At American University in Washington, Senator Ted Kennedy joined his niece Caroline and son, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), in endorsing Barack Obama for president.
The Washington Post reports: “The three Kennedys, taking turns speaking at a lectern bearing the slogan, “Change We Can Believe In,” invoked the inspiration of former president John F. Kennedy in supporting the candidacy of Obama, a first-term senator who seeks to become the nation’s first African American president. Addressing a cheering, overflow crowd in the university’s Bender Arena, Sen. Kennedy hailed Obama as a candidate who ‘has lit a spark of hope amid the fierce urgency of now.’ Calling on Americans to ‘have the courage to choose change,’ he declared, ‘It time again for a new generation of leadership! It is time now for Barack Obama!’ In accepting the endorsements, Obama told the crowd: ‘We will change the course of history. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world.’ The endorsement by the senior senator from Massachusetts was widely seen as important for Obama because it gives him the imprimatur of a major leader of the Democratic establishment.”
The endorsement, courted by the Clinton camp for months, may have solidified in Obama’s favor after last week’s angry campaigning by Bill Clinton in South Carolina. The NYT reports: “Mr. Kennedy, who associates said had grown furious at the tone of the presidential campaign, including the words and actions of former President Bill Clinton, said Mr. Obama would usher in a new era of politics. His speech was filled with references to his distaste for the bitterness and lack of bipartisanship that has infiltrated Washington.”
The broader Kennedy clan is not unanimous on the endorsement, however, the paper notes: “Another of Kennedy’s nieces, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland, is supporting Clinton. So is a nephew, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a leading environmental activist.”
Kennedy Calls Obama ‘New Generation of Leadership’ [nyt]
Kennedy Endorsement Gives Obama Key Boost [washington post]