In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. did away with his former protestations of having no interest in running for public office. He told her “at this point, I would run if there were an office open because I’m so distressed about the kind of country my children will inherit.”
(Pssst…Bobby, there *is* an office open, just waiting for you to claim it in 2008. The Oval Office.)
“I’ve always avoided politics because I didn’t want to make commitments that would take me away from raising my children.” Kennedy said. “But now America has changed so drastically that I’m asking myself: What’s going to be left of this country? I’m spending time with my kids, but maybe my time would be spent just as well if I tried to save the country.”
“I’ve tried to cling to the idea that I could be of public service without compromising my family life,” he told Oprah. “But at this point, I would run.”
At this point, I would run. Notice he says that not once, not twice, but three times in his talk with Oprah.
The interview, which appeared in the February 2007 issue of O Magazine, was the first time Kennedy has gone on the record saying that he is actively considering the possibilities of a run.
When asked if he would ever try for the Presidency, Kennedy certainly didn’t say no.
It is clear that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s time is now, and he seems to realize it. From his recent public statements, we would not be speculating to say that he is obviously giving the matter serious thought.
Like any good patriot, RFK Jr. cannot turn a deaf ear to the call of his country. He accurately senses that there is a time for home and family, and there is also a time to serve. When one’s draft number is called up, a soldier has no choice but to report for duty.
Trying to balance the strong pull he feels towards serving his country as an elected representative versus his family obligations as a husband and father of six is what seems to occupy his thoughts most in recent months. This is the essence of what he told Oprah when asked how he feels about a possible run:
Bobby: I’ve got six reasons running around this house. But at this point, I would run if there were an office open because I’m so distressed about the kind of country my children will inherit. I’ve tried to cling to the idea that I could be of public service without compromising my family life. But at this point, I would run.
Oprah: For what?
Bobby: I might run for the Senate or for the governor’s office (in New York). But my friends are in those offices, and I’m not going to run against them.
Oprah: Why didn’t you run for New York attorney general?
Bobby: Because I really didn’t want to be attorney general. I have the kind of life where I can take my kids on trips with me. I can involve them in my work. I’ve always avoided politics because I didn’t want to make commitments that would take me away from raising these children. But now America has changed so dramatically that I’m asking myself: What’s going to be left of this country? I’m spending time with my kids, but maybe my time would be spent just as well if I tried to save the country.
Oprah: Would you ever run for president?
Bobby: I don’t know what the future will bring. I really just try to live my life one day at a time and do what I’m supposed to do on that day. But if opportunities came up for me to run for office, I would probably do it. If that doesn’t happen, then I’ll happily continue doing what I’m doing.
PHOTO CAPTION: RFK Jr. with Oprah Winfrey and a friend’s falcon, from the recent O Magazine feature. Mr. Kennedy is a licensed master falconer and a lifelong falconry enthusiast.
We encourage you to check out the entire O Magazine feature on Robert F. Kennedy Jr.. In one of the most soul-searching and in-depth interviews he has given in recent memory, RFK Jr. opens up and talks about his thoughts on the 2008 election, his lifelong love for the environment, his family, and speaks candidly about how he struggled with drug addiction after the death of his father. Eight pages in length, it is packed with exclusive photos of Bobby at home, at work, and at play with his kids.
This interview is a great introduction to who Bobby really is and what he thinks about the greatest issues facing the world today. Read the Oprah Winfrey interview here (you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed to view this document in .PDF format. You can also right click the link above to download the file to your computer.)
Help us send a strong message of support to Bobby that we need him and will support him if he chooses to run. Please SIGN THE PETITION to draft Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for president in 2008 today, and be sure to email it to several of your friends!