Sen. Kennedy endorses Obama

January 28, 2008 4:45:18 PM PST
Several members of one of the most prominent political families in the country have endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.Senator Ted Kennedy, his son Patrick and Caroline Kennedy have all given Obama their approval. The Massachusetts senator called Obama a man with extraordinary gifts of leadership and character.

Hillary Clinton still has double-digit leads in the polls in the some of the biggest Super Tuesday states where the voters know her and not the him because he's been too busy in recent months in Iowa and South Carolina.

The question is, will the Kennedy endorsements make it a race in the last eight days.

The endorsement of a stalwart like Ted Kennedy in the wake of Obama's landslide victory Saturday is another major step in legitimizing Obama to voters in states that haven't seen much of him, including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and California, which contain half of the Democratic delegates needed to win the nomination.

"I feel change in the air. What about you?" said Ted Kennedy, announcing his endorsement Monday in Washington D.C.

Jeff Zeleny, New York Times reporter, said Obama will be lucky to visit all 22 Super Tuesday states once, if at all, in the next eight days.

"He has his work cut out for him. The endorsement of Senator Kennedy and others has more fire power than a couple of months ago," Zeleny said.

The Obama campaign is launching a multi-million dollar nationwide ad campaign that will have to take the place of the up close and personal rallies that Obama staged in the early voting states. Now Ted Kennedy is offering to accompany Obama in places where he's popular with two groups that trend toward Clinton - organized labor and Latinos.

"He's been demonstrated to do well amongst independents and bringing the turnout up, and now he'll do better amongst the Democrats, and my dad will go out and do work among the traditional constituencies that will shore them up better in the areas that he needs the extra support," said Rep. Pat Kennedy, Ted's son.

Ted Kennedy will be on the road with Obama and on his own in some of the key states with a lot of labor and Latino voters in the southwest and in California, beginning later this week. It should have a legitimizing effect with people that like the Kennedys, admire them and remember their legacy going back almost half a century but don't know much about Obama.