Ted Kennedy to Endorse Obama

ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: Senator Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., will endorse Barack Obama's presidential bid at an American University rally on Monday in Washington, a source close to Kennedy tells ABC News.The endorsement gives Obama a boost in the eyes of the Washington establishment, and comes after some prominent Democrats criticized Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and former president Bill Clinton for their campaign tactics before Obama's landslide victory in South Carolina.Caroline Kennedy, the late President John F. Kennedy's only daughter, announced her endorsement of Obama in an Op-Ed for the New York Times on Sunday.  Also joining the Senator and his niece, will be Kennedy's son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., who will also endorse Obama.Completing a strong endorsement day, Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison -- who famously declared Bill Clinton to be the nation's "first black president" -- will also endorse Obama on Monday, an Obama campaign source tells ABC News.In an October 1998 essay in The New Yorker, Morrison wrote: "Years ago, in the middle of the Whitewater investigation, one heard the first murmurs: white skin notwithstanding, this is our first black president. Blacker than any actual person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime."

The Morrison endorsement is expected to come via letter from Morrison to Obama that the campaign is releasing.

Back to Kennedy-palooza: in an exclusive "This Week" interview, Obama hinted that the senior senator from Massachusetts might on the edge of putting his official seal of approval on Obama's campaign.

"I'll let Ted Kennedy speak for himself. And nobody does it better. But obviously, any of the Democratic candidates would love to have Ted Kennedy's support. And we have certainly actively sought it," Obama said. "I will let him make his announcement and his decision when he decides it's appropriate."

Obama also spoke out on Bill Clinton’s involvement in his wife’s campaign after a week of mounting tension between the two camps.

In response to Bill Clinton’s comments comparing Obama’s South Carolina win to those of Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988, Obama suggested Bill Clinton’s "frame of reference" and racial politics may be outdated.

"His frame of reference was the Jesse Jackson races. That's when, you know, he was active and involved and watching what was going to take place in South Carolina. I think that a lot of South Carolinians looked at it through a different lens. . . As long as we were focused on those issues, we thought those would transcend the sort of racial divisions that we've seen in the past," he said.

The 55 percent won by Obama in South Carolina was more than double the 27 percent of the vote that went to Clinton, with Edwards coming in third at 18 percent.

But Obama did clarify, however, that he did not think Clinton’s comments this week were intended to negatively harm his campaign.

"I don't think they were trying to demonize me, but I do think that there is a certain brand of politics that we've become accustomed to, and that the Republican Party had perfected and was often directed against the Clintons, but that all of us had become complicit in, where we basically think anything is fair game," he said.

He also reiterated that the "slash-and-burn politics" that exists in Washington today "is not the Clintons' fault. It is all of our faults, in the sense that we've gotten into these bad habits and we can't seem to have disagreements without being disagreeable. So part of what I think we have to do is to set a new tone in politics. Not a naive one."

ABC News' Mary Bruce contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...