Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The Kennedy Tribute

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) delivers a speech at the Democratic National Convention in which he signaled the passing of the torch to a new generation. (Photo: Preston Keres/Post)

DENVER -- From the second it was reported that Sen. Ted Kennedy, afflicted with brain cancer, would make the journey here to speak on behalf of Barack Obama, it was clear that it would be THE big moment of the convention's first night.

In the hours -- and even the minutes -- leading up to the so-called "Kennedy Tribute," which included a speech by his niece Caroline Kennedy and a short documentary by noted filmmaker Ken Burns, there were questions about whether the Massachusetts senator's health would allow him to speak.

"Nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight," said Kennedy. "I have come her tonight to stand with you, to change America."

Kennedy made clear -- as he did when he endorsed Obama earlier this year at American University -- that Obama represents the logical next generation of himself and his brothers.

"This November the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans," Kennedy roared. "The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on."

The power of Kennedy formally passing the baton to Obama should not be understated. While Kennedy is a frequent target for Republicans, he is a revered figure in the Democratic Party. And, with polling showing as many as half of those who supported Hillary Rodham Clinton are not currently planning to vote for Obama in the general election, such an appeal by Kennedy could serve as a tone-setter for the speeches to come this week.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 25, 2008; 9:59 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A Place for Chet Edwards in an Obama Cabinet?
Next: Michelle Obama's Message: We're Just Like You


Ted Kennedy's speech was a moving tribute to the best impulses of the Democratic party and was a perfect complement to the graceful and emotional speech by Michelle Obama. Kennedy did not upstage her, rather he introduced the themes she elaborated upon in her stirring remarks.

Both speakers provided important insights into why Barack Obama will make a strong president: he is down-to-earth, committed to democratic ideals like health care for all, a tireless champion of the less fortunate, and a loving father and husband.

Posted by: dee | August 26, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I've asked this in another Washington Post area as well. By any chance has the brain tumor or the resulting surgery caused Sen. Kennedy to go blind? In watching his address to the convention I noticed him feeling around on the podium for the microphone. After his speech he would extend his hand past the outreached hand of others and they would have to physically take his hand in theirs for him to find it. Yes, he had a printed speech in front of him at the podium and he would look out and wave at people in the audience. But was this acting? He was guided to the podium and guided to people greeting him afterwards. Can anyone provide an answer?

Posted by: watchingfromhome | August 26, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I am a huge Obama supporter and I am very nervous about the cool "at best reception that BO received last night. After Michelle's excellent speech the dems were suposed to errupt when our nominee was seen on the screen.
I will also state for full disclosure that I am an African American man, if BO would not have won the election and then been passed over for the VP slot we would have been furious. And if anyone would have suggested that we would come around and support Hillary would not have jus been insulting, they would have been stupid. BO supporters we need to stop bashing our disgrunteled sisters, stop putting "all" of the responsibility of unity on Hillary and show some respect!

Posted by: chicago | August 26, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Re: Sen. Ted Kennedy

I was moved to see a great man from a great Democratic family give a terrific speech last night. I agree that there is a "passing of the torch", but it was good to see that the new generation includes some strong women -- Maria Shriver and Caroline Kennedy and, yes, Michelle Obama. Ted Kennedy has had the strength to follow his own moral compass in the Senate for so many years. He is not known for doing the politically expedient thing. He would not be supporting Obama unless he truly believed in the candidate and his message. In short, Ted Kennedy is no Bill Clinton.

IMO it will be interesting to contrast Kennedy's appearance and message with what we see from the Clinton duo. There will surely be a 'sincerity factor' that is missing from their speeches. There is no way they will be able to match or eclipse the greatness of Sen. Kennedy last night.

- - - - - - -
Re: Earlier comments on this thread
CC, is there no comment moderation on this blog?!? Even when you're in Denver, there should be a way to make sure people are on point and commenting on the actual topic of discussion. And commenters cutting and pasting extended commentary from an earlier post should be out of the question. Seriously.

Posted by: Julia Kelly | August 26, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse


lets be clear

there obviously is one paid troll

if this little fantasy creature that everyone talks about ("the paid troll") which in anyone who has volunteered (and I volunteered for all three dems involved at this point last year Clinton, Obama and Biden) I never once saw the infamous "Paid Troll" lurking ina back office or getting a paycheck...or anywhere


but if there is one it seems to be you with all the cut and paste everyday...

being a troll does not mean just commenting on other commenters...

it is refutting the message of the actual blog.

so seem to be the only "troll"

on this site.

Posted by: dl | August 26, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Yea Nova Ted has a tumor, but what is Obama's excuse for being so...

Posted by: Novace | August 26, 2008 2:51 AM | Report abuse

Ted reprised his line from an earlier speech of his (which was in the video tribute) when he said that we need to "guarantee that every American -- north, south, east, west, young, old -- will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege."

He also repeated his line from January 28th, saying, "When John Kennedy thought of going to the moon, he didn't say no, it was too far, maybe we couldn't get there and shouldn't even try."

Overall, a great speech by the liberal lion in what's most likely his winter, especially considering the circumstances with his health and recent brain tumor/cancer surgery.

Posted by: NoVA Dem | August 26, 2008 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Anna that is well said. So simple it is brillant. But if Obama is guilty he won't... He does have the perfect stage to do so.

Posted by: Ormond | August 26, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

drmondo whispers these are clear voices. There is only one that is silent Obama. He denounced the muslim thing but not this? I guess it is not possible to debunk the truth. We have all heard this allegation. Your telling me Obama and his camp being so internet savy have not... Lets here him say it is not so. That all Americans including Hispanics can claim race discrimination like non-Hispanics...

Posted by: Anna | August 26, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Of course Kennedy's speech was the highlight with an introduction by Caroline who wears clothes like her mama did and has eyes like her daddy had. The only bad part is that with so much esteem for everyone, no one remembered to take McCain apart. Democrats need to realize there are people out there beside die hard Republicans who will vote for a man whose own party chose George W. over him last time we really want that 2nd choice? Pelosi was the only one who snapped at McCain and the major news networks let their talking heads drown her out.

Posted by: txajohnson | August 26, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse


What do my opinions have to do with "integrity" or "connection to reality" unless you are a paid disinformation troll whose assignment is to prowl major web sites and attempt to commit character assassination?

Are you the same cyber-terrorist who keeps posting those silly slanders against Chris Cillizza? Maybe WaPo will do a story about paid trolls who slander on media web sites and what entity is behind these acts of harassment.

Does Mike McConnell read this blog?

Posted by: scrivener | August 25, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

The first night of the D-convention was awesome, uplifting and inspiring. For the Republican dead-enders and Ronnie Raygun lovers, it's Mourning in America. Hate is all they've got.

Bush/Cheney/McCain. No More Years!!

Posted by: thebob.bob | August 25, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

jesus christmas, what a sad lot of Faux News wannabees most of you are ... as Bob Dole (who I like) once said in NH, "why don't you go crawl back under the rock you came out from under..."

Posted by: fendertweed | August 25, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

The previous posts sound like "kitchen sink" republican hatchet jobs. Americans have the same opinion about the economy, health care, war in Iraq, war on terror and civil rights as the Democratic nominee. Obama and Clinton both agree on major policy issues. Instead, these posts try to make a wedge between Clinton and Obama and some whisper campaign about discriminating against Hispanics? What, the muslim tag isn't working?
I'm not an Obama supporter, I'm a Progressive that sees Obama as a better choice than McCain. Clinton is my senator and she wouldn't have been my first choice either, but I would have supported her if she won the nomination. Had McCain stayed true to his convictions circa 2000 and earlier, I would have had a much harder choice to make. The fact that he's done a complete flip-flop on every major issue makes me believe he'll say whatever necessary to be elected. His embracing Bush (literally) and his positions seriously lowers my opinion of him. Bush and crew said his child was illegitimate, his wife was a drug addict and he was insane. Did McCain ask him to step outside or at least call him a lying sleaseball? No. He greased up and bent over in order to get the party's support for 2008. If he won't stand up for his family, he won't stand up for me.

Posted by: drmondo | August 25, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy's references to Obama were met with somewhat tepid applause. Same as with earlier speakers. These delegates are sending cues tonight. Their lukewarm reaction to mentions of Obama telegraph a message: They may not nominate Obama after all is said and done.
Only Fox News Channel is telling the whole story.
Posted by: scrivener

If they do nominate Obama, easily and overwhelmingly, will you admit that you're a ridiculous and completely ignorant little armchair fanatic? Or don't you have even that much integrity and connection to reality?

Scrivener and AsperGirl, sole members of the FOX Democratic Party.

Posted by: aleks | August 25, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's chance was stolen from her by men. Bill Clinton, Mark Penn, Terry McAuffle, etc.

Posted by: Aleks | August 25, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse


A moving tribute... yet a contrast to Obama. Kennedy: heartfelt, emotional, and emotive. Obama: soaring, empty rhetoric that lacks a soul. Sounds nice, but never really hits you in the gut, never really emotes.

Kennedy's references to Obama were met with somewhat tepid applause. Same as with earlier speakers. These delegates are sending cues tonight. Their lukewarm reaction to mentions of Obama telegraph a message: They may not nominate Obama after all is said and done.

Only Fox News Channel is telling the whole story. MSNBC is so biased that they have lost touch with realpolitik; they are suffering from a Stockholm Syndrome of news. CNN, not much different.

CC, try this experiment: Avoid your colleagues. Do not hang out with them; do not compare notes. Watch this convention and talk only to delegates, not to other scribes. Hang out only with delegates, different delegations. You may have a different impression of how this thing is going to turn out.

Gergen on CNN noted that two hours into the convention, there was still no emerging, overarching theme; a very loose, disjointed program. Certainly not the highly scripted and disciplined show that we've come to expect.

Posted by: scrivener | August 25, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Translation of Kennedy's Speech Tonight:

This November the Torch will be passed to the McCain Generation from the Bush people.
McCain represents a significant change for the Republican Party - now the Republican Party under McCain is completely in sync with the entire nation and McCain will lead this nation forward in this dangerous world.


Posted by: 37th&OStreet | August 25, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

The comments below were from another article but since Ted had his own notice included in this story I thought I post it here...


It is clear something uncool is going on between Obama and Hispanics. Don't tell me no one in the media like Chris has heard Obama discriminating against Hispanics. I have seen it posted enough including here on chris's own blog. I don't doubt Denver source heard about it in Denver of all places. And by the way that other thing he mentioned did happen also. I think the lady who was called Uncle Tom was named Cobb or something.

Posted by: Melting pot | August 25, 2008 10:23 PM

Is that just like an Obama zealot like Load to tell us there is nothing to see here, move along you stupid Hispanics. We need your vote not your scrutiny! We are not just votes. We have rights the same as you. Well now i'm hearing apparently not! Right Obama!

Posted by: Alondra | August 25, 2008 10:15 PM

Bilge, Denied his claim! Try denied him his right to protection from race discrimination. It's about being denied the same language non-Hispanics take for granted. Even Obama would know that he is not stupid just racist!

Posted by: Amowat | August 25, 2008 10:09 PM

Load of Bilge Water. You can obtain notices of this discrimination to Obama dating back years. All over the internet and including Denver. But it is a mystery why Obama continues to do nothing. You seem to know all about what I'm hearing here now...

Posted by: Denver Source | August 25, 2008 10:05 PM

Denver Source wrote

The example below is what I call a Substantiated rumor. You can say it did not happen, or is not happening but...
It did and it is.

My Comment:
So your "substantiated rumor" is that of a single whacko posting constantly on the internet an allegation about Obama relating to conduct which he did not engage in and over organizations over which he has no oversight, power or control.

The charge, as I understand it, is that a Union allegedly discriminated against a single person, he filed a complaint with two state of Illinois agencies and they denied his claim. So he is now claiming that the three of them are discriminating against him because he's hispanic and that Obama is discriminating against him because he did not intercede with the State agencies. That's not a legitimate charge against Obama. And you know it.

Heck, why not also blame him for the actions of any neo-Nazi groups in Illinois as well. After all, its a "substantiated rumor" that he hasn't taken any steps to go to the bank and confiscate their money.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 25, 2008 10:04 PM

The example below is what I call a Substantiated rumor. You can say it did not happen, or is not happening but...
It did and it is... Load

Posted by: Denver Source | August 25, 2008 9:57 PM

Denver Source wrote:

Load of Bilge Water Obama, UFCW, IDHR, EEOC. Interesting stuff!

My comment:

The paranoid ravings of a lunatic. Its a single guy who shows up on blog after blog attacking Obama because of some perceived discrimination involving Illinois and Obama's alleged refusal to intervene on his behalf because of an alleged unfairness by two STATE OF ILLINOIS organizations. Even assuming that its true, which is a big stretch considering the number of hispanics in Illinois and the political clout that they possess, it is nearly certifiable to suggest that this, in some way, rebounds on Obama, the United States Senator.

This isn't as credible as the wholly uncredible claims that Obama was not born in the United States.

Posted by: Load of Bilge Water | August 25, 2008 9:54 PM

Two Delegates from Chicago. One male one female both black. The male calls the famale a "Uncle Tom". The male is a Barack Obama supporter. The female is for Hillary. What do they have in common? Both were in Denver at this convention when it happened...

Posted by: Denver Source | August 25, 2008 9:49 PM

Load of Bilge Water Obama, UFCW, IDHR, EEOC. Interesting stuff!

Posted by: Denver Source | August 25, 2008 9:42 PM

Hey "Load":

Maybe Solis-Doyle was a MOLE and the "rift" with Hillary was just a subterfuge.

Well played!

Posted by: scrivener | August 25, 2008 9:27 PM

"Denver Source" wrote:

What I'm hearing is no one wanted to go near Obama. Nobody with anything to lose did. Hence Joe Biden.

My Comments:
From whom are you hearing this? The little voices in your head?

"Denver Source" wrote:
The fact is has been a substantiated rumor going around about Obama condoning discrimination against Hispanics in his home state. Between that and Hillary supportes chanting "Unity my Ass" it was a smart move to stay away.

My commnet:
Substantiated Rumor? What utter nonsense. If this were true then WHY would Patty Solis Doyle, the sister of a major Hispanic Politician in Illinois sign on to the campaign. The only people saying this have been a few right wingnuts on the internet without any support for this.

Posted by: Load of Bilge Water | August 25, 2008 9:15 PM

Hillary can ask all she wants. The fix is in. The roll call will proceed from Alaska to Wyoming. Take it to the bank.

Posted by: scrivener | August 25, 2008 9:11 PM

This info some of you might find interesting. It seems Hillary is being pressed to "stand up on her own" and suspend the the delegate roll count. Obama's camp really wants that to happen. Lets see if they get her to do it...

Posted by: Denver Source | August 25, 2008 9:00 PM

That has already been confirmed a no JakeD

Posted by: Denver Source | August 25, 2008 8:49 PM

Chis is clearly pro-Obama. Why would he ever want to hurt Barrack Obama with anything as damaging as that Sergio?

Posted by: Dana Gould | August 25, 2008 8:46 PM


Could you ask someone in the Obama campaign if Hillary made it to the last round of the vice presidential vetting process?

Posted by: JakeD | August 25, 2008 8:44 PM

He could start by adressing Obama's involvement in racism against Hispanics Ann. If there is some I want to know?

Posted by: Sergio | August 25, 2008 8:43 PM

Chris, I think all the negative Nancys are out in force this evening. Do you want to accuse Obama of kicking kitties too?

Posted by: Ann | August 25, 2008 8:37 PM

I have heard the same thing about Obama and him dicriminating against Hispanics.
I think it is odd Chris does not have his ear to the ground on this considering that there is a well ddocumented problem with Obama getting those votes. I keep hearing how important Hispanics are but not from Chris? There is something to this there has to be if he won't debunk it.

Posted by: Carol | August 25, 2008 8:35 PM

I see pelosi speaking.

think she could mail out extra copies of her books that aren't selling so us average americans can use them in the fireplace for some heat (albeit stinky ) this winter?

Pelosi says no to drilling how would she feel about all those unsold books she's sitting on?

How embarassing for her, barely been able to sell 3,000 copies.

Posted by: dano | August 25, 2008 8:32 PM

Umm, Chris:

With the last name "Edwards," I really don't think he was under serious consideration. This wasn't the year for an Edwards...

On to more pressing matters:





-- Hillary Clinton this morning, to her supporters

It's "Game On" for the Hillary putsch!

Hillary Clinton has given her tacit approval for her supporters to demand a real roll call, despite the talk of stopping the voting when they reach New York State.

Does anyone really believe the Hillary delegates from states that follow New York will allow the podium to stop the vote? It just won't happen, despite Hillary's faux entreaties.

As word spreads among delegates that the Obama people lobbied hard for a stop-the-vote deal, the strategy will have been sealed.

The Clintons are the most politically savvy people in the free world. Would they allow Hillary to be embarrassed? They surely know the delegates won't accede to an "acclamation proclamation" -- it's not an "acclamation" if a sizable number of delegates are hissing and booing. So the thinking here is that they must know they've got enough votes to rock the political world.

If they don't, and they try to end the roll call too soon, the PUMA-leaning delegates will seize control of the agenda. How can the Hillarians get their "catharsis" if they all don't get a chance to have their votes counted? It would be no catharsis for those who would be denied the chance to cast their votes.

If if was okay for JFK to take LBJ on his ticket when he really didn't want to, where does Obama get off passing over a rival who arguably garnered more votes than he did? Obama didn't do what he could and should have done to win. Now he'll pay the price for his hubris and poor judgment -- judgment he couldn't count on, as it very well may turn out.

The surprises may not end there. Given the rift in the party, it's possible that Hillary would throw her delegates to Al Gore, and return to the Senate in triumph to await her installation as majority leader, with a promised Supreme Court appointment in her future.

If this is the way it goes, it would be brilliant politics -- a vindication of the Clinton legacy and a historic milestone.

As for Obama; don't worry, he'll be in the White House, as VP. Not a bad consolation prize for a Senator with only three years under his belt.

BUT WILL THE ELECTION EVEN MATTER? Not when government-supported "vigilante injustice" squads are "gang stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:


Posted by: scrivener | August 25, 2008 8:29 PM

What I'm hearing is no one wanted to go near Obama. Nobody with anything to lose did. Hence Joe Biden. The fact is has been a substantiated rumor going around about Obama condoning discrimination against Hispanics in his home state. Between that and Hillary supportes chanting "Unity my Ass" it was a smart move to stay away.

Posted by: Denver source | August 25, 2008 8:20 PM

Posted by: Denver Source | August 25, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company