Thursday, October 13, 2005

AP Interview: Kennedy backs Kerry in 2008--even if Hillary runs

Sen. Edward Kennedy said Wednesday that Sen. John Kerry has his backing for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 -- even if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton also runs.

"If he runs, I would support him," Kennedy told the Associated Press during an interview in his Boston office.

While Kennedy has frequently entertained Clinton, the New York senator, and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, he said his loyalty is to Kerry, his fellow Massachusetts Democrat and junior colleague.

Early polling shows Clinton and Kerry among the favorites for their party's nomination in 2008, but neither has said for sure whether they'll run.

Kennedy called Kerry, the 2004 nominee, an "able, gifted and talented political leader."


Kennedy said Kerry is "rather uniquely set up" with his seats on the Senate Finance and Foreign Relations committees, allowing him to hold sway over a broad range of congressional issues -- from the war in Iraq to the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina.

"I don't know what's on his mind, but I think he's got some time to make it up," Kennedy said.

Oh, my guess is that Kennedy has a pretty good idea of what's on Big John's mind.

I'd be interested in seeing a transcript of the interview, particularly the part about Kerry v. Clinton. It's hardly news that Kennedy would back Kerry if the latter wants to run again, but how did the issue of "even over Hillary" come up? If he brought it up himself, or even made a point of mentioning her (but not any other possible candidates) in response to the reporter's question, one would wonder if there isn't a message in the message. Maybe nothing more than the way the question was posed or the article was written.


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