Et tu, Teddy?

Kennedy says he may not support Kerry in a repeat White House run.

By Tim Grieve
Published December 12, 2006 1:46PM (EST)

The New York Post's Page Six had a piece the other day on a dinner John Kerry had with donors in Washington. It quoted a source who knew someone who was there as saying that Kerry had started off by asking his dinner guests whether he should run again in 2008. "When no one answered," the Post said, Kerry launched into a talk extolling the virtues of such a repeat candidacy.

We didn't put much stock in the story when it appeared -- it was on the gossip page, it came from someone who wasn't at the dinner, and it quoted others who had different recollections of the event -- but the Boston Globe is up today with a more directly sourced piece that underscores the lack of enthusiasm for a Kerry rerun.

As the Globe's Rick Klein writes, even Kerry loyalist Ted Kennedy is making it clear that he won't necessarily be on board if his Senate colleague from Massachusetts makes another run for the White House. Kennedy said as early as 2005 that he'd back Kerry in another White House run, but he says now that he was under the impression that Kerry was definitely running again. Now that Kerry has pushed back his decision date into sometime early next year -- he'd probably like some more distance from that Iraq joke of his -- Kennedy says he's not sure that Kerry will run and apparently feels free to reconsider his earlier commitment.

"I have no plans of supporting anyone else at this juncture," Kennedy tells Klein. But then he adds: "I'm also not going to just wait indefinitely until he's made a judgment or a decision."

As Klein writes, the loss of Kennedy's support would be a "huge psychological blow" to Kerry, who relied on the senior senator at a time when few others gave him much of a shot at the Democratic nomination in 2004. We don't know anyone who gives him much of a shot now, either. Kennedy says that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are "ringing the bells" with the voters and would be "formidable" candidates if they decide to run.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2008 Elections John F. Kerry D-mass. Ted Kennedy