Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rendell Reflects on Ted Kennedy

In the wake of Senator Edward Kennedy’s death, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is remembering working alongside the Democratic icon during his long shot presidential bid.
Before last year’s marathon slugfest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Kennedy’s 1980 challenge to incumbent President Jimmy Carter had been Pennsylvania’s last contested Democratic primary. Governor Rendell, the Philadelphia district attorney at the time, was one of the few Pennsylvania politicians to back Kennedy.

"And I think Ted Kennedy—I thought Ted Kennedy could lead us and make a real difference. And as you recall we won Pennsylvania by about 7,000 votes. We carried the state, just barely."

Franklin and Marshall College political scientist Terry Madonna says the Commonwealth’s primary was a “do or die moment” for Kennedy’s insurgent campaign.
It wasn’t enough, though--Kennedy’s bid ended at the Democratic convention, where he delivered his famous concession speech.
Rendell insists the Democratic icon could have beaten Ronald Reagan that November, but Madonna doubts it, saying the election cycle heavily favored the Republican Party that year.

The governor lauded Kennedy’s bipartisanship, and says if the Democratic icon had been healthy this year, a health care bill might have already been signed into law, with “15 to 20” Republicans voting for it.

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