Ted Kennedy to speak tonight?

The ailing Senator is now widely expected to at least make an appearance as he's honored at the convention, and maybe even to address the crowd.

Published August 25, 2008 11:09PM (EDT)

DENVER -- Tonight, here at the Pepsi Center, the Democratic Party will be paying tribute to one of its longtime stars, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy. Over the past two days, buzz has been growing that the ailing Senator would make the trip west for the tribute, and might even be well enough to speak. It's now been confirmed that, at the very least, Kennedy is in town. And, on top of that, it seems likely he'll take the stage.

In an interview, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. confirmed to Fox News' Chris Wallace that his uncle is in Denver. And Politico's Ben Smith, citing an unnamed Democrat "familiar with [Kennedy's] plans," reports that, unless there's a sudden change in his health, Sen. Kennedy will speak.

In his convention preview, now up here on Salon, our very own Walter Shapiro has a sharp take on the symbolism that will be involved if Kennedy does address the crowd:

[T]he Clintons -- for all their successes and endurance -- have never been the royal family of the Democratic Party. For nearly half a century, that honor has belonged to the Kennedys. At the 1992 Democratic convention, the torch was symbolically passed in a film clip unearthed from the archives that showed a teenage Bill Clinton, representing Arkansas in Boys State, shaking hands at the White House with JFK. Monday night... will be the moment when the last survivor of the Camelot generation formally blesses Barack Obama as the embodiment of liberal dreams in the 21st century.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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