Oprah: Nearly every American who's old enough can tell you where they were when they heard your father had been shot [after he'd won the California Democratic presidential primary in 1968]. Where were you?

Bobby: I was asleep. I was in boarding school, and I was woken up and told to get in the car.

Oprah: Did they say why?

Bobby: No, but when I got home, I found out.

Oprah: And you were flown immediately to California?

Bobby: Yes. I was brought to the hospital.

Oprah: Were you there when he died?

Bobby: Yeah.

Oprah: Before he was assassinated, did you fear he'd be killed?

Bobby: No.

Oprah: You and I are the same age. And I remember that I was 14 and living in Milwaukee, and I was worried that your father would be assassinated because Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy had been killed. But you were never afraid?

Bobby: No.

Oprah: I just recently saw the movie Bobby [directed by Emilio Estevez], about your father. Have you seen it?

Bobby: No. My sister Kerry saw it. The filmmakers were very considerate of my family. I think most of my family won't see it because parts of it are so painful—it's just not worth it. But I'm very happy that Emilio made the film. Everything I've heard indicates that it's a wonderful tribute to my father.

Oprah: It makes people think about what the world would have been like if he hadn't been shot down. Do you ever think about that?

Bobby: You know, I think about that a lot as it applies to the kinds of decisions being made in our country today. To the fact that America is now involved in torturing people; that habeas corpus, which is a fundamental civil right guaranteed since the Magna Carta, has been abandoned; that we're imprisoning people without proper trials. My father thought of America as the last best hope for humanity. He believed we had a historical mission to be a paragon to the rest of the world, to be about what human beings can accomplish if they work together and maintain their focus. He was never afraid of debate; he was willing to debate with Communists because he believed this country's ideas were so good that we shouldn't be scared of meeting with anybody.

When I was boy, my father took me to Europe—Greece, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Italy, Germany, England, France. Everywhere we went, we were met by huge crowds, sometimes hundreds of thousands of people who came out because they loved our country. They were starved for our leadership. They looked to us for moral authority. They proudly named their streets after our presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Kennedy. And I remember after 9/11, the headline in the French newspaper Le Monde was WE ARE ALL AMERICANS. For two weeks after 9/11, there were spontaneous candlelight vigils in Tehran, initiated by Muslims who loved our country. It took more than 200 years of disciplined, visionary leadership by Republican and Democratic presidents to build these huge reservoirs of public love. We were the most beloved nation on the face of the earth. And today—in six short years, through monumental incompetence and arrogance, this White House has absolutely drained that reservoir dry. America has become the most hated nation on earth. There are five billion people who either fear or just don't know what to think about the United States. For me that's the most bitter pill to swallow.


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