Despite Clinton pressure, Ted Kennedy to endorse Obama at Monday rally
Another ouch for Team Clinton. Senator Kennedy is part of the mainline Democratic establishment, so it was critical to the Clintons that the Massachusetts senator sway Hillary’s way (or say nothing). They tried to stop it, but alas, Ted’s planning a very public endorsement of the Illinois Senator tomorrow. (The Politico):
The announcement stunned Senate colleagues, who had expected Kennedy to remain neutral until the increasingly vitriolic nominating contest with Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) settled out.
“This is the biggest Democratic endorsement Obama could possibly get short of Bill Clinton,” said a high-level Democrat.
The Clinton campaign launched a last-ditch effort over the last few days to stop Kennedy’s move, orchestrating a flood of phone calls to Kennedy from sources ranging from union chiefs to his Massachusetts constituents.
And who was leading the charge to tell Kennedy to remain neutral? Big Busy Bill, who has not only failed to put the wind in the sails of the Clinton campaign ship, but has become an over-sized anchor stalling it out in the middle of nowhere…
The former president also called Kennedy in a vain attempt to keep him out of the race, a source familiar with the conversation said. During his two terms in the White House, President Clinton made repeated overtures to the Kennedy family. So the senator’s rejection of his wife is at least as embarrassing as her 28-point loss in the South Carolina primary on Saturday.
Senator Kennedy will appear with the presidential candidate and his niece Carolyn (who endorsed Obama in the NYT) at tomorrow’s rally at American University in Washington.
UPDATE: Double-ouch! Look at the drop-kick Ted Kennedy delivered at the event today:
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) appeared with his son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, and niece Caroline Kennedy to anoint Obama the choice of the country’s longest-running political dynasty.
“I know that he’s ready to be president on day one,” said Sen. Kennedy, one of the most senior members of the Senate, whose endorsement was sought by every Democratic campaign. The statement was a clear shot at Hillary Clinton, who has argued that her experience better makes her better prepared for the Oval Office.
It was not the only thinly-veilled salvo launched at the New York Senator and former First Lady’s presidential campaign.
“When so many others were silent from the beginning, and simply went along, he opposed the war in Iraq. And let no one deny that truth,” Kennedy said, referencing former President Bill Clinton’s accusation that Obama’s war opposiiton was a “fairly tale” and Hillary Clinton’s Senate vote to authorize President Bush to use force against Saddam Hussein’s former regime.