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Kennedy: Time Was Right for Obama

When Ted Kennedy sought a candidate to endorse as the 2008 presidential campaign began, he sorted through the possibilities. One young, relatively unknown prospect became his focus amid the longtime senators that would also vie for the Democratic nominiation.

The Post's Dan Balz and co-writer Haynes Johnson write in their new book Battle for America 2008:

Kennedy believed the longer Obama stayed in the Senate, the less chance he would ever have to become president. According to a source familiar with their conversation, he told Obama, "The votes you're going to have to cast, whether it's guns or whether it's abortion or whether it's any one of the hot-button items, finishes you as a national political leader in this country. You just can't do it. It's not possible."

Kennedy admired Clinton but felt she was wrong for the times. A successful candidacy in 2008 had to be an outside-Washington effort. You couldn't be a Washington insider and run effectively; Clinton appeared to be positioning herself in just the wrong way. Kennedy believed that the time was right for Obama and that Clinton was, as an associate put it, "the past."

Read the rest of today's third installment of Battle for America 2008 here, the story of the Kennedys throwing their support behind Barack Obama. Information on the entire series, all three installments and the book can be found here.

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  August 4, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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