Patrick Kennedy on Obama


US Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, the son of US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and a nephew of JFK -- a figure to whom Obama has been likened -- last night told me he was gratified that his father and his cousin Caroline were among the president-elect's earliest high-profile supporters.

The Clintons really worked this hard in Rhode Island and New England, but I think what my dad did . . . was really to give the Good Housekeeping seal, to a lot of Democrats nationally, to go with Obama. And you saw that the week after the endorsement, Obama racked up a clutch of states throughout the Midwest and the far West. A lot of Democrats who may have traditionally felt almost obligated to go with the Clintons felt like they could take a second look with Obama, because that’s what their instincts told them to do.

Asked about what effect Obama will have, Kennedy says:

It will make an enormous difference internationally, for one. He’s going to restore hope for America, returning a sense of idealism around the world to America -- that it is the country of all people and of opportunity. Certainly, that has been decimated by this previous president . . . We once again become the inspiration for the world, and I think that’s a great thing. People want to believe in America.

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