — ROBERT KENNEDY, June 3, 1968, two days before he was shot

Anthony Summers - 1981 - Former Attorney General Robert Kennedy was reported as saying, two days before his own assassination in 1968, "I now fully realize that only the powers of the Presidency will reveal the secrets of my brother's death."

Questions for William Turner and Mort Sahl in re a Garrison/RFK Meeting
As noted in an earlier thread:

In his presentation at "Making Sense of the Sixties," this year's Cyril Wecht-sponsored symposium at Duquesne, William Turner offered the following:

"In May 1968 RFK's California campaign aide, Richard Lubic, tracked me down by phone in [Jim] Garrison's office to advise, 'after he's elected, [Bobby Kennedy] is going to go. He's going to reopen the investigation [of JFK's death].' When I conveyed the glad tidings Garrison broke into a Cheshire cat grin.

Milwaukee Journal - Mar 26, 1968
Robert Kennedy took his campaign to Oregon Tuesday, encouraged by cheers and ... An estimated 12000 stu dents and older persons jammed theSan Fernando ...

Robert F. Kennedy at San Fernando Valley State College, introduced by Jesse Unruh. Speech to students on campus during his Presidential campaign, shortly .

I suspect David Lifton is confusing his recollection of RFK's speech at San Fernando Valley State in March with comments attributed to RFK in early June, only to a few San Fernando Valley students. Of course, McAdams loved the opportunity to push this.:

.....In 1984, John Davis book---THE KENNEDYS---appeared. His chapter 55 ("The Mysteries") closed with the following passage:

"Robert Kennedy's sense of guilt must have been overwhelming. There was no way he could expiate that guilt. However, if he were to become President, it was conceivable he could make up, at least in part, for what happened to Jack, and might even be in a position to uncover and punish those who were responsible for his brother's assassination. 'I now fully realize,' he told an audience of students at San Fernando State College on June 3, 1968, that only the powers of the Presidency will reveal the secrets of my brother's death.' Three days later he himself was dead, the victim also of an assassin's bullet." (pp. 602-603, paperback).

David Lifton wrote: Oh really. Is that what RFK said? Well, Pat Lambert, my long time friend, was there, when the questioning of RFK occurred, and she didn't hear any such thing; and exactly the opposite was broadcast, repeatedly, by the media. And I can assure you that had RFK said any such thing, it would have been major news---major national news."

So....over a span of at least 19 years, David Lifton appears still able to confuse two descriptions of when and what was said by RFK, and still command an audience for what appear to be his erroneous and confused recollection. He does qualify what he is about to say, but people read it and re-post it as if it is meaningful.
Wednesday, Sep 15, 2004 02:38 PM EDT

.....On March 25, during a presidential campaign rally at San Fernando Valley State College in California, Kennedy was dramatically confronted by a woman heckler, who called out, “We want to know who killed President Kennedy!” Kennedy responded by saying, “I stand by the Warren Commission Report.” But at a later campaign appearance, days before his assassination, Bobby Kennedy said the opposite, according to his former press spokesman Frank Mankiewicz. When asked if he would reopen the investigation into his brother’s death, he uttered a simple, one-word answer: “Yes.” Mankiewicz recalls today, “I remember that I was stunned by the answer. It was either like he was suddenly blurting out the truth, or it was a way to shut down the questioning — you know, ‘Yes, now let’s move on.’”

And Talbot is consistent with this.:

Boston Globe - Mar 26, 1968
Robert F. Kennedy on Monday evoked cheers and thundering applause as he addressed a crowd of about 12000 at San Fernando Valley State College. ...time but that If became President would not reopen the Warren Report Nobody is more ...

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