The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Dan Balz's Take

44 The Obama Presidency

Obama in Boston in Advance of Kennedy Eulogy

By Michael D. Shear

OAK BLUFFS, Mass. -- President Obama and his wife flew on a private Gulfstream V jet to Boston late Friday night to be in place to deliver a eulogy that aides described as a deeply personal attempt to talk about Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's life and legacy.

Advisers said Obama largely crafted the eulogy himself, with some long-distance help from his speechwriters who had not accompanied him to Martha's Vineyard for his weeklong vacation.

Early this morning, Obama had a private, 10-minute meeting with Sen.
Kennedy's widow, White House officials said. The president emerged from his hotel at about 7:20 in drizzling rain and wearing an overcoat. He walked across the road to the Fairmont Hotel where he met with Mrs. Kennedy. About 15 minutes later, he walked back across the street, hands in his pockets.

"It is something that he obviously takes very seriously," Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said of the eulogy. "He's been working on it. He's obviously got a great team of speechwriters who he works with, but this is going to be a very personal statement."

Officials familiar with the eulogy said Obama will not offer "a bunch of anecdotes" about his relationship with the senator over the years.
Instead, he plans to focus on Kennedy's impact on the country, his humor and the "politics of meaning" that he practiced.

Senior adviser David Axelrod said the president will seek to shed some light on the special connection that Kennedy had with so many people in the country after more than 40 years in the legislature.

"He'll talk less about the extraordinary accomplishments, which are well known, and more about the extraordinary personal qualities that made him such an enduring and impactful figure in our politics and our history, and a beloved friend to so many -- including the president,"
Axelrod said.

The president's aides have recoiled at the suggestion that Obama or congressional Democrats might use Kennedy's death to advance the health care debate. In a briefing on Thursday, Burton said it was far too early to discuss that kind of political strategizing.

"He's not going to make a comment on what every single person does to memorialize or remember or talk about Senator Kennedy and his passing," Burton said. "There will be a time when it's appropriate to have discussions on different ramifications, but I don't think anybody thinks that now is it."

White House officials described Obama as personally affected by Kennedy's death, calling the late senator "a giant" in Obama's life.
That sentiment reflects the importance of Kennedy's endorsement of Obama over Hillary Clinton last year, but also several years of mentoring in the Senate.

Obama plans to return to Martha's Vineyard to complete his vacation immediately after the funeral service, though aides warned that bad weather from the approaching tropical storm might delay his return by several hours.

Posted at 12:33 AM ET on Aug 29, 2009  | Category:  44 The Obama Presidency
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The America we all love:)

Posted by: rentamob1 | August 30, 2009 12:41 AM

Obama is not leading. And he is turning out to be a weak salesman and explainer. Does he have a clue how betrayed many of his supporters feel right now? And I am not talking about the public option. I understand if that has to go. But Obama is not taking charge. He looks weak, and losing respect and credibility. He seems disconnected. When is he going to start leading? When is he going to take a position? I mean, he's not even teaching. I feel betrayed. He's not even funny or charming or inspirational anymore. Instead, he's detached, robotic, cocky and boring. And he gave a disappointing eulogy. I feel like he is drifting. I am worried health care will fail.

Posted by: mdargo | August 29, 2009 2:53 PM

Vale Ted, the Kennedy adored by the world.

Posted by: shepherdmarilyn | August 29, 2009 10:59 AM

One sexist paying tribute to another sexist.

When will American women just say "NO" and stop being a willing party to their own discrimination and mistreatment?

Posted by: mgd1 | August 29, 2009 10:58 AM

How disappointing it has been to see the Becks and Limbaughs and Palins wrench the debate away using such shameful tactics..
how about setting out the lies they are telling and go from there?

from what i see we all need to be thankful to PALIN for calling a spade a spade while everyone else tip toes around obama and his desire for too much candy. someone has to have the guts to stand up to him.

have you read some of the stuff dr. ezekialEMANNUAL written with regard to giving medications to children under three and adults over 55 based on their ability to be of worth to society? and some wonder why obama is being compared to hitler? have any of you really bothered to see who is advising obama?

half of them have described themselves as leninist, marxixt, etc.

the one who helped write the stimulus bill was the founder of the WEATHERMAN UNDERGROUND - a terrorist group to which Bill Ayers belonged.

some of you need to WAKE UP IN THERE!

when are some of you going dare look at what's really on the table here?

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | August 29, 2009 7:02 AM

now WHY on this green earth would obama be giving a eulogy for Ted Kennedy whom he hardly knew not to mention the more well deserved pillars of the community and this country that shared a meaningful part of Kennedy's life?

this is so commercialized it reeks.

Posted by: ChooseBestCandidate | August 29, 2009 6:56 AM

Anooptf, Don't worry about the STEAM left in Pres.Obama, there is enough left to easily carry him through 8 more years. He is a class act. I would never have dreamed that I would see the folly and downright slander and biggotry by his rivals and old southern red necks. Then, maybe this is what keeps him pumped up. I bet it's his friends and mentors like Ted Kennedy who taught him well. Thanks Ted, you've done well.

Posted by: eaglehawkaroundsince1937 | August 29, 2009 5:09 AM

Maverikk.. I totally agree with you. How disappointing it has been to see the Becks and Limbaughs and Palins wrench the debate away using such shameful tactics..

One of the many reasons I supported Obama was his tireless passion during the primaries and elections.. Images of him sleeping in his campign plane after hours and days of strenous campaigning were visible, yet he kept at it like a machine.. But once elected I have seen more pictures and heard more stories of him golfing/vacationing and generally enjoying the good life. I am not taking away his need to let off steam, but it looks soon as though there wont be much steam left.. I hope I am wrong..

Posted by: anooptf | August 29, 2009 3:28 AM

I am deeply saddened by the death of Mr. Kennedy. He was a champion of the poor and the working class people. He was instrumental in getting Mr. Obama elected as President, and we believed that our President will be a strong and a commanding leader. Instead we have seen him repeatedly take positions that were contrary to his electoral promises.

His greatest shortcoming was not establishing a set of parameters that would keep the health care debate focused so that the dialogue would result in a meaningful health care reform. Instead he took the hands off approach and allowed the loony Republicans and the right wingers to define the debate in their terms. Now, instead of debating the issues, the proponents of real change are having to dispel the myth that the Government is not in the business of putting grandma to death!!

This is a colossal failure of Mr. Obama, and when he recognized his mistake, if at all, he conducted a few town hall meetings and tried to change the tone of the debate, but the effort was too little and perhaps too late.

I would like to have seen my President make it a point to scour the nation and participate in hundreds of town hall meetings, if necessary to dispel the rumors and the misinformation propagated by the Republican traitors. I would have wanted Mr. Obama to visit all of the States representing the “Blue Dog” Democrats and have forced them to reverse the course that they have taken by colluding with the treacherous Republicans and their right wing stooges. Sadly, the President still appears to be hands-off and has not fully immersed in the greatest challenge of his life and for the lives of all of the Democrats, and more importantly of the people of this country.

Instead, at this critical moment, Our President decided that it was time for him to enjoy a vacation! Mr. Kennedy, if he were alive, would have wondered if he entrusted his life time's hard work and his legacy to provide affordable health care to all Americans in the hands of the right person! Wasn't Ms Clinton more committed and more devoted towards that goal?

I hope that the spirit of Mr. Kennedy penetrate into Mr. Obama and provide him the courage, strength, and conviction to succeed in this urgently needed reform. God bless the soul of Mr. Kennedy, and God bless the USA.

Posted by: Maverikk | August 29, 2009 2:46 AM

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