Archive | February, 2008

Kennedys Campaign Across Texas

29 Feb


With all eyes on Texas, and the decisive effect the state’s March 4th primary will have on the outcome of the Democratic presidential nomination, we’ve seen several Kennedys pass through here in recent weeks.

Unfortunately for the Clinton campaign, the only Kennedys campaigning in Texas are Obama supporters. Senator Edward Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy traversed the state last week, and yesterday found Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s mother Ethel and brother Maxwell on the campaign trail in Houston.

While RFK Jr., his sister Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend and sister Kerry are for Clinton, we have yet to see them campaigning for her in the Lone Star State. Considering that next Tuesdays’ primary is one Hillary Clinton simply cannot afford to lose, we hope to see a few Kennedys from Camp Clinton pay us a visit over the weekend.

Below is an account of the “Obama Bobby Kennedys” trip to Texas yesterday, from the Boston Globe.


By Sasha Issenberg

February 27, 2008

HOUSTON. — The Chavez-Kennedy tag-team battle for the hearts of nostalgic liberals continues in Texas.Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been prominently airing an ad in the state featuring testimonials to her as a “champion for the voiceless” from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Cesar L. Chavez. Today, at its Houston headquarters, the Obama campaign responded with an RFK son and Chavez grandchild of its own.

“Our families are entitled to pick who is the best candidate,” said Christine Chavez, a former union organizer and gay-rights activist, noting that both clans had split between the two candidates. She appeared at a press conference with local labor leaders on Obama’s behalf.

Inside, Max Kennedy, accompanying his mother Ethel, interrupted a training session for Obama precinct captains to offer a pep talk — although the family tradition he invoked to inspire the volunteers was not idealism but tribal politics. Recounting how his ancestors went from penniless immigrants to masters of an urban machine, Kennedy said, “In 1890, the Irish took over the city of Boston and we maintained that control due to hard fieldwork.”

Ethel offered little more than a faint “Si se puede” on Obama’s behalf, but Chavez said it was hearing Obama invoke that phrase — “Yes we can” – that lured her to support his candidacy.

“Those were our first words as a baby,” she said. “To hear him say that was very moving.”

More coverage from the Houston Chronicle:


The widow and son of Robert F. Kennedy urged volunteers today at the Obama campaign office near downtown Houston to continue working hard to win votes for their candidate.

Max Kennedy congratulated the crowd of about 40 Obama faithful for their untiring effort and reminded them they would have to continue to canvass neighborhoods right up to the minute polls open for the primary election March 4, knocking on doors and speaking with voters.

“We will win this election,” he said. “We will take over this country and we will change the United States.”

Ethel Kennedy shook hands with dozens of volunteers and said she found Obama to be a caring candidate and dynamic speaker.

“We are so lucky to have such an incredible candidate,” she said. “He’s so centered. He really cares about people who have been left in the shadows.”

Dorothy Touchstone, 65, said she was inspired to see the Kennedys endorsing Obama. She hugged Ethel Kennedy and shook her hand.

“It was really a very good feeling to see them reaching out and being involved in what’s going on in the country and trying to make sure the people are being taken care of.” Touchstone said.

Excerpt copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle



Will RFK Jr. Be Hillary’s EPA Head?

27 Feb

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been in Australia this week attending the three-day International Solar Cities conference in Adelaide. During his keynote address, Bobby dropped a fascinating hint about a possible cabinet position for him in Hillary Clinton’s White House.

If such were offered, it would be a dream come true for many of RFK Jr.’s strongest supporters, for the country, and for the planet. It’s about time we put a real environmentalist in charge of the EPA!

Kennedy’s comments are tantalizingly dropped at the end of the story below, which tends to focus more on his support of her now-ailing presidential campaign. Does this reporter realize that this bombshell should be the first paragraph, not the last? Now that’s a story!

Kennedy Jr gets behind Hillary Clinton
Sydney Morning Herald – Sydney,New South Wales,Australia

A member of the Kennedy family says Hillary Clinton is still the Democrats’ best chance for president, even as the former US first lady’s campaign suffered another blow.

With Senator Barack Obama taking a crucial win in the Wisconsin Democratic primary on Wednesday (AEST), Senator Clinton’s campaign will now probably hinge on the upcoming votes in Ohio and Texas.

Speaking at an environmental conference in Adelaide, half-way around the world from the election contest, environmental activist Robert F Kennedy Jr said the race for the Democratic nomination was still too close to call.

“I can tell you this, if Hillary does really well in Ohio and Texas then she’s in good shape,” he said.

The son of assassinated presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, Mr Kennedy’s recent endorsement of Senator Clinton put him at odds with Democrat elder statesman Senator Edward Kennedy.

But he said while Senator Obama would make an excellent president and every member of his family was close to both candidates, he still believed Senator Clinton would make the better choice.

“I think we need a president who is willing to go in, have a fist fight, and completely change the course of where we’re going as a nation,” he said.

“I think Hillary has a track record of doing that.”

But Mr Kennedy said whatever the outcome, every member of the Kennedy family would come together to ensure a Democrat was returned to the White House come November.

“Whoever gets the nomination in August, every Kennedy is going to be working to make sure that person becomes president,” he said.

“I think Obama would be a fantastic president and I’ll be working for him full-time if he wins the nomination.

“But I just thing Hillary is a stronger candidate and would be a really strong president.”

Mr Kennedy also confirmed he would be interested in contesting Senator Clinton’s New York Senate seat, should she become president, or in working within a Clinton administration, possibly heading up the Environmental Protection Authority.

© 2008 AAP

New JFK Assassination Evidence “Found” in Dallas

18 Feb

President Kennedy in Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963

(Moments before the tragedy, the President, Mrs. Kennedy, and Texas first lady Nellie Connolly are all smiles. Governor John Connally looks surprisingly somber as the motorcade makes its’ way towards Dealey Plaza. November 22, 1963)


In a peculiar President’s Day present to historians, The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office has announced the discovery of a trove of documents relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Locked away in a man-size safe for 44 years, these rare documents and artifacts (which reportedly include Jack Ruby’s gun holster and the clothing Oswald wore when he was shot) were kept secret from the public for decades — although their existence was certainly no secret to every Dallas County D.A. since 1963.

Among the documents is an alleged transcript of a conversation between Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, planning the assassination together on behalf of the Mafia. This document has aroused the greatest amount of interest but has also been described as “highly suspect” and immediately dismissed as either a fake or a possible movie script.

Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins explained at a news conference today that the documents were “found” in a safe about a year ago — soon after he took office — and that his staff have been examining and cataloging them ever since. Previous DA’s had decided not to reveal the information, but Watkins said his administration is devoted to openness and felt it was “too important to keep secret.”

“It will open up the debate as to whether there was a conspiracy to assassinate the president,” Watkins stated.

Dallas D.A. Watkins' News conference, Feb. 18, 2008

(Watkins, elected in 2006, is the first African-American D.A. in Dallas history.)

Ruby, the owner of a Dallas burlesque club, shot Oswald while he was in police custody two days after the November 22, 1963 assassination. The transcript has Oswald telling Ruby, “the [Mafia] boys in Chicago want to get rid of the Attorney General [Robert Kennedy]. … There is a way to get rid of him without killing him. … I can shoot his brother.”

Gary Mack, curator of the 6th Floor Museum in Dealey Plaza has pointed out that Oswald is known to have been elsewhere on October 4, the alleged date of the alleged conversation.

The transcript resembles one published in a report by the Warren Commission, which investigated Kennedy’s assassination and determined that Oswald was the lone gunman. The FBI determined that conversation – again between Oswald and Ruby, but this time about killing the governor – was definitely fake.

Mr. Mack suggested that the transcript in the Warren Commission report was probably used as a model for the one found in the district attorney’s safe.

The conversation published in the commission report was a fake account of a conversation between Ruby and Oswald on the same night at the Carousel Club. A now-deceased Dallas attorney “re-created” the conversation after Kennedy’s assassination for authorities after he claimed he recognized Oswald in a newspaper photo as the man he saw talking to Ruby that night.

“The fact that it’s sitting in Henry Wade’s file, and he didn’t do anything, indicates he thought it wasn’t worth anything,” Mr. Mack said of the newly found transcript. “He probably kept it because it was funny. It’s hilarious. It’s like a bad B movie.”


William J. Alexander, the only surviving prosecutor from Ruby’s trial for killing Oswald in the days after Kennedy’s assassination, told the district attorney’s office he’d never seen the Ruby-Oswald transcript. But it’s labeled with a sticker that says, “Plaintiff’s Exhibit 27.” Typically, exhibits for criminal trials are marked as state’s exhibits or defense exhibits.

The DA’s office said Mr. Alexander, who rarely talks about the Ruby trial, declined to be interviewed.

While the two-page transcript is most likely fake, District Attorney Watkins says he’s never believed Oswald acted alone.

“You know me: I’m always a conspiracy theorist,” Mr. Watkins said. “It was too simple of an explanation. I don’t see that.”


The safe also contained a 1967 million-dollar contract with the then-district attorney Henry Wade for a movie about the assassination, and the DA’s assistant has suggested that the Ruby/Oswald “transcript” was part of a proposed movie script.

The film, tentatively titled Countdown In Dallas, never went into production. But the timing of the film’s making is certainly curious.

By 1967, a large segment of the American public had openly expressed disdain for the conclusions of the Warren Commission. Several books suggesting a conspiracy were already on the shelves, and most importantly – New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was at that very moment bringing murder charges against Clay Shaw for the murder of President Kennedy, the only such court case in history.

As all this concurrent activity was brewing, the need for a big-budget Hollywood film to refute the charges of conspiracy seems more than plausible; something to placate the general public and put their concerns to rest once and for all.

While many suspected that Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby knew one another, the “transcript” of thier alleged October 4 conversation would have been quite helpful in pursuading the people that although there was some advance conspiratorial planning between the two men, Oswald ultimately was the lone assassin.

The suspect transcript/movie script notwithstanding, perhaps the real hidden treasure within these 15 newly-released boxes is yet to be found. Once the documents are fully opened to researchers (which Dallas officials tell us will be soon), it will be fascinating to see what, if any, previously undiscovered evidence in the case may come to light.

We’ll keep you posted.

(Click here for video of the Dallas D.A.’s press conference from earlier today.)


Game On! RFK’s Kids Play Opposing Teams

9 Feb


In recent weeks, we’ve been watching the fireworks on the Hyannisport lawn as members of the Kennedy family split onto opposing political teams.

In what promises to be the roughest touch football game of the year, JFK’s daughter Caroline, brother Teddy, and nephew Patrick have taken up the ball for Obama. They were soon joined by Maria Shriver, who promised to run it all the way to the goal line at a Los Angeles Obama rally last weekend. (Her husband, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, formally endorsed Senator John McCain the following day.)

Meanwhile, Team Clinton seemed to have the formidably large family of RFK on her side. With star players like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Kerry Kennedy all suited up and ready to rumble, it naturally stood to reason that all of the Robert Kennedys would stand together and present a united front for Senator Clinton.

But the truth of the matter is another story entirely, as we are all now witnessing.

RFK’s widow Ethel was actually one of Barack Obama’s staunchest supporters from the early days of the campaign, and now her children are splitting into opposing camps, too. Son Maxwell Kennedy was spotted at an Obama campaign event in east L.A. last week, although he has yet to make any formal endorsements. Now the divide grows deeper still.

In a surprise play, Robert Kennedy’s daughter Rory just switched teams from Clinton to Obama. Although she has been a strong advocate for the Clintons in past years, and even as recently as December was reported to be supporting Hillary, Rory apparently was listening closely last weekend when Oprah Winfrey commented that “every free woman has the right to change her mind.” And so she has.

Rory’s endorsement of Barack Obama was published this week in the San Francisco Chronicle, no doubt sending shockwaves through the ranks of the Clinton faithful, and even perhaps within her own immediate family. We’ve reprinted the complete text below:


By Rory Kennedy

Last Monday, I was very moved to see my uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, and my cousin, Caroline Kennedy, publicly endorse Sen. Barack Obama. I thought their statements of support were brave, intelligent and responsible. Given the importance of this election, and the remarkable strength of our candidates, it’s not an easy decision for anyone looking to cast a vote for a new direction in this country.

Sen. Hillary Clinton is a truly remarkable leader. She has given an enormous amount to our country as a public servant and to my family as a friend. Not only does she stand ready to be president, but she would be the first woman to hold the highest office in the land.

All that makes her very appealing. As a woman, a mother, and feminist, I can fully appreciate the symbolic power of a woman in the Oval Office. I have dedicated my life to making documentaries, many of which focus on women’s issues. I would love to have my daughters see a female president in our lifetimes. And still, that is not enough of a reason for me to vote for Senator Clinton.

I empathize with Senator Clinton. In her run for president, she has been forced to walk a difficult line. She is scrutinized not only for her political positions, but also for her clothing, hair and make-up. When she is tough, she is called cold, when she is emotional, she is labeled weak. It can’t be easy. I have an enormous amount of respect for the way she has handled this near-impossible balancing act. And still, that is not enough of a reason for me to vote for her.

I am concerned about women getting equal pay for equal work and breaking through the glass ceiling. I care about policies regarding health and education, issues that affect me personally. I have no doubt of Senator Clinton’s commitment to these issues. And still, that is not enough of a reason for me to vote for her.

Times are far too dark, the price of failure too steep and the road ahead too perilous for us to vote on identity politics. I would love to see a woman be president. I would love to see an African American be president. But right now, what I would love most is to elect the best person for the job.

I believe that person is Sen. Barack Obama. As a leader, he has inspired generations of Americans to look beyond reductive categories like gender or race. Instead, he calls on us to think past our own individual interests, to envision a world that is better for every person in it.

Like Senator Clinton, I have no doubt of Senator Obama’s commitment to the issues I care about. But, his unique ability to unify this country and transcend partisan gridlock means that we can finally get something done.

In my years making documentaries, I have traveled to remote regions, from small villages in South America, to townships in South Africa, to the hollows of Appalachia. Every trip, every film, I meet people who still keep photographs of my family on their walls. They cry when they meet me, simply because they were touched by my father, Robert Kennedy. In part, this is because my father supported policies and legislation that helped the disenfranchised. But it is also, and perhaps more importantly, because they felt that my father understood their pain. Senator Obama has that quality too. He has an open heart and an energizing spirit.

Recently, my mother, Ethel Kennedy, said of Obama: “I think he feels it. He feels it just like Bobby did. He has the passion in his heart. He’s not selling you. It’s just him.”

I agree. Obama is a genuine leader. We Americans – women included – desperately need that kind of leader now. Not a president of a particular gender or a specific race, but a president with a different vision, one who inspires a sense of hope.

To elect Barack Obama is to choose a new direction, set a new course – to steer America toward a better place, better for women as well as men, better for us all.

Rory Kennedy, a documentary filmmaker, won an Emmy for her production and direction of “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib.”

This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Kennedys vs. The Kennedys: Political Super Bowl `08

3 Feb


This ain’t your father’s game of touch football.

The `08 race just keeps getting more interesting by the minute, with the Kennedy players taking sides on different teams, all in preparation for the big game on Super Tuesday.

As of Super Bowl Sunday, here’s the lineup so far:


Senator Edward Kennedy

Caroline Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy

Maxwell Kennedy

Maria Shriver


Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Kerry Kennedy


Arnold Schwarzenegger

Clearly, Obama has the advantage going into Tuesday’s election, with more Kennedys on his team than any other candidate. Will it make a difference? Who knows, but we’ll find out Tuesday night when the final score is in.