Endorsing Obama, Kennedy goes after the Clintons

Kennedy says that Obama will be ready on "Day 1."

Published January 28, 2008 6:13PM (EST)

As Sen. Ted Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama today, he also made it clear why he's not endorsing Hillary Clinton.

Although Kennedy called Clinton a "friend" and said she has been "at the forefront on issues ranging from healthcare to the rights of women around the world," he also made a number of not-so-veiled stabs at the Clintons. Kennedy said that Obama refuses to be "trapped in the patterns of the past," that he "cares passionately about the causes he believes in without demonizing those who hold a different view," that he's "tough-minded" but "also has an uncommon capacity to appeal to the better angels of our nature."

While Bill Clinton has argued that Obama's record on Iraq is far more mixed than Obama has suggested, Kennedy said that the voters know "the truth" about the matter. Kennedy stole one of the Clinton campaign's lines -- ready to lead on "Day 1" -- and applied it to Obama. And then, equating Obama with his late brother, Kennedy reminded the overflow crowd at American University that another former Democratic president -- Harry Truman -- once urged John F. Kennedy to "be patient" about seeking the White House.

By Tim Grieve

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

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton War Room