For those not in the know: Kathleen K. Townsend is Bobby's daughter and the former LG of Maryland; Kerry is Bobby Jr.'s daughter...


Los Angeles Times
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.

More after the jump...

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.

In answer to someone's question on Knoxviews earlier today: that's how you support Sen. Clinton as a liberal.

Elrod's picture

Bobby Jr good; Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, not so good

Bobby Kennedy Jr. is a good endorsement for Hillary. He's a genuine progressive and environmentalist. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is a DLC-style Democrat who ran the worst campaign in the history of Maryland for Governor in 2002. She LOST Maryland. I wouldn't tout that endorsement. I don't know much about Kerry Kennedy.

Carole Borges's picture

I think that show the Kennedys do not rubber stamp anyone

They vote their own choices. I think that's great!

bizgrrl's picture

Thanks, Eleanor. Bobby

Thanks, Eleanor.

Bobby Kennedy Jr. is a good endorsement for Hillary. He's a genuine progressive and environmentalist.

He is a great endorsement for Clinton. He is an amazing and hardworking person. Impressive!

gonzone's picture

Celebrity Endorsements

Celebrity endorsements are the cult of personality politics cranked up to 11. No issues, no discussion.

Who will Paris Hilton endorse!?!?

(not directed at you Eleanor, just a general observation)

bizgrrl's picture

I wouldn't call Robert

If not directed at Eleanor, then why mention it when no "celebrities" are previously mentioned.

I wouldn't call Robert Kennedy Jr. a celebrity. He works hard for his causes.

Bbeanster's picture

All the Kennedys -- and all

All the Kennedys -- and all their kin, including the Shrivers and, god help us, the Skakels ((link...)) are celebrities.

That's why their endorsements are news, either way.

gonzone's picture

I have

I have the ultimate respect for many of the Kennedy's, including Robert Jr., and the good work they do but they are still celebrities in the eyes of the media.

I mean, it's not like they've wanted to know who I'm endorsing and putting THAT on the national news!

Sarge's picture

Probably Giuliani, he needs

Probably Giuliani, he needs another woman in his life .

bizgrrl's picture

Yes, by definition they

Yes, by definition they would be celebrities, as would Obama, Clinton, Kerry, McCain, MLK III, etc. etc. etc. Thus, the majority of endorsements are irrelevant and most are voting for celebrities.

rikki's picture

Democrats believe that

Democrats believe that America should not be torturing people, eavesdropping on our citizens or imprisoning them without habeas corpus or other constitutional rights.

That is not an appropriate issue for a Presidential campaign. It's an appropriate issue for a special prosecutor or a trial in front of the U.S. Senate.

All this rhetoric about Hillary being a great fighter for liberal causes does not jibe with her record as a Senator. She happily sent poor people off to die in a lie of a war, and her health-care plan is simply forcing people to buy health insurance. She has done more to advance the status quo than to change it.

bizgrrl's picture

Are you campaigning for

Are you campaigning for President? I hear you already have one vote.

rikki's picture

Someone wants me dead?

Someone wants me dead?

Hildegard's picture

Word, Rikki. I really admire

Word, Rikki.

I really admire and respect RFK Jr. The poster from his talk at UT a few years ago hangs in my office. But he's a New York Democrat and a friend of the Clintons, so his endorsement neither surprises nor impresses me.

I cannot stand Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. So that pretty much cancels any impact this endorsement has to elevate my low regard for Hillary Clinton, whose record as a senator reads less like that of a liberal leader and more like that as someone calculating her course for a presidential run.

But that was a really nice endorsement. I wonder who wrote it, and how long after Bill Clinton's phone call it took to compose.

captainkona's picture

And rikki Nails It....

Homeland Security Act - 2002 = YES

Prevention of Gun Confiscation Act - 2006 = NO

Ban Cluster Weapons - 2006 = NO

Start Iraq War - 2002 = YES
(In her defense, she was fed the same BS intel the rest of congress was, but she's yet to admit the mistake)

Patriot Act - 2001 = YES

SCHIP - 2007 = NV

Real ID funding - 2007 = YES

Perhaps some of the Clintonistas can tell me why they complained about these issues then and don't seem to care now?

"The mind is like a parachute, it only works when it's open."

Eleanor A's picture

Because Republicans are

Because Republicans are much, much, much worse? Because we may likely kick ourselves for four years if we nominate some idealist for the Dem candidacy, and he either loses his cool when the GOP starts up the personal-destruction machine, or goes to pieces when they start up the election-stealing machine? Because no matter what some people keep asserting, there's a world of difference between HRC and George Bush?

rikki's picture

to lose or to not lose?

Because we may likely kick ourselves for four years if we nominate some idealist for the Dem candidacy

This is the same line of reasoning that got Kerry the 2004 nomination. It's also the same line of reasoning that led Gore to run away from his ideals in 2000, driving idealists to Nader. Perhaps fear of the right-wing attack machine is not the best foundation for victory.

In 2008, Dems have a candidate who is doing what could not be done in 2004: getting new voters to the polls. On top of that, Republicans are fractured and demoralized. Dems are already playing with fire by ignoring their 2006 mandate. How long can they take Dem voters for granted and still have any credibility?

This year Dems can play to win, and you still want to play to not lose?

Eleanor A's picture

Sure. I think I have every

Sure. I think I have every right to my opinion, which is that neither Obama nor Edwards will do well in standing up to the GOP attack machine.

I don't think drawing comparisons to Gore or Kerry are necessarily accurate. Kerry let a lot of people down, although I can't understand why you think that means HRC will. I'd hazard - and I have a lot more thoughts on the issue - that Gore lost more because he went into a panic over Monicagate and didn't listen to anyone's advice on what he ought to do, including campaign in Tennessee. Or was there some question that someone else would be nominated in 2000 who might have done a better job?

Eleanor A's picture

You know, you've lost me on

You know, you've lost me on that "happily" phrase. I don't think any Democrat "happily" voted for anything to do with that war. Also, you're seriously suggesting that the U.S. government offer free health care to anyone who needs it?

How are you going to pay for it? Specifics, please, not just more happy talk.

Hildegard's picture

Well, you got him there. HRC

Well, you got him there. HRC wasn't happy about it.

And why is it that when we talk about spending trillions on a war, people shrug because that's the cost of war, but if we talk about spending on health care for people who can't afford it, the response is, "Jesus Christ, how we gonna pay for THAT?"

Carole Borges's picture

Good answer. Our priorities have somehow got turned upside down.

We're more interested in building a great society in Iraq than we are in taking care of our own.

How to pay for health care for everyone that needs it?

End the war based on lies. Tax the 1% that can afford to contribute more.

Stop all the pork, even the pork that is grunting in your own camp.

Basically cut back the lavish spending everywhere in Washington.

Reduce the costs of health care in this country.

Get the pharmacuetical drug dealers out of our doctors offices.

Allow Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada.

Allow our country to negoiate for the best price for drugs.

What better investment than in the health of our citizens, especially the young?

Eleanor A's picture

Yeah, but it's not nearly

Yeah, but it's not nearly that simple. What's the scope of this idea of yours, free health care for everybody?

Does it cover heart transplants? Liver transplants for alcoholics who've been on the bottle for 30 years? Fertility treatments for people who've exhausted several options already?

I'm not arguing that the current system, linking health care to employment, is a great idea. but I think this is also an area where a lot of people are hesitant to talk specifics.

Hildegard's picture

Who said anything about free

Who said anything about free health care for anybody (or everybody)? It's hard to discuss anything with someone who doesn't respond to what is written, just draws conclusions based on assumptions about what is written. Anyway, I'm talking about making health care available for those who cannot afford it, and even then I'm not necessarily talking about health care that is "free." I have a friend who is a lawyer. He is in the hospital right now, dying of cancer. He didn't have health insurance because he had a heart attack once upon a time and nobody would insure him. But he made too much money for government assistance. When he finally dies, his medical costs for the, basically, death supervision going on right now will be visited on his meager estate. He's got kids. I'm sorry, a society that lets a man suffer and die of cancer because he couldn't afford the treatments in the early stages is immoral and corrupt. There is no excuse for it.

I don't have cold specifics a great plan to offer you, sorry. I'm just a citizen who wants better government, real leadership and a set of priorities that rates people's health near the top. I don't know if we can make health care affordable for everybody, but if you don't you certainly aren't thinking like HRC back in the day when she promised to do something about it. Copping out to the idea that it's not an issue worth examining is just another example of how screwed up and dehumanized our priorities have become.

rikki's picture

It's hard to discuss

It's hard to discuss anything with someone who doesn't respond to what is written

I'm not big on following along when others change the subject either, nor do I have a specific health-care plan. I don't even think it's the President's job to solve the health-care crisis. That's the job of Congress, where Clinton has served a full term and gotten nothing done. What I really can't understand, though, is how she has such an uninspired plan now when the issue was so important to her 15 years ago.

Eleanor A's picture

He said: and her health-care

He said:

and her health-care plan is simply forcing people to buy health insurance.

What about that isn't a clear implication that health insurance ought to somehow be free of charge, so people won't be forced to buy it? If that isn't what Rikki meant, I think a reasonable person could conclude he might want to word it differently. I'm not really sure what his point is, given that yes, HRC wants people to buy health insurance, but plans to offer a variety of low cost plans and tax credits to help people pay for it, and wants to limit the cost to X percentage of people's income.

Frankly I think you're the one who isn't addressing the point. I'm sorry to hear about your friend, but you haven't answered my questions, either. Who should have paid for his treatment? Should he have been forced to go get checkups to catch problems early? Would there be a limit on what the covered costs might be? Who decides whether lifesaving treatment for an older person should gain budgetary priority over some experimental procedure that might save the life of a young child?

Is what you have in mind something like the system in the UK, where health care is free for many people but a lot of folks go private-sector to get better care?

And seriously, who decides how to budget for this? Should a free system of health care in the U.S. include incredibly expensive and experimental treatments? I'm certainly not arguing that money flushed down the toilet in Iraq might not be better spent on health care, among many other worthy causes. But given the rapid aging of the U.S. population, I can't imagine there'd be any way to keep everybody happy, and without setting up some kind of system of rationing.

captainkona's picture



Take a quick gander at the money that's been spent on the war then tell me if you think that money could better serve universal health care.

Hell, just legalizing and taxing Marijuana would pay for health care several times over.

No, money isn't the problem. Convincing people to love their neighbor is by far the biggest obstacle.

"The mind is like a parachute, it only works when it's open."

Carole Borges's picture

I think that counter should be mounted everywhere...

It really makes you see what a windfall this is for someone. War profits can't be dismissed. No wonder so many want to keep this cash cow in their own backyard. And McCain remarked we might be there for 100 years? How much would that total up to?

Pam Strickland's picture

Split family

My fmaily rivals the Kennedys in size, if not celebrity. My mother died when I was an infant, but she still has six living sisters and a brother. Grandchildren, my generation, come in at near 30. Then there's the greats and great-greats.

I would dare say that the only thing that we all agree on is that Pap-pa was a good man and that his wife died too young.

Well, there might be one or two more things, but I guarantee you that politics and religion aren't agreeable topics. The fact that different members of the Kennedy family support different presidential candidates is almost refreshing -- if they weren't dragging all of us along for the debate.


Pam Strickland

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." ~Kurt Vonnegut

Factchecker's picture

And why is it that when we

And why is it that when we talk about spending trillions on a war, people shrug because that's the cost of war, but if we talk about spending on health care for people who can't afford it, the response is, "Jesus Christ, how we gonna pay for THAT?"

People had the same response to both when a Dem was in office. Having a Repug there assures everyone the military, the budget, and national security are in good hands. Er, wait...

redmondkr's picture

She happily sent poor people

She happily sent poor people off to die in a lie of a war

With due respect this is not the speech of a person happily sending poor people off to die in a lie of a war.

I think the worst that could be said about her vote to enable Mr. Bush's war is that she was naive enough at that time to believe that the President of the United States was an honorable man (Insert snide remark about Bill here).

Several of us still semi-trusted him then, especially since he had respectable people such as Colin Powell telling us that he wasn't lying to us.

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rikki's picture


Several of us still semi-trusted him then

Several of us did not, and no sitting Senator from either party should have fallen for those lies. She, of all people, had to understand how badly Bush neglected terrorism in his first half year and how crooked and underqualified his staff was. She represents New York City! If anyone should have been watching those bastards like a hawk, it is Hillary Clinton.

Her remarks just make it worse, not just because she says the facts are not in doubt, but because she talks herself into believing the resolution meant something other than Congressional assent to war. Her heart and head said to vote against it, but appearance of bipartisan support was such a compelling need that it overruled both.

No, I don't think I will be asking her to lead my country.

redmondkr's picture

It is easy to Monday morning

It is easy to Monday morning quarterback. Being naive is certainly politically damning but being naive about a lying president is hardly the same as 'happily' sending poor people off to die in a lie of a war.

I have no intention to vote for Hillary in the primary but her vote on that war will not be the reason for that vote.

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