Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign, 1968
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Robert Kennedy for President 1968|
|Campaign||U.S. presidential election, 1968|
|Candidate||Robert F. Kennedy
U.S. Senator from New York
U.S. Attorney General
|Status||Announced: March 16, 1968
Ended: June 6, 1968.
The Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign began on March 16, 1968. Robert Francis Kennedy, a U.S. Senator from New York who won a Senate seat in 1964, faced what was widely considered an unrealistic race against an incumbent, President Lyndon B. Johnson. After Johnson's announcement on March 31 that he would not seek re-election, Kennedy still faced Johnson's leading challenger, Eugene McCarthy, a U.S. Senator from Minnesota, and Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who entered the race following Johnson's withdrawal, for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Kennedy and McCarthy remained the main challengers to Humphrey and the policies of the Johnson administration. Throughout the spring of 1968, Kennedy campaigned in presidential primary elections, especially those in Indiana, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, California, and Washington, D.C. He had made progress in achieving Democratic support for the nomination until his assassination on June 5, 1968, in Los Angeles, California.
- 1 Announcement
- 2 Positions
- 3 Results
- 4 Assassination
- 5 Relationships with people and groups
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
Kennedy was a late entry in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 1968. By late 1967 Kennedy had not made a decision, even under pressure from his political advisors who feared time to announce a candidacy was running out. Kennedy and his advisors knew it would not be easy to beat the incumbent president Lyndon Johnson. However, Kennedy had not ruled out entering the race. Following U.S. Senator Eugene McCarthy's announcement on November 30, 1967, of his intention to run against Johnson for the Democratic nomination, Kennedy remarked to U.S. Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, "I'm worried about you and other people making early commitment to him because it may be hard for all of us later on." At a breakfast with reporters at the National Press Club on January 30, 1968, Kennedy still indicated that he had no plans to run, but a few weeks later he had changed his mind about entering the race.
After the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, in early February 1968, Kennedy received a letter from writer Pete Hamill (later acclaimed author of the novel Snow in August). Hamill wrote an anguished letter to Kennedy noting that poor people in the Watts area of Los Angeles hung pictures of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, in their homes and that Robert Kennedy had the "obligation of staying true to whatever it was that put those pictures on those walls." Other factors led Kennedy into the presidential race as well. On February 29, 1968, the Kerner Commission's report on racial unrest in American cities during the previous summer blamed "white racism" for the violence, but its findings were largely dismissed by the Johnson administration. Concerned about the president's policies and actions, Kennedy remarked to his advisor, historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., "How can we possibly survive five more years of Lyndon Johnson?" To complicate his decision, Kennedy's friends, political advisors, and family members disagreed on whether he should run. While his wife Ethel supported the idea, Kennedy's brother, Ted, initially opposed, but offered his support when the decision was finally made to enter the race.
By late February or early March, 1968, Kennedy had made the decision to enter the race for president. On March 10, Kennedy traveled to California, to meet with civil rights activist César Chávez, who was ending a 25-day hunger strike. En route to California, Kennedy told his aide, Peter Edelman, that he had decided to run, "now I have to figure out how to get McCarthy out of it." The weekend before the New Hampshire primary, Kennedy announced to several aides that he would run if he could persuade little-known Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota to withdraw from the presidential race. Kennedy agreed to McCarthy's request to delay an announcement of his intentions until after the New Hampshire primary. On March 12, after Johnson won an astonishingly narrow victory in the New Hampshire primary against McCarthy, who polled 42 percent of the vote, Kennedy knew it would be unlikely that the Minnesota senator would agree to withdraw and moved forward with his plans.
On March 16, Kennedy declared, "I am today announcing my candidacy for the presidency of the United States. I do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done, and I feel that I'm obliged to do all I can." Kennedy made this announcement from the same spot in the Senate Caucus Room where John F. Kennedy announced his presidential candidacy in January 1960. McCarthy supporters angrily denounced Kennedy as an opportunist. With Kennedy joining the race, liberal Democrats thought that the votes among supporters of the anti-war movement would now be split between McCarthy and Kennedy.
On March 31, during a televised speech where President Johnson announced a halt to the bombing of Vietnam and called for peace negotiations with the North Vietnamese, he stunned the nation by dropping out of the presidential race. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, long a champion of labor unions and civil rights, entered the race on April 27 with the support of the party "establishment," including the Democratic members of Congress, mayors, governors, and labor unions. Humphrey announced his candidacy too late to formally enter most of the primaries, although he was a write-in candidate in some of the contests, but he did have the support of the president and many Democratic insiders, which gave him a better chance at gaining convention delegates in the non-primary states. In contrast, Kennedy, like his brother before him, planned to win the nomination through popular support in the primaries. Because Democratic party leaders would influence delegate selection and convention votes, Kennedy's strategy was to influence the decision-makers with crucial wins in the primary elections as it did in 1960, when John F. Kennedy beat Hubert Humphrey in the West Virginia democratic primary.
Kennedy delivered his first campaign speech on March 18 at Kansas State University, where he had previously agreed to give a lecture honoring former Kansas governor and Republican Alfred Landon. At Kansas State, Kennedy drew a "record-setting crowd of 14,500 students" for his Landon Lecture, who heard him apologize as he attacked President Johnson's Vietnam policy. "I was involved in many of the early decisions on Vietnam, decisions which helped set us on our present path." He went on to acknowledge, "But past error is not excuse for its own perpetration." Later that day at the University of Kansas, where an audience of 19,000 was among the largest in the university's history, Kennedy remarked, "I don't think that we have to shoot each other, to beat each other, to curse each other and criticize each other, I think that we can do better in this country. And that is why I run for President of the United States." From Kansas, Kennedy went on to campaign in the Democratic primaries in Indiana, Washington, D.C., Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, and California.
Kennedy stood on a platform of racial equality and economic justice, non-aggression in foreign policy, decentralization of power and social improvement. A crucial element to his campaign was an engagement with the young, whom he identified as being the future of a reinvigorated American society based on partnership and social equality.
Kennedy's policy objectives did not sit well with the business world, where he was viewed as something of a fiscal liability. They were opposed to the tax increases necessary to fund Kennedy's proposed social programs. At one of his university speeches (Indiana University Medical School) he was asked, "Where are we going to get the money to pay for all these new programs you're proposing?" Kennedy replied to the medical students, about to enter lucrative careers, "From you." It was this intense and frank mode of dialogue with which Kennedy was to continue to engage with those whom he viewed as not being traditional allies of Democratic ideals or initiatives.
Kennedy expressed the commitment of his brother's administration to civil rights during a 1961 speech at the University of Georgia Law School: "We will not stand by or be aloof—we will move. I happen to believe that the 1954 [Supreme Court school desegregation] decision was right. But my belief does not matter. It is now the law. Some of you may believe the decision was wrong. That does not matter. It is the law."
In 1961, Attorney General Robert Kennedy authorized the FBI in a written directive to wiretap civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr under the auspice of concern that communists were involved in the Civil Rights Movement. The wire tapping continued through 1967. No evidence of Communist activity or influence was uncovered. Kennedy remained committed to civil rights enforcement to such a degree that he commented, in 1962, that it seemed to envelop almost every area of his public and private life—from prosecuting corrupt southern electoral officials to answering late night calls from Mrs. King concerning the imprisonment of her husband for demonstrations in Alabama. During his tenure as Attorney General he undertook the most energetic and persistent desegregation of the administration that Capitol Hill had ever experienced. He demanded that every area of government begin recruiting realistic levels of black and other ethnic workers, going so far as to criticize Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson for his failure to desegregate his own office staff.
Law and order
In 1968, Kennedy expressed his strong willingness to support a bill then under consideration for the abolition of the death penalty. He argued that rising crime rates could be countered with more job and educational opportunities instead of with increased legal penalties.
Kennedy favored bills preventing casual firearm purchasing, and said that his views on gun control were keeping firearms away from "people who have no business" with them, elaborating that they were criminals, individuals with mental issues, and the underaged.
Kennedy argued for strong leadership that would promote national reconciliation and confront the problems at home and abroad.
Job opportunities and welfare reform
Kennedy argued that increased government cooperation with private enterprise would reduce housing and employment woes in the United States. He also argued that the focus of welfare spending should be shifted more towards improving credit and income for farmers.
Though not supportive of either an immediate withdrawal of US military personnel from Vietnam or an immediate end to the conflict, Kennedy sought to negotiate an honorable peace settlement between North and South Vietnam and sought to end the war quicker by strengthening the South Vietnamese military and wiping out corruption within the South Vietnamese government.
Kennedy argued for legislation which would eliminate tax loopholes.
As his brother's confidante, Kennedy oversaw the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) anti-Castro activities after the unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion. He also helped develop the strategy to blockade Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis instead of initiating a military strike that might have led to nuclear war. Kennedy had initially been among the more hawkish elements of the administration on matters concerning Cuban insurrectionary aid. His initial strong support for covert actions in Cuba soon changed to a position of removal from further involvement once he became aware of the CIA's tendency to draw out initiatives and provide itself with almost unchecked authority in matters of foreign covert operations.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy proved himself to be a gifted politician,[neutrality is disputed] with an ability to obtain compromises from key figures in the hawk camp concerning their position of aggression. The trust the President placed in him on matters of negotiation was such that Robert Kennedy's role in the Crisis is today seen as having been of vital importance in securing a blockade,[neutrality is disputed] which averted a full military engagement between the US and Soviet Russia. His clandestine meetings with members of the Soviet government continued to provide a key link to Nikita Khrushchev during even the darkest moments of the Crisis, in which the threat of nuclear strikes was considered a very present reality.
On the last night of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy was so grateful for his brother's work in averting nuclear war that he summed it up by saying, "Thank God for Bobby".
In 1968 Kennedy was successful in four state primaries—Indiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and California—as well as Washington D.C. McCarthy won six state primaries: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Oregon, New Jersey, and Illinois. In primaries where Kennedy and McCarthy campaigned directly against one another, Kennedy won three state primaries—Indiana, Nebraska, and California—and McCarthy one—Oregon.
On March 27, 1968, Kennedy announced from Salt Lake City his desire to compete in the Indiana primary. Aides to Kennedy either advised against such action or told him that a race in Indiana would be an extremely tight race between Kennedy and his rival in the nominating contest, Senator Eugene McCarthy. Despite the concerns of his advisors, Kennedy traveled the following day to Indianapolis, where he filed to run in the Indiana primary. At the Indiana Statehouse, Kennedy told a cheering crowd that the state was important to his campaign, "If we can win in Indiana, we can win in every other state, and win when we go to the convention in August."
On April 4, Kennedy made his first campaign stop in Indiana at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, followed by a speech at Ball State University in Muncie. In his speech at Ball State, Kennedy suggested that the 1968 election would "determine the direction that the United States is going to move" and that the American people should "examine everything. Not take anything for granted." In addition, Kennedy identified his concerns about poverty and hunger, lawlessness and violence, jobs and economic development, and foreign policy, suggesting that Americans had a "moral obligation" and should "make an honest effort to understand one another and move forward together." After leaving the stage following his address at Ball State and boarding a plane for Indianapolis, Kennedy was told that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot and upon his arrival in Indianapolis he was informed of King's assassination. In Indianapolis later that evening, Kennedy made a brief, heart-felt speech on the assassination of King to a crowd gathered for a political rally at 17th and Broadway, an African American neighborhood on the city's near north side. Kennedy consoled the crowd and called for peace and compassion. After attending King's funeral in Atlanta, Georgia, Kennedy returned to the campaign, drawing huge crowds at stops across the country. Kennedy's Indiana campaign resumed on April 10.
To win the Indiana primary, Kennedy campaign advisor John Bartlow Martin urged the candidate to speak out against violence and rioting, emphasize his "law enforcement experience" as former U.S. Attorney General, and promote the idea that the federal government and the private sector should work together to solve domestic issues. Martin also urged Kennedy to speak out on the war in Vietnam, put an end to the fighting, and use the money to support programs in the United States, ideas which "always got applause." To appeal to Indiana's more conservative voters, Kennedy "toned down his rhetoric" as well.
RFK delivered a speech before the Indianapolis real estate board on May 2, advocating for reliance on private enterprise as opposed to the federal government and arguing the national economy would be restored by the Vietnam War's conclusion. Indiana held its primary on May 7, and in the days before the primary election, a battle ensued between Kennedy, McCarthy, and the Indiana governor, Roger D. Branigin, a favorite son candidate and stand-in for Johnson. Branigin was a "formidable foe who had enormous power over the distribution of the approximately seven thousand patronage jobs in the state." Branigan campaigned in nearly all of the state's 92 counties, while McCarthy's campaign strategy concentrated on Indiana's rural areas and small towns. According to Kennedy's advisor, Martin, the campaign gained momentum with Kennedy's visits to central and southern Indiana on April 22 and 23, which included a memorable whistle-stop railroad trip aboard the Wabash Cannonball. Kennedy won on primary night with 42 percent of the vote. Branigan, who won 31 percent of the vote, came in second; McCarthy, earning 27 percent, came in third. With a victory in Indiana, Kennedy claimed momentum going into the Nebraska primary.
Nebraska and Oregon primaries
Campaigning vigorously in Nebraska, Kennedy hoped for a big win to give him momentum going into the California primary, in which McCarthy held a strong presence. While McCarthy made only one visit to Nebraska, Kennedy made numerous appearances and won the Nebraska primary on May 14, with 51.4 percent of the vote to McCarthy's 31 percent, a distant second- place finish. After the results Kennedy declared that McCarthy and Kennedy, both anti-war, had managed to earn over 80 percent of the vote, "a smashing repudiation" of the Johnson-Humphrey administration.
In contrast to Nebraska, the Oregon primary posed several challenges to Kennedy's campaign. His campaign organization, run by Congresswoman Edith Green, was not strong and Kennedy's campaign themes of poverty, hunger, and minority issues didn't resonate with Oregon voters. Of RFK's calls for unity among Americans, Mills wrote, "As far as Oregonians were concerned, America had not fallen apart." The Kennedy campaign circulated material on McCarthy's record such as his votes against a minimum wage law and repeal of the poll tax in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the McCarthy campaign responding with charges of Kennedy illegally taping Martin Luther King, Jr. while United States Attorney General; Kennedy admitted these mentions of McCarthy's record did not bother his supporters. Ten days ahead of the primary, RFK recognized the uphill battle he faced in winning the primary: "This state is like one giant suburb. I appeal best to people who have problems." In a speech in California, Kennedy said, "I think that if I get beaten in any primary, I am not a very viable candidate." The comment further intensified the importance of the Oregon primary. On May 26, an Associated Press poll showed RFK behind Humphrey in Pennsylvania national convention delegates 1 to 27. The same day, RFK campaigned in Portland and was accompanied by his wife Ethel and astronaut John Glenn. McCarthy was campaigning in Portland as well and encountered RFK's motorcade in Washington Park briefly before it was decided by Kennedy campaign aides to have RFK hold an event somewhere else. The following day, a spokesman for the RFK campaign accused the McCarthy and Humphrey campaigns of having banded together against Kennedy. On May 28, Kennedy lost to McCarthy, "44.7 percent to 38.8 percent." After the loss was confirmed, RFK sent a congratulatory message to McCarthy and asserted he would remain in the race. Tye assessed the defeat as having proven to RFK that he needed to take risks in his campaigning and that it solidified to voters that Kennedy was vulnerable to electoral defeat. From Oregon, the campaign moved on to California.
South Dakota and California primaries
Coming off victories in Indiana and Nebraska with new-found momentum, Kennedy hoped to take the California and South Dakota primaries on June 4. California would be "the perfect place for Kennedy to demonstrate his voter-appeal." In California, McCarthy was well funded and organized. For Kennedy, a defeat could have ended his hopes of securing the nomination. On June 1, in the final days of the California campaign, Kennedy and McCarthy met in a televised debate. Kennedy had hopes of denting McCarthy's strength in California pulling an upset victory in the state, but the debate proved to be "indecisive and disappointing." After the debate, undecided voters favored Kennedy to McCarthy 2 to 1, the first time in the primary that gains in undecided voters were found to mostly go to RFK. On June 3, in what Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. dubbed a "final dash around the state", RFK traveled to San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Long Beach, leaving the candidate exhausted.
Kennedy won the South Dakota primary with relative ease, beating McCarthy, 50 percent to 20 percent of the vote. Kennedy managed to win California with 46 percent of the vote to McCarthy's 42 percent, claiming the biggest prize in the nominating process as well as a crucial defeat to McCarthy's campaign. Under the winner-take-all rules then in force, Kennedy, despite having received only a plurality of the vote, was awarded all of the state's delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Around midnight on June 4, Kennedy addressed supporters at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, confidently promising to heal the many divisions within the country.
After addressing his supporters during the early morning hours of June 5, in a ballroom at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California, Kennedy left through a service area to greet kitchen workers. In a crowded kitchen passageway, Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian-born Jordanian, opened fire with a .22 caliber revolver and shot Kennedy in the head at close range. Following the shooting, Kennedy was rushed to Central Receiving Hospital and then transferred to The Good Samaritan Hospital, where he died early in the morning on June 6.
Kennedy's body was returned to New York City, where he lay in repose at St. Patrick's Cathedral for several days before the Requiem Mass was held there on June 8. His younger brother, U.S. Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, eulogized him with the words: "My brother need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it." Kennedy concluded the eulogy by paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw as he referred to his brother: "As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: 'Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say Why not?'" Later that day, a funeral train carried Kennedy's body from New York to Washington, D.C., where he was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Relationships with people and groups
Kennedy had been a supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. In the Indiana primary, RFK secured 86% of the black vote. Tye assessed, "By the time of his death in June 1968, Bobby was the most trusted white man in black America."
Kennedy endeared himself to farmworkers through his support of the Delano grape strike and subsequent communications with Cesar Chavez, farmworkers and Chavez working on the Kennedy campaign, the latter of whom telling students in California that Kennedy was the candidate for farmworkers.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Ahead of the primaries beginning, though RFK himself was undecided on whether to launch a campaign, Johnson was convinced that Kennedy wanted to challenge him. President Johnson was convinced historically his presidency would be "trapped forever between the two Kennedys" administrations. During a December 19, 1967 press conference, Johnson indicated that he believed RFK and McCarthy were having a collaborative effort against him. "I don't know what the effect of the Kennedy-McCarthy movement is having in the country ...I am not privileged to all of the conversations that have taken place ...I do know of the interest of both of them in the Presidency and the ambition of both of them." Prior to RFK making a decision to run, close friend Arthur Schlesinger wrote in a journal that he'd never seen Kennedy "so torn about anything...I think that he cannot bear the thought of consigning the country to four more years of LBJ, without having done something to avert this." Johnson's loss in the New Hampshire primary marked Kennedy's freedom in considering to enter the race, as it proved Johnson's vulnerability.
The day after announcing his candidacy, RFK predicted that Johnson would lose the general election if he was the party's nominee, provided that he "follow the same policies we are following at the moment". In late March, three days before Johnson announced his decline of seeking nomination, James H. Rowe sent President Johnson a memorandum charging RFK's backers with saying "the president would not run and that the best course for the Democrats was to 'Stay loose and stay committed.'" Smith observed that Johnson's withdrawal from the presidential race meant Kennedy would have to shift his focus of critiques from the administration's policies on the Vietnam War. On April 3, 1968, three days after President Johnson announced that he would not seek the nomination, RFK met with the latter at the White House, asking about his intentions for the primary. "Stay out of it," LBJ replied. Thomas wrote that while RFK was aware that Johnson's withdrawal from the race meant Humphrey would enter, he had gained the president's declaration of neutrality.
McCarthy claimed after the primary's end that RFK had promised him in November 1967 that he would not run. Prior to entering the race, RFK worried McCarthy lacked a platform, as the latter had not often spoken about domestic issues. In mid-March, Ted Kennedy attempted brokering "a political deal", ensuring his brother would remain out of the race if McCarthy spoke out on domestic problems. McCarthy declined and the refusal propelled Schlesinger to unsuccessfully suggest to RFK that he endorse McCarthy. Sandbrook assessed Kennedy's entry into the primary as causing a shift in McCarthy's campaign, forcing it to move from merely being antagonistic to the Johnson administration's policies and having to further develop its own platform. LaFeber assessed the Kennedy and McCarthy campaigns as having increased their animosity toward each other after March concluded.
Kennedy was in Nebraska when on April 27, Vice President Humphrey entered the race. Kennedy welcomed Humphrey into the race on the day of the announcement, saying Humphrey's candidacy offered "clear alternatives" between the policies followed by the US during the Johnson administration and those that were different, also criticizing Humphrey for not entering the primaries as he believed voters "should help determine the choice the nation is to have in November." LaFeber wrote that Humphrey's entry seemed to be hinged entirely on President Johnson's distaste at the idea of RFK being the party's nominee in the general election. The morning after his Oregon loss, RFK hosted a Los Angeles airport press conference in which he critiqued Humphrey for what he called an inability "to present his views to the voters of a single state." Reflecting on RFK's assassination, Humphrey was quoted as saying, "I was doing everything I could to get the nomination, but God knows I didn't want it that way."
- Thomas, Evan (2000). Robert F. Kennedy: His Life. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 351. ISBN 9780684834801.
- Boomhower, Ray E. (2008). Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 Indiana Primary. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. p. 13. ISBN 9780253350893.
- Clark, Thurston (June 2008). "The Last Good Campaign". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2012-05-18. Excerpt from The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and the 82 Days that Inspired America (New York, Henry Holt, 2008) by Thurston Clark.
- Thomas, p. 356.
- Thomas, p. 357.
- Thomas, pp. 357–358.
- PBS, "American Experience" (2004-07-01). "RFK, People and Events: Cesar Chavez". PBS. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Schlesinger, Arthur M. (1978). Robert Kennedy and His Times. 2 (book club ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 884.
- Thomas, p. 359.
- Kennedy, Robert F., "Robert F. Kennedy's Announcement of his candidacy for president" (speech, Washington, D. C., 1968-03-16). Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- Thomas, p. 360.
- On September 14, 2009, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution to rename the Senate Caucus Room in the Russell Senate Office Building (RSOB) to the Kennedy Senate Caucus Room in honor of the three Kennedy brothers who served in the Senate chamber. John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy announced their presidential campaigns in the room and their younger brother, the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who died of cancer in August 2009, chaired hearings in the room on a health-care bill that bore his name. CNN Political Tracker blog (2009-09-14). "Senate Caucus Room renamed to honor Kennedy brothers". CNN Political Tracker. Retrieved 2012-05-18.
- Schlesinger, p. 898.
- Thomas, p. 365.
- Solberg, Carl (1984). Hubert Humphrey: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton. p. 332. ISBN 9780393018066.
- Schlesinger, p. 923.
- Solberg, pp. 327–28.
- Cook, Rhodes (2000). United States Presidential Primary Elections 1968–1996: A Handbook of Election Statistics. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. pp. 202, 487, 340. ISBN 9781568024516.
- Kennedy, Robert F., "Remarks at the University of Kansas" (speech, Lawrence, KS, 1968-03-18), John F. Kennedy Library. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
- Peter Braunstein (2004). The Sixties Chronicle. Legacy Publishing. p. 375. ISBN 141271009X.
- Schlesinger, Arthur Jr. (1978). "Robert Kennedy and His Times".
- Newfield, Jack. (1969;1988). Robert Kennedy: A Memoir. Plume
- Kennedy, Robert F. “Law Day Address at the University of Georgia Law School” (speech, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 1961-05-06), American Rhetoric Online Speech Bank. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
- Parise, Theresa (2006-01-17). "Robert F. Kennedy Miscellaneous Information". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
- Sirhan Sirhan, who shot and killed Kennedy in June, 1968, was convicted and initially sentenced to death in April, 1969; however, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after the death penalty was briefly "outlawed" in California in 1972. Blankstein, Andrew (2011-03-02). "RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan's parole rejected". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- Robert F. Kennedy 1968 for President Campaign Brochure Accessed August 20, 2014.
- "New Robert F. Kennedy biography examines historic loss in Oregon presidential primary". oregonlive.com. July 5, 2016.
- "In 1968 Robert F. Kennedy called for gun control, in Roseburg (video)". oregonlive.com. October 4, 2015. Archived from the original on August 23, 2016.
- Levenson, Eric (October 6, 2015). "Video: Robert F. Kennedy once spoke about gun control in Roseburg, Oregon". Boston.com.
- Schlesinger, "The Cuban Connection", Robert Kennedy and His Times
- Clarity Through Complexity, October 2000, FindArticles.com, Retrieved 2007-06-10.
- Cook, pp. 12–13.
- Herbers, John (March 28, 1968). "KENNEDY TO ENTER INDIANA'S PRIMARY". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Boomhower, p. 43.
- Boomhower, p. 3.
- Kennedy, Robert F., "Speech at Ball State University" (speech, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, 1968-04-04). Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Boomhower, pp. 62–63.
- Boomhower, pp. 67–68.
- Thomas, p. 369.
- Boomhower, p. 76.
- Boomhower, p. 78.
- Manly, Chesely (May 3, 1968). "Kennedy Tells Housing Plan". Chicago Tribune.
- Boomhower, pp. 35–36.
- Boomhower, pp. 83, 88, 91.
- PBS, "American Experience". "Shock Year: 1968–May 7, Indiana Primary". PBS. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Thomas, p. 375.
- Thomas, p. 377.
- Dooley, Brian (1996). Robert Kennedy: The Final Years. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 128. ISBN 9780312161309.
- Schlesinger, p. 929.
- Dooley, p. 129.
- Mills, Judie (1998). Robert Kennedy. Millbrook Press. pp. 430–432. ISBN 978-1562942502.
- Gould, p. 73.
- "Hubert Tops Pennsylvania Delegate Poll". Chicago Tribune. May 27, 1968.
- "RFK, McCarthy Almost Meet on Vote Tour". Chicago Tribune. May 27, 1968.
- "Gene, Bobby Wrangle Over Poll Reports". Chicago Tribune. May 28, 1968.
- Thomas, p. 382.
- Korman, Seymour (May 29, 1968). "McCarthy Defeats Bobby". Chicago Tribune.
- Dooley, p. 130.
- Dooley, p. 131.
- Mills, p. 443.
- Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur (1978). Robert Kennedy and His Times. Houghton Mifflin. p. 912. ISBN 978-0395248973.
- Johnson's name still appeared on the ballot in South Dakota and received 30 percent of the vote, which was recognized as support for Humphrey. Dooley, p. 134.
- PBS American Experience. "Shock Year:1968–June 4, California Primary". PBS. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Martinez, Michael (2011-03-01). "Sirhan Sirhan, convicted RFK assassin, to face parole board". CNN. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Issenberg, Sasha (2008-06-05). "Slaying gave US a first taste of Mideast terror". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- Dooley, p. 140.
- "Edward M. Kennedy Address at the Public Memorial Service for Robert F. Kennedy". American Rhetoric: Top 100 Speeches. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
- Thomas, p. 393.
- Isaacson, Walter (2011). Profiles in Leadership: Historians on the Elusive Quality of Greatness. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 287. ISBN 978-0393340761.
- LaFeber, Walter (2005). The Deadly Bet: LBJ, Vietnam, and the 1968 Election (Vietnam: America in the War Years). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 89-94. ISBN 978-0742543928.
- Tye, Larry (July 7, 2016). "The Most Trusted White Man in Black America". Politico.
- Pawel, Miriam. The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography. Bloomsbury Press. p. 170.
- Smith, Jeffery K. (2010). Bad Blood: Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert F. Kennedy, and the Tumultuous 1960s. AuthorHouse. p. 230. ISBN 978-1452084435.
- Savage, Sean J. (2004). JFK, LBJ, and the Democratic Party. State University of New York Press. p. 289. ISBN 978-0791461693.
- Smith, p. 235.
- Smith, p. 237.
- King, William (March 18, 1968). "Bobby Has Grave Reservations About Backing LBJ in '68 Race". Chicago Tribune.
- Gould, Lewis L. (1993). 1968: The Election That Changed America. Ivan R. Dee. p. 45. ISBN 978-1566630092.
- Smith, p. 244.
- Thomas, Evan (2002). Robert Kennedy: His Life. Simon & Shuster. p. 365. ISBN 978-0743203296.
- Sandbrook, Dominic (2004). Eugene McCarthy: The Rise and Fall of Postwar American Liberalism. Knopf. p. 191. ISBN 978-1400041053.
- Sandbrook, pp. 187-188.
- "Bobby Welcomes Hubert to Vote Race". Chicago Tribune. April 28, 1968.
- LaFeber, p. 122.
- Schlesinger, p. 907.
- Solberg, Carl (2005). Hubert Humphrey: A Biography. Borealis Books. p. 340. ISBN 978-0873514736.
- Thurston Clarke (June 2008). "The Last Good Campaign". Vanity Fair.