Camp Clinton Has Some Kennedys, Too

Three Kennedy siblings — from left, Kerry Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — stand with their mother, Ethel Kennedy, at New York’s State of the State address on Jan. 9. Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed naming New York City’s Triborough Bridge after Robert F. Kennedy. (AP Photo)

Kennedys for Clinton

She stands for Democrats and for the nation, these family members say.


By Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kerry Kennedy

January 29, 2008

This is a wonderful year for Democrats. Our party is blessed with the most impressive array of primary candidates in modern history. All would make superb presidents.

By now you may have read or heard that our cousin, Caroline Kennedy, and our uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, have come out in favor of Sen. Barack Obama. We, however, are supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton because we believe that she is the strongest candidate for our party and our country.

While talk of unity and compromise are inspiring to a nation wary of divisiveness, America stands at a historic crossroads where real issues divide our political landscapes. Democrats believe that America should not be torturing people, eavesdropping on our citizens or imprisoning them without habeas corpus or other constitutional rights. We should not be an imperial power. We need healthcare for all and a clean, safe environment.

The loftiest poetry will not solve these issues. We need a president willing to engage in a fistfight to safeguard and restore our national virtues.

We have worked with Hillary Clinton for 15 years (and in Kathleen’s case, 25 years) and witnessed the power and depth of her convictions firsthand. We’ve seen her formidable work ethic, courage in the face of adversity and her dignity and clear head in crisis. We’ve also seen her two-fisted willingness to enter the brawl when America’s principles are challenged. Her measured rhetoric, political savvy and pragmatism shield the heart of our nation’s most determined and most democratic warrior.

She has been an uncompromising and loyal ally for each of us in our battles to protect the environment and to promote human rights around the world and juvenile justice in America. Hillary is a problem-solver, listening to people and then achieving solutions by changing attitudes.

Her transformational leadership was on display when she ran for the Senate seat in New York that had been held by our father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. She faced rabid, heavily funded attacks from the far right and the challenge of prevailing in traditionally Republican upstate New York. Traveling with her, we watched admiringly as she persuasively articulated an inspiring and unifying vision rooted in American values and history. Then, through patience, hard work, leadership and political acumen, she transformed many of those rock-solid conservative counties into solid Democratic strongholds.

We look forward to working beside her in the general election as she uses those same talents to change once rigid opinions and political affiliations across the nation.

Like our father, Hillary has devoted her life to embracing and including those on the bottom rung of society’s ladder — giving voice to the alienated and disenfranchised and working to alleviate poverty and injustice, while urging that we cannot advance ourselves as a nation by leaving our poorer brothers and sisters behind.

She’s been an equally effective champion for human rights and for women’s rights, a worldwide cause that will profit enormously by her elevation to the presidency. She has worked for peace in Northern Ireland and fought to bridge religious, racial and ethnic divides from Bosnia to the Middle East to South Africa. She has shown a rare understanding that American values can only be exported by moral leadership, by a strong home economy and by a detailed understanding of the history and cultural backdrops of the nations we engage.

She understands, as our current administration does not, the uses of power. The world, she says, is hungry for U.S. leadership but will not accept our bullying. She knows the difference and will reestablish America’s lost prestige and moral authority.

Hillary Clinton’s political career has been centered in comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable and reminding Americans what it means to be American. As a young lawyer, she focused on children’s issues and legal aid. As first lady of Arkansas, she brought healthcare to rural areas and helped reform the state’s lagging education system.

As first lady, she courageously took on healthcare reform. When a massive propaganda campaign by Big Pharma and the radical right derailed her efforts, she didn’t give up. She helped create the nationally acclaimed Children’s Health Insurance Program. That kind of persistence in pursuit of our highest ideals is the brand of leadership America now requires. Inspirational leadership comes in many forms.

Seldom has history confronted America with such daunting challenges: a catastrophic foreign policy that has cost us our international leadership and aggravated the threat of terror; a misbegotten war that is squandering precious American lives and treasure; a healthcare system that leaves millions of Americans without coverage; irresponsible corporate power that is corroding our democracy and outsourcing our jobs, aggravating global warming and other environmental crises and reducing our economy to shambles.

We need a leader who is battle-tested, resilient and sure-footed on the shifting landscapes of domestic and foreign policy. Hillary Clinton will move our country forward while promoting its noblest ideals.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is an environmental advocate and Kerry Kennedy is a human rights activist.

Copyright 2008, The Los Angeles Times. 



Filed under climate change, election 2008, environment, global warming, hillary clinton, JFK, John F. Kennedy, media, politics, president kennedy, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys, Uncategorized

20 responses to “Camp Clinton Has Some Kennedys, Too

  1. Di

    To quote – “we should not be an imperial power” yet we need to “engage in a fistfight”. Hmmm…. violence, use of force – doesn’t that sound a bit imperial?

  2. Matt

    There’s something misguided in the statement that “we” want a president willing to engage in a fistfight to safeguard our national virtues. I thought we wanted a president to be above the fight ring of politics. Unfortunately, Hillary/Bill Clinton have shown themselves to be only too willing to engage in a fistfight to get their own way. It presents two immature people who have a sense of entitlement — and god help anyone who gets in their way.

    If this is supposed to win support for the plural Clintons, I think it backfired.

  3. austin4hillary

    Great blog!


  4. Zack

    “We need a president willing to engage in a fistfight to safeguard and restore our national virtues.”

    No, we do not need fist fights. Fist fight will cause divisiveness. Our national virtues can be restored only if we all work together and not by fist fights. Further, a leader who will not compromise will not succeed in convincing the Congress and the Senate to pass important bills.

    Therefore, we need an effective leader like Barack Obama who can work across the aisle and help pass important bills in the Congress and the Senate. We need someone who can unite us after 16 years of bitter polarization.

    “She has worked for peace in Northern Ireland and fought to bridge religious, racial and ethnic divides from Bosnia to the Middle East to South Africa.”

    That may have been the case in some places, but the recent race, religion, and gender issues injected into the primaries by her, her husband, and her top advisors clearly state otherwise. She is insincere and will do and say anything to win.

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  6. Delia

    These Kennedys would have us believe the criticism of Obama – that he is too lofty, too intellectual, too naive, etc. Well – isn’t that what they used to say about JFK?

    I used to have a poster of RFK on my wall with his famous quote: ‘Some men see things as they are and say, ‘why?’ I dream of things that never were and say, ‘why not?’’ – which he borrowed from George Bernard Shaw, no less! Intellectual? Yes. Lofty? Yes. Naive? No.

    These people do not realize the trouble that America is in. This is not some funk that can be corrected by fistfighting in the trenches.

  7. Mark

    I am mystified by these endorsements. The only political speaker who ever brought me to tears besides Obama was RFK Jr. in 2006. In his speech, he pointed out that the Republicans were 95% corrupt, while the Democrats were only 70% corrupt. And RFK is of course an inspiring environmentalist.

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager is the President of Burson Marsteller, a company that makes Massey Coal and Exxon Mobil look like good guys. BM represents cigarette, armament, and fossil fuel companies, concentrating on distorting their records and creating doubt in the public’s mind. It doesn’t get worse than that.

    The RFK kids said in their Clinton endorsement that we can’t have leadership that tolerates torture. Didn’t they notice Hillary’s waffling on the Mukasey confirmation?

    I’m confused. I think all the Kennedys read the paper. Something is going on here that is beyond me.

  8. Taylor

    Judging by what they said in their explanation,they should have endorsed Barack Obama.

  9. Linda

    Thank you, Kathleen, Robert, and Kerry Kennedy, for your courage and clear-mindedness! The country needs Democrats winning this fall, and it needs a President who will get the job done: Hillary Rodham Clinton!

  10. George Orwell

    just as the babyboomers ushered a new way at looking at ourselves, the young of this country is doing the same now. there’s a new wind blowing into town.

    you can stick to what hasn’t worked or you can see if you still posses the american spirit and know we need something new as a government.

    RFK’s kids endorcing hillary proves that there is a fear that we could really change. too bad the fear isn’t towards the fact that we may not change. open your eyes people!!!

  11. No Fighting In The War Room

    I can not understand how the family of a man of peace like RFK, while admitting the nation is wary of divisiveness, feel the best way to address that very divisiveness is to “engage in a fist-fight”. The extraordinary response that Sen. Obama has received from Democrats and Republicans show that the nation is ready to move on.

    After reading the entire op-ed in the LAT, it is almost as though Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kerry Kennedy have a score to settle and they come across as all too pleased to employ the Clintonian “end justifies means” brand of politics to settle that score. Their endorsement left me sad and disappointed.

  12. Joe

    I assume that they condone the Clinton habit of hitting below the belt?

  13. Katherine Futrell

    If you’re tired of the fistfights and want handshakes, how about it then? Hillary offered her hand and Obama snubbed her last night at the SOTU speech. So then by that reasoning, you should go with Hillary because she’s a class act and doesn’t let Teddy’s support for Obama keep her from being classy and offering handshakes!

    Obama is yet another divider in phony uniter clothing just like George W. Bush.

  14. Nicki

    Obama is a poetic whiner. Hillary Clinton is a doer. Bill needs to go home and let her stand on her own as she is very capable.

    If Obama whines “poor me” in a campaign, what will he do when he faces a tough world outside of the campaign?

  15. Lonny

    And WHO was that boo-hooing in New Hampshire, Nicki?

    Poor Hillary. Everybody was ganging up on her. So did she fight back with both fists? Hell no – she cried like a little girl. I don’t want a weepy president.

    Hillary has proven time and time again that she cracks under pressure, gets angry when her wisdom is questioned, votes it wrong every time, and most of all, she cant’ stand the heat.

    Well you know what they say: if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

  16. Frahnkensteen

    The best way for democrats to get things done is to sucessfully elect a democratic president without galvanizing the anti-Clinton vote that could cost democrats the Senate. Senators in vulnerable states back Barack. Hillary’s great, but Bill’s a problem that is not going away. He was always great at fighting, but not so much at winning lasting change. Bill’s antics landed us in eight years of Bush after congress had already turned thoroughly Republican. Glad Bill is testing Obama’s mettle. (Would rather Bill hadn’t acted quite as he has.) Now let’s move on to the general election with a candidate whose message and character inspires voters from across the aisle in a positive, rather than a negative way. Let’s have Bill be a democratic statesman again, not a divisive co-president. To scoff at inspiration is to mock the very quality that could attract a plurality of voters.

    Bobby, you want to beat people up to convince them that torture is wrong? Not very inspirational. Not a winning message in the general election.

  17. John

    How appropriate that the Robert Kennedy wing of the Kennedy clan should refer to “fistfights,” while the daughter of the graceful John Kennedy and his brother, Ted Kennedy, the Lion of the Senate, now ennobled with age and a lifetime of public service (whatever one thinks of his positions), should focus on Obama’s inspirational qualities and decry the toxic gutter-fighting tactics which have marked the Clinton’s campaign.

    It is obvious to anyone not absolutely made rabid by partisan politics that Obama is a decent young man inspired to restore American politics (and policies — eg. restoration of habeas corpus and the rule of law, the end of torture and preemptive war, etc.) to the moral high ground while the Clintons are amoral street fighters who will do anything to achieve their personal goals. Simply put, Obama is a gentleman, a nice person, while the two-headed monster that is “Billary” obviously is not.

    Even though I am an old school Republican (currently of the Ron Paul persuasion), I can vote for Mr. Obama without any misgivings. There are no circumstances which would ever compel me to vote for Mrs. Clinton. The Democrats would do well to keep this in mind as they go through their nomination process because I do not think I am alone in holding these sentiments.

  18. Chrisy

    There are those of us who are Catholic Democrats who will not vote for Obama because he supports partical birth abortion. What about the civil rights of the infant in the womb? That is right, even though they are half way out of the womb to men like Obama they can still be aborted. We as Catholics fight against the taking of all innocent life. That includes infants in the womb who are being born to the time we die. Our church teaches that any Cathoic who would vote or support any candidate who voted and is for partical birth abortion is a sin and we shouldn’t be able to take holy communion.

    Hilary if you go to ontheissues. org voted aganist partical birth abortion. She is not for babies who are being born and are half way out of the womb to be aborted. She is still pro-choice but at least she is not for partical birth abortions like Obama.

    Someone asked why RFK’s kids might support Hilary over Obama? I haven’t talked to them personally so I can only guess as they too are Catholic and their father was a strong Catholic who believed and followed the teachings of our church. That is why RFK Sr fought so hard for the issues that were morally right for him. I think they are supporting Hilary because they can not support a man who would support the murder of innocent infants coming out of the womb as in a partical birth abortion. I think they want to keep their good standing in the Catholic church and not loose their grace or the right to receive Holy Communion by supporting a man who is for the murder of the most innocent and is fighting against the evil of partical birth abortions that Obama supports.

    Their father fought for the civil rights of all people. He fought against what was morally evil in this country. I think if he was still alive that he would not support someone who supported and was for partical birth abortion. We would join many of us Catholics who have the courage to speak out against the evil of any innocent life being taken.

    I am proud of them for not supporting Obama who not a good moral man. Anyone who supports the murder of the infant who is half way out the womb is not a good moral man and is no Robert Kennedy who fought for what is morally right in this country and that is the Civil rights of all to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Maybe they felt after looking at the two candidates that Hilary was a better person morally. Who knows?

    I can tell you that many Catholics will never vote for Obama because of his support of the murder of innocent life.

    Those Catholics who support Obama knowing his support of partical birth abortion have to live with the knowledge that they are disobeying the teachings of our church and could risk being told they can’t take Holy Communion anymore.

  19. Chrisy


    I noticed you say you are an old time Republican. Who supports Ron Paul.

    Tell me as a Republican what do you like about Obama?

    Is it his support for partical birth abortion? You know when the child is half way out of the womb and is still aborted? I thought Repbublicans were conservatives and agree with us Catholics that partical birth abortion was evil.

    Though I know that during election time candidates try to hide their voting record on this issue because they know that most Americans are against the evil practice of partical birth abortion which Obama supports and voted for.

    I know he gives a good speech. He does motivate people and inspires people but I wonder how much of what we see is the real man and is not just spin and once elected the real mask will come off and we won’t like what we see.

    How many times will the American people fall for some slick poltician who promises the world, the moon and the stars(knowing that he is lying the whole time he is promising all these wonderful things) only to find out once the election is over they have elected an sorry excuse for a man. I think of Bush on that one. I even know Republicans who said that they voted for Bush thinking he was one way and then elected they found out he wasn’t like the way he presented himself to be. I see Obama as like that.

    I think Ron Paul is pretty honest and what you see is what you get. I can understand a Republican supporting Ron Paul and Ron Paul is against partical birth abortion, against the war in Iraq, and more libertarin in his views. I don’t understand why a Republican would vote for Obama who for big government that Ron Paul is against?

    There is nothing wrong with having passion. We celts have a lot of passion and enjoy a good fight every now and then. There is nothing wrong with a good honest fight where the issues are discussed. I mean all the issues and not just some of the issues. For to long within my party (the Democratic) we have been silent while one group of people has had their Civil Rights violated. We have not taking the morally right stand but have allowed Repubicans to hijack that issue and that I think is hurting our party from winning elections. We need to take that issue and be the party that fights for the Civil rights of all and fight against the murder of all innocent life.

    John, what do you like about Obama as an old time Republican?

  20. austin4hillary

    All of you when Clinton cried,is not sincer,is to political. Her mood is affected by the media. Wait and see when Obama srews up once the media will pressure. Clinton can handle it better. She has more experience and saw Bill run the White House.

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