Ithaca Blog

Monday, January 28, 2008

Kennedys Welcome Obama to the Family

Everyone remembers the famous insult to Dan Quayle by Lloyd Bentsen when the two ran for vice president in 1988 and, in a televised debate, Quayle compared his relative youth and inexperience to that of John F. Kennedy in 1960.

Bentsen said:

Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.

Yesterday in the New York Times, Caroline Kennedy essentially said that Barack Obama is a Jack Kennedy, in an opinion piece called "A President Like My Father."

In formally endorsing Obama, she writes:

It isn't that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable. But this year, that might not be enough. We need a change in the leadership of this country - just as we did in 1960.

Ms. Kennedy cites Obama's record of advocacy for the poor, and his ability to inspire, particularly the young.

In the closest allusion to her father, she writes,

I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it.

She concludes,

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president - not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

Within hours of Ms. Kennedy's endorsement, Senator Edward Kennedy also formally endorsed Obama, despite years of friendship and political alliance with Hillary Clinton. Both Kennedys will appear with Obama today in Washington at a rally at American University, where President Kennedy gave an historic speech on peace and disarmament on 10 June, 1963.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

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