|President John F. Kennedy with Robert and Ted Kennedy at Hyannis Port in 1960
First came Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg's moving New York Times op-ed endorsing Barack Obama as a man who could be the president her father was for so many Americans back in the 1960s. Now, Senator Ted Kennedy, the "lion of the Senate" and a personal friend of the Clintons, will endorse Barack, too.
Right wing bloggers may snicker at Kennedy -- fixated as they are on his most tragic moment -- but for Democrats, this is about as big an endorsement as a candidate can get. For Ted Kennedy, the last surviving son on the tragic Kennedy clan and the family's patriarch, to pass to torch, not to Hillary Clinton, whose husband made the iconic photo of his handshake with JFK on June 6, 1963 (five months before Kennedy's assassination,) into the emblem of his status as the prince of generational change back in 1992, but to Obama, has got to be devastating for the Clintons.
It's also a seminal rebuke of the manner in which Bill Clinton has been fronting his wife's campaign -- the negativity, the bully boy tactics, and the racial tinge.
The endorsement may not change anything -- white women are solidifying behind Hillary, and in states like Florida that have a huge absentee and early vote, she has already banked tens of thousands of votes. On the other hand, the double Kennedy blessing could be a huge boon to Obama as he looks to the Tsunami Tuesday primaries, which include Massachusetts and California, both states where the lore of Camelot could be a touchstone for voters.
The next step for Team Obama will be to have Teddy cut a killer national TV spot for the candidate, along with radio ads that can be strewn across Air America and Jones Radio Network talk shows. Obama has the cash to run a national TV and radio campaign, and Kennedy is the ultimate voice talent. And I would expect that with Kennedy opening the door (and likely pulling off a few stem-winder speeches for his guy as well,) the doors of the church are now open, and more prominent Dems will be falling in line behind Barack before Tuesday.
It's getting interesting again on the Dem side.
Labels: 2008 election, Barack Obama, Democrats, elections, Hillary Clinton, politics, presidential candidates, Ted Kennedy