Caroline Kennedy Endorses Obama

On the heels of his big win in South Carolina on Saturday, Caroline Kennedy has endorsed Barack Obama in an OP/ED the N.Y. Times. She makes a very compelling argument for Obama, stating “My reasons are patriotic, political and personal, and the three are intertwined.”

All my life, people have told me that my father changed their lives, that they got involved in public service or politics because he asked them to. And the generation he inspired has passed that spirit on to its children. I meet young people who were born long after John F. Kennedy was president, yet who ask me how to live out his ideals.

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals and imagine that together we can do great things. In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.

We have that kind of opportunity with Senator Obama.

Kennedy goes on to say that “it isn’t that the other candidates are not experienced or knowledgeable,” it’s that “this year, that may not be enough,” and she harkens to the clarion call that “We need a change in the leadership of this country — just as we did in 1960.”

Kennedy says she believes that the “candidates’ goals are similar” and they “have all laid out detailed plans on everything from strengthening our middle class to investing in early childhood education.” So, in making her choice, the “qualities of leadership, character and judgment play a larger role than usual.”

Senator Obama has demonstrated these qualities throughout his more than two decades of public service, not just in the United States Senate but in Illinois, where he helped turn around struggling communities, taught constitutional law and was an elected state official for eight years. And Senator Obama is showing the same qualities today. He has built a movement that is changing the face of politics in this country, and he has demonstrated a special gift for inspiring young people — known for a willingness to volunteer, but an aversion to politics — to become engaged in the political process.

I have spent the past five years working in the New York City public schools and have three teenage children of my own. There is a generation coming of age that is hopeful, hard-working, innovative and imaginative. But too many of them are also hopeless, defeated and disengaged. As parents, we have a responsibility to help our children to believe in themselves and in their power to shape their future. Senator Obama is inspiring my children, my parents’ grandchildren, with that sense of possibility.

Kennedy’s endorsement is moving, though light on substance other than the ideals that Obama inspires. She ends by saying:

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans. 

Caroline’s cousin, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. endorsed Hillary Clinton in late November. The Trail claims that Caroline Kennedy has not “weighed in on a presidential race since her uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, sought the White House in 1980,” but in fact she did in 2004, when she campaigned for John Kerry.  

And now as The Trail notes, “All eyes now turn to the senior senator from Massachusetts, one of the most conspicuous of Democratic fence sitters, who is known to have become mighty annoyed with Clinton campaign tactics in recent weeks.”

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