Barack Obama | Democratic Party | Election 2008 | News | Ted Kennedy

Senator Edward Kennedy Endorses Obama at American University

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]

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  1. So what? I resent them trying to "anoint" him as our savior--I'll make my decision on my own, thanks. Meanwhile, Whora O'Donnell and Tweety Matthews are quacking about it on MSNBC--not because they give a shit about Obama, mind you--just because it's *bad* for Hillary.

    If NH showed us anything it's the people are sick and tired of the media playing kingmaker.

    Posted by: nuflux | Jan 28, 2008 4:00:53 PM

  2. Funny, Kathleen Kenndey Townsend made a similar mistake in her run for governor of Maryland--similar to what the Clintons just did in South Carolina. Don't take the Coloreds for granted--even if you're a Kennedy or a Clinton.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 28, 2008 4:01:35 PM

  3. So wait, does this mean that Hillary should call it a day? Just because Teddy K, his niece and son -- and now Toni Morrison -- have endorsed Obama? At least a large part of the media seems to think so. I absolutely hated how the NYT today made it out to seem like HillBill were pleading for their endorsements. Puhleeze!?!? I'm not sure there are enough people who would change their minds/votes because of it. Unfortunately, name does not equal relevancy. HillBill are no saints, and they sure could have toned it down a little pre-S.C. primaries. Hopefully this will send them the message, but I won't count Hillary out just yet. I'm still staying neutral on Obbie and Hillary.

    Posted by: James | Jan 28, 2008 4:13:18 PM

  4. Yes Obama is charming, and somewhat handsomem, and a great speaker, but these things do not a great leader make. He has barely done anything, how do they expect him to lead your country out of the horrific state it is currently in?

    Posted by: secretagentman | Jan 28, 2008 4:15:06 PM

  5. ooh snap, Ted and Slick Willy..get ur tix now

    Posted by: Davey | Jan 28, 2008 4:34:44 PM

  6. If I hear one more line about Obama's lack of experience, I am gonna blow a gasket. To reiterate for the slow-witted, he has served in an elected position far longer than Hillary Clinton. And what of her accomplishments as First Lady? Health care debacle, the ridiculous Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, the paranoid swipes at a vast right-wing conspiracy -- What is it about her record that makes people see her as such an agent of change? It's such a crazy, knee-jerk reaction -- especially her report in the gay community. Let's be honest: We're not exactly discriminating when it comes to our objects of heroine worship.

    Posted by: GM | Jan 28, 2008 4:35:24 PM

  7. I saw his remarks on CNN and he said that he refuses to let American be divided, and one of the ways he specifically cited was into "gay or straight". Say what you will, but it's impressive that we're getting that attention by him in a speech aimed at the masses.

    Posted by: Scott B. | Jan 28, 2008 4:39:07 PM

  8. I have one thing to say:


    Posted by: hillary 2008 all the way! | Jan 28, 2008 4:40:03 PM

  9. Scott-

    You're too easily impressed.

    Posted by: nuflux | Jan 28, 2008 4:43:59 PM

  10. Having spent many years in DC and seeing Ted Kennedy many, many times over 30 years: he is the most filthy, disgusting alcoholic pig that has ever been elected to the Senate. And he and the rest of the Kennedy family are nothing but carpetbaggers hanging onto the reputation of JFK. None of them would have gotten elected dog catcher if not for their money anyway.

    Posted by: who cares | Jan 28, 2008 4:47:54 PM

  11. We had someone like Jack Kennedy when we had Bill Clinton. They both liked to fuck around.

    Posted by: Terry | Jan 28, 2008 4:49:07 PM

  12. I think finally we have come to the time that people are being judged by the content of their character aka personality than by the color of their skin.

    You have Jacqueline Jackson (wife of Jesse Jackson), Ysef Jackson, Charlie Rangel, Reb Meeks, and other well known African Americans endorsing Billary opps I mean Hillary Clinton.

    And other people like the Kennedy's support Barack Obama. Cleary people are not voting for him or against him based on his skin color.

    Posted by: Zac | Jan 28, 2008 4:50:42 PM

  13. Camelot gives way to Obamalot.

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 28, 2008 4:57:50 PM

  14. NuFlux – thanks for your comment. I was really impressed by it.

    Posted by: Scott B. | Jan 28, 2008 4:58:05 PM

  15. "Yes Obama is charming, and somewhat handsomem (sic), and a great speaker, but these things do not a great leader make. He has barely done anything, how do they expect him to lead your country out of the horrific state it is currently in?"
    POSTED BY: SECRETAGENTMAN | JAN 28, 2008 4:15:06 PM

    Firstly, "SECRETAGENTMAN," no one ever said that being charming and handsome are prerequisites for President of the United States.

    Now, that out the way, on to your question: how do they expect him to lead your country out of the horrific state it is currently in?

    No rationale thinking person is expecting a quick fix to the mess George Bush has made. It will take at least two terms to even being to make any significant effect on this country.

    And Barack Obama is the one candidate in my mind who has the ability to unite Americans and lead us to that long-term goal of a better America.

    You wrote that "he has barely done anything." That's not true. Barack Obama is a man with more than twenty years of public service. In that time he has taught constitutional law, was an elected state official for eight years and turned around struggling communities (which proves his sincerity and commitment in wanting to turn around a struggling America).

    Barack Obama inspires and motivates people, particularly the young. And it's that inspiration and motivation that is needed to shape this country's future, as the young are our future.

    One person can't do it. It's a big country and it will take every one of us -- black and white; man and woman; straight and gay -- to move it forward. But another great speaker, John F. Kennedy, said it best: ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.

    I hope this helps.

    Posted by: PC | Jan 28, 2008 5:08:11 PM

  16. Does this end the "no more dynasties" running commentary I've heard from Obama backers and Hillary haters? (prety synonumous in my mind, but...)

    Barack just got the endorsement of America's royal family.

    Posted by: Marco | Jan 28, 2008 5:11:48 PM

  17. And all this did was inspire me to remove myself from the murderer's mailing list.

    Posted by: Bryan | Jan 28, 2008 5:13:41 PM

  18. Oh, and also, in terms of political relevancy, I'd rather have Robert Kennedy Jr. on my side (as Hillary does) than Ted.
    What about you?

    Posted by: Bryan | Jan 28, 2008 5:15:39 PM

  19. Get ready to blow your gasket, GM:

    Obama is 46 and has served seven years in the state senate and three years in the US Senate.

    Clinton is 60 and has served two years as First Lady or Arkansas, eight years as First Lady of the US, seven years in the US Senate.

    Normally a First Lady position is not much qualification for national leadership. Mrs. Clinton was, by all accounts, an exception to that rule. No one doubts that she was involved in policy decisions.

    Mr. Obama is very charasmatic and has the potential to be a unifying force in the nation. He seems sincere and admirable.

    However, when it comes to national domestic or foreign policy, he has only three years experience to draw from. Nor does he have any experience as a governor or other executive capacity.

    I am not supporting either of these two candidates. However, facts are facts. Mrs. Clinton has both more US Senate experience and some familiarity with the executive office.

    Posted by: Timothy Kincaid | Jan 28, 2008 5:17:53 PM

  20. First, of course, is a standing ovation for Kennedy doing something that Obama has refused to do: unequivocally denouncing bigotry while Obama has only pussyfooted around it. Kennedy: NO MORE “straight against gay.”

    At the same time, you’d never know it from the pundit pinheads, but kudos to Kennedy for both saying good things about Edwards and Clinton, and noting that he and
    WE should support whichever Dem gets the nomination.

    But contrary to his calls for “bipartisanship”
    and “rising above old politics” insisting that Obama will make it happen, I don’t fault this expert on and survivor of bare knuckles Boston-Irish politics for spreading what he knows is bullshit. Actually, it’s manure. He knows
    that if you inspire the great grassroots middle adequately they will finally stop allowing the few who control the Republican Reich to control the whole country.

    Do I think Obama might be able to inspire that? Yes, he said slowly, BUT, the more he hand feeds the personality cult that has grown up around him, that is at the core of his support—a priori belief in him versus
    what, beyond the pretty words, he wants to DO—the greater challenge this neophyte at federal government will find in getting his corn to pop. Scratch the average Obamamaniac and dollars to donuts
    he/she cannot tell you any details about his
    health care plan, etc.

    I doubt if we will ever know what measurable effect, if any, the Kennedys’ endorsement had but it’s fascinating for someone who watched JFK sworn in, and Lee Harvey Oswald’s murder, and the funeral, and the Great March on Washington, and Bobby’s & MLK’s funerals—all live on television.

    I’d speculate that Caroline’s is a wash [and her cousins’ meaningless except to those few who identify with their causes such as RFK, Jr.’s, environmentalism]. Almost as Garboish as her mother became post Onassis, she’s never been the emotional trigger her mother remained, nonetheless, or John John whose sudden death Oprah once said stunned her like few have.

    Jackie or John John’s endorsement[of whomever] would have meant something to those of us old enough to remember
    all that, and none more so than people of color. If you go into the home of any lower middle class home of a black person
    who lived then you are likely to find some kind of picture of JFK. Though I bought it primarily for its camp value, somewhere I have a fabric wall hanging that combines the image of JFK, RFK, and MLK, Jr.

    They’ll try to keep it as beneath the media radar as possible, but expect
    some Republicans, should Obama get the nomination, to try to smear his
    integrity by allusions to Ted Kennedy scandals such as Chappaquiddick. I’d
    suspect that it will only influence those who wouldn’t vote for a Democrat
    in any case.

    But the converse, what positive influence he brings to Obama [or would have
    brought to anyone else], is, I’d guess, entirely related to generation; the older the more, the younger the less.

    It might very well sway some peers in politics of the same generation who had not
    yet decided, but overall I’d say it’s more grist for the mills of pundits, more fuel
    to fire 24-hr. news stations than anything else. Again, that says nothing about Obama. The same would be true regardless of whom they endorsed. Sadly and unfairly, Kennedy could just as much be seen as a part of the old order Obama has been promising to
    sweep away.

    “Didn't you love the things that they stood for?
    Didn't they try to find some good for you and me?
    And we'll be free
    Some day soon, it's gonna be one day
    Anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
    Can you tell me where he's gone?
    I thought I saw him walkin' up over the hill
    With Abraham, Martin, and John”

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 28, 2008 5:20:25 PM

  21. Hillary supporters poo-pooing this endorsment

    you can NOT have it both ways.

    Bill and Hillary have been courting the kenedy endorsment and shine of camelot from back when Bill ran for the presidency. the clintons have worshiped at the kenedy alter and Bill many times in the past tried to make himself out to be the resurection of JFK.

    Sorry, but you can not have it both ways. Just because Hillary didn't get this endorsment doesn't make it automaticaly crap.

    It was gold for DECADES to the clintons. It doesn't automaticaly become crap when the clinton's can't rely on it anymore.


    The shadows of camelot resonate with older democrats who make up hillary's base.

    Teddy is very big amongst latino dems because of his passionate support for pro imigrant legislation.

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Jan 28, 2008 5:32:21 PM

  22. MLK's son endorsed Edwards but narry a peep out of the media.

    Just something to think about

    Posted by: Jimmyboyo | Jan 28, 2008 5:38:33 PM

  23. yes, folks, the Caroline ID was a typo. Apologies.

    Posted by: andy | Jan 28, 2008 5:38:39 PM

  24. Wow. The Obamahaters sure are going for his throat. You guys really need to look at the bigger picture here. We should be supporting our favorite candidates but lets also hope and ask that Whether Obama or Clinton wins the nomination, the other should become vice-president. And if they do good, the Dems will be in office for 16 years.

    Posted by: PitchforkDrama | Jan 28, 2008 6:30:54 PM

  25. My favorite Judy Garland story is one Liza tells. They were in a Ladies Room somewhere and some middle-aged woman saw them and cried out "Oh Judy! Judy! Don't forget the rainbow! Don't forget the rainbow!" to which Garland replied "Madame how CAN I forget the rainbow? I've got rainbows up my ass!"

    Well Barack Obama and his supporters can put rainbow flags up their asses til the Disney Cows come home.

    It don't mean shit.

    They pander to phobes' left and right. Give us lip service and nothing more. And at the first sign of trouble we're thrown under the bus so fast as to make your head spin.

    Glbt rights progress has NEVER been made by politicians.

    These people have no intention of giving us anything.

    They never have.

    They never will.

    We won what rights we have ON OWN OWN!!!!!

    To hell with them, and their enablers at the HRC and NLGTF!

    Marcia P. Johnson died for your sins, motherfuckers!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 28, 2008 6:34:58 PM

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