Report: Ted Kennedy’s Obama endorsement based on rage and vanity

posted at 9:36 am on January 31, 2008 by Bryan

If the WaPo’s Mary Ann Akers is correct, Ted Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama not because Obama is such a great candidate in his own right. Obama just happened to be the lucky recipient of a rebound. The endorsement would presumably have gone to John Edwards or anyone else who happened to be Hillary’s main competition when Uncle Ted flew into a rage. Because it wasn’t about the candidate. It was about the Kennedys.

Sources say Kennedy was privately furious at Clinton for her praise of President Lyndon Baines Johnson for getting the 1964 Civil Rights Act accomplished. Jealously guarding the legacy of the Kennedy family dynasty, Senator Kennedy felt Clinton’s LBJ comments were an implicit slight of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, who first proposed the landmark civil rights initiative in a famous televised civil rights address in June 1963.

One anonymous source described Kennedy as having a “meltdown” in reaction to Clinton’s comments. Another source close to the Kennedy family says Senator Kennedy was upset about two instances that occurred on a single day of campaigning in New Hampshire on Jan. 7, a day before the state’s primary.

The first was at an event in Dover, N.H., at which Clinton supporter Francine Torge introduced the former first lady saying, “Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually” signed the civil rights bill into law.

Kennedy was also apparently upset that Clinton said on the same day: “Dr. [Martin Luther] King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Ac. It took a president to get it done.”

Both comments that day, by Clinton and her supporter, were meant to make the point that Clinton would be better equipped to get things done as president than Obama, her chief Democratic rival. Sources say Clinton called Kennedy to apologize for the LBJ comments. But whatever she said clearly wasn’t enough to assuage Kennedy, who endorsed Obama earlier this week.

How pathetic is this: The “change” candidate gets his Camelot remnant endorsement based not on his qualifications or what he’ll do for the country, but based on how offended the Kennedy capo got at what Hillary Clinton said about events that took place more than 40 years ago. Ted Kennedy’s eloquent speech endorsing Obama was just so much window-dressing. It won over David Brooks, for whatever that’s worth, but Kennedy probably didn’t mean a word of it. Kennedy is just using Obama to lash out at the Clintons.

It just goes to show that at the end of the day, the Kennedys still don’t care about anything more than their own dynastic identity. If they really cared about real “change,” they would leave the political scene. The Kennedy soap opera should have long past run its course.

Update: Jon Swift got there first.

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Again, Mary Jo Kopechne was unavailable for comment.

Tim Zank on January 31, 2008 at 9:41 AM

I have long ceased to believe most of what comes out of career politicians mouths. It’s nearly always to achieve their own ends, which always justifies the means to them.

They wouldn’t know how to talk straight if they had to.

Sloan Morganstern on January 31, 2008 at 9:42 AM

Wonder what the Kennedy clan is doing for Good Friday this year? Another romp at the bars, maybe.

Ted is a pretty transparent guy, just trying to keep his ego above water.

Later on, when he needs to suck up to HRC, he’ll crack open a fifth of Seagram’s and forget all about this little dust-up.

whitetop on January 31, 2008 at 9:47 AM

It’s almost funny to see all these puffed-up egos fighting over who gets credit for the Civil Rights Act. Each person should be given credit for his part, whether it’s LBJ for signing it after twisting some Congressional arms, or JFK for proposing it, or Dr. King and numerous unnamed others for inspiring it. Of course, I realize that such humility and perspective are not going to come from a career politician.

Bigfoot on January 31, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Well they had to pass that “Treasured Covenant” to someone. They don’t make Kennedy’s like they used to so they had to graft one in.

ninjapirate on January 31, 2008 at 9:50 AM

Not surprised. The Kennedy penchant for revenge is well known here in New England and probably in DC too. Meet the real Teddy folks(in fact, the whole Kennedy clan).

jeanie on January 31, 2008 at 9:52 AM

…and Obama said, “But Hillary’s gonna be really pi$$ed when she finds out.” So Teddy said, “Don’t worry, Osama-bama, we’ll drive off that bridge when we get to it.”

NightmareOnKStreet on January 31, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Report: Ted Kennedy’s Obama endorsement Everything Ted Kennedy does based on rage and vanity

James on January 31, 2008 at 9:55 AM

The truth has a way of enraging the Kennedys..

Bryan, could you please correct this point though:

Uncle Ted flew into a rage

At best, Uncle Ted would only be able to waddle into a rage.. :)

Pam on January 31, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Kennedy is just using Obama to lash out at the Clintons.

Yes, but Clinton’s comments were just the sparks. The powder keg they lit was the underlying struggle, dating back to the 90’s, between the Kennedy family and Clintonistas for control of the party.

Old Teddy must realize his time is limited, and if he wishes to win this fight for his family, he’d best do it soon. He may not live to see another chance so opportune as this.

petefrt on January 31, 2008 at 10:03 AM

At best, Uncle Ted would only be able to waddle into a rage.. :)

How about staggered into a rage?

infidel65 on January 31, 2008 at 10:04 AM

How many potentially great public servants never make an attempt to run for office due to lack of money and how many power hungry, self important, self serving gas bags get elected to high office only because they have the money to run? Very few of these gasbags have any real passion, they’re just motivated by power and prestige. Those of us motivated by passion lack the funds to defeat the gasbags. Extreme wealth, inherited anyway, seems to leave its owners without a set of core convictions, without any real beliefs. Teddy boy seems driven more by Chappaquiddick (sp?) guilt and a desire to keep the Kennedy name in lights than by anything else.

DerKrieger on January 31, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Anybody else think Uncle Ted’s head looks like an oven roasted ham? Throw on a couple pineapple rings?

I’m saying I would eat his head, but at a glance, it might make my hungry.

natesnake on January 31, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Talk radio was all aflutter in Boston the day this happened, a few callers had the Malkins to bring up Mary Jo Kopechne to Eagan (R) & Braudie (commie pinko). Both poohpoohed the caller saying sure Teddy “made a mistake” in the past and “may have contributed to MJK’s death” but his long tenure of working for the people since then and that “he’s been a father to his brother’s kids” shows he’s paid back his debt.

The caller wisely used the logic that we should let all murder’s go free then to have the same chance as Kennedy to pay their debt?

Un-F’n believable how dedicated to the Kennedy mobsters the old hippy libs and baby boomers are. Nothing, not even murder, sexual harrassment, and rape can shake them from their delusions.


Alden Pyle on January 31, 2008 at 10:11 AM

Was Teddy’s endorsement so important? many people actually care?

bridgetown on January 31, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Whatever it takes.

Pettiness. Legacy fears. Righteous outrage.

I don’t care at all what his reasons or motivations were. All I know is this is the first positive thing this kook has done in his miserable life.

Seriously, the democrats have hijacked our party, we have NO candidate.

If someone or something doesn’t stop Hillary! – we are truly in for the worst times of our miserable lives.

Dorvillian on January 31, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Why dont we all just REJECT the Clinton clan AND the Kennedy clan once and for all…

and elect some good conservative Republicans.

And no, I dont include McLame as a conservative Republican….

Always Right on January 31, 2008 at 10:17 AM

On second thought, I may try to lick his head… you know, just to see if remotely tastes like ham.

natesnake on January 31, 2008 at 10:18 AM

Hey, JFK is his brother, I can understand this.

AbaddonsReign on January 31, 2008 at 10:19 AM

It’s a big mind game with Uncle Ted. He wants you to think his head tastes like a delicious glazed ham…. but he knows that he actually tastes like Dewars scotch and a$$.

Uncle Ted is a sly one.

natesnake on January 31, 2008 at 10:22 AM


Tzetzes on January 31, 2008 at 10:24 AM

My theory as to why Teddy and Leahy and some of the other old time liberals are backing Obama, Osama, yo’ momma is because he is as far left (or further) as they are. With his total lack of experience they can take him under their wings and make him their ‘boy’. He will feel obligated to them and he will let it happen. If he is elected we can look for the most left wing (Kennedy/Leahy, etc.) agenda we have ever seen.

OBX Pete on January 31, 2008 at 10:36 AM

Also dissed was the Republican Congress who passed the bill over objections from Southern Democrats.

The continued thanks continue to pour in for Republicans.

Valiant on January 31, 2008 at 10:45 AM

Was Teddy’s endorsement so important? many people actually care?

bridgetown on January 31, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Endorsement power comes more from who is in the endorser’s Rolodex than any symbolic value. Thus why Obama stands to gain greatly from Ted’s endorsement, Crist’s endorsement helped McCain, and Tancredo’s endorsement didn’t help Mitt much at all.

BKennedy on January 31, 2008 at 10:55 AM

infidel65 on January 31, 2008 at 10:04 AM

Staggered indeed :)

Pam on January 31, 2008 at 11:01 AM

So, that’s why Teddy Boy was so red-faced.

bloggless on January 31, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Hey, they got two out of three of Teddy’s emotions! Now all we need is hunger.

mojo on January 31, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Heh. Looks like there’s some life left in the old close-enough-to-murderer after all…

Spanglemaker on January 31, 2008 at 11:36 AM

Legacy building and deconstruction.
New England Blue Bloods versus Arkansas Hicks
Sort of like the Beverly Hillbillys and the Drydalesw

Kini on January 31, 2008 at 11:40 AM

Acting on pure emotion, usually hatred and anger?

That’s a liberal for you.

amkun on January 31, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Because it wasn’t about the candidate. It was about the Kennedys.

How is this different from all of Ted’s other political activities?

doufree on January 31, 2008 at 11:56 AM

Obama to Kennedy is like rebound sex…you don’t care who it is, you just want to do it to get back at someone. It’s usually pretty hot sex, but not fulfilling (so I hear).

SouthernGent on January 31, 2008 at 12:35 PM

I grew up under the jackboot of the Kennedy clan as a resident of that liberal wasteland that is MA. I now live in the similarly liberal wasteland that is CT. This is not surprising.

It’s all just bread and circuses people.

KrisinNE on January 31, 2008 at 12:46 PM

“It’s all about us”.

It’s no different with the Clintons.

Entelechy on January 31, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Thanks for the swift link. That guy’s hillarious.

DMeNTe on January 31, 2008 at 3:08 PM