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The Rundown

8 a.m. ET: The mourning of Edward Kennedy continues today, as official remembrances mix with behind-the-scenes negotiations over his Senate seat and talk of moving forward.

The Boston Globe paints a picture of Thursday's procession: "Union carpenters holding hard hats, immigrants from across the globe, students with backpacks, office workers in suits, and retirees who stuffed envelopes for his first campaign four decades ago all came out for a miles-long salute that seemed to capture in its multitudes the breadth of Kennedy’s connection to his home state." The New York Times says "the late-summer day was cool and almost impossibly bright, while the Associated Press reports that "many of the people who took time out to pay their respects to ... Kennedy say they did so because he had made time for them at some point during his 47 years in office."

Today, Kennedy will lie in repose at the John F. Kennedy Library until 3 p.m. A "Celebration of Life" takes place at the same venue at 7 p.m., with a speaking roster that includes Kennedy friends and family as well as Chris Dodd, John Kerry, John McCain, Orrin Hatch and Vice President Biden. A new stop has been added to Saturday's itinerary -- between the morning Mass in Boston and the evening burial service at Arlington National Cemetary, Kennedy's motorcade will proceed by the Senate steps, where congressional aides can pay their respects.

On the subject of staff, The Washington Post examines Kennedy's unmatched coterie of current and former aides, what Kerry calls "the farm system for the Democratic Party for a generation. " USA Today also takes a look at Kennedy's staff alumni: "From Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes to the hundreds of lesser-known former Kennedy staffers and campaign volunteers who followed him into public service, Kennedy left a mark on government, in academia, at non-profits and service groups across the nation."

On the question of succession, support continues to mount among prominent Democrats for a change in state law that would allow Deval Patrick to name a temporary replacement for Kennedy. The Globe editorialized in favor of a change today, arguing that the 2004 law barring such appointments was a bad idea and "sticking with a bad position for the sake of consistency or to save face would hardly serve the residents of Massachusetts." The Wall Street Journal says the push for an appointment is "infuriating Republicans and dividing Democrats," though Democrats -- the important ones, at least -- don't seem particularly divided anymore. But it may be worth recalling that the recent history of Senate appointments, articularly in Illinois and New York, has not been so illustrious, and some lawmakers want to ban the practice nationwide.

The Massachusetts secretary of state has proposed either Jan. 19 or 26 as the date for a special election to fill Kennedy's seat. The prospective Democratic field at this point is led by Martha Coakley and several House members, chiefly Steven Lynch and Michael Capuano. On the Republican side, Kerry Healey, the former Lt. Gov, is said to be considering the race. Vicki Kennedy is not expected to run, but the intentions of Joseph Kennedy II are less clear. The Boston Herald reports, "one source said he’s recently discussed running for the seat," but then quotes a family friend saying that he is happy with his life and uninterested in a return to politics.

What's next for the health-care debate? Steven Pearlstein recalls a little-known chapter in domestic policy, when Ted Kennedy declined an offer from Richard Nixon to create a form of universal health insurance in 1971. Pearlstein's point? That Democrats should take half a loaf on reform now rather than wait for a better opportunity that may never come. "The simple lesson from this story -- and certainly the one Kennedy himself drew -- is that when it comes to historic breakthroughs in social policy, make the best deal you can get, leaving it to subsequent generations to perfect," he writes. (AP looks at a darker chapter in the Nixon/Kennedy relationship, when Nixon suggested using planted Secret Service agents to dig up dirt on Kennedy.)

Pearlstein lays out what a compromise bill looks like today, and the Los Angeles Times points out an underreported fact -- "Democrats and Republicans actually agree on a bundle of proposals that could make medical insurance better for millions of Americans." Politico cites a Republican poll suggesting that Obama's current health-care push is even less popular than Bill Clinton's was in 1994, though the dynamics of the two debates are so different that it's not clear whether those numbers are particularly instructive.

Other news is inching back into the limelight. The Washington Post looks closely at the decision-making process inside the Obama administration that led to Eric Holder's appointment of a prosecutor to probe CIA interrogation practices, a move that "illustrates Holder's influence in the new administration and sheds light on the emerging and delicate relationship between the White House and the Justice Department." The New York Times describes how "long-simmering conflicts between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department burst into plain view this week." Apparently the White House has been "frustrated" with Holder, Leon Panetta and Greg Craig, all at the same time. Who's left?

By Ben Pershing  |  August 28, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Congress already knows who they want to fill his seat, its his philanthropy, 5th seat, that the filabustering is over. If those philanthropic interests, South Carolina, can't get enough votes from other congressmen then it will go to succession, and here in my ward, Sen. Kennedy was the sole comptroller for all philanthropic activity, now is the time to dot all your i's, and cross your t's.

Posted by: edtroyhampton | August 28, 2009 2:27 PM


Posted by: MassAppeal | August 30, 2009 10:05 PM


Posted by: MassAppeal | August 30, 2009 10:07 PM

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