Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s chance of ultimately winning Ted Kennedy’s endorsement have not been enhanced by the release of a video in which the candidate calls Ted “a little old.”
The video, obtained by the liberal Web site Huffington Post, depicts Obama speaking at an AFL-CIO forum in 2003, when he was an Illinois state senator running for the U.S. Senate.
At the time, Congress was considering a bill providing prescription drugs to seniors. Obama felt the bill wasted billions of dollars in payoffs to drug companies and denied seniors a real choice on prescription medications. He also felt Kennedy was not showing enough political backbone on the issue.
“We’ve got to call up not just Republicans,” said Obama, “but we got to call up Ted Kennedy and say, ‘Ted, you’re getting a little old now, and you’ve been a fighter for us before. I don’t know what’s happening now. Ted, get some spine and stand up to the Republicans.’”
Kennedy helped worked out a bipartisan compromise that President Bush signed into law.
On the campaign trail, Obama has called for the closing of the so-called “doughnut hole” in Medicare Part D, which limits benefits to those paying more than $2,250 but less than $5,100 a year for drugs.
As for Kennedy’s possible endorsement, his office said in a recent statement: “Senator Kennedy has no immediate plans to endorse a candidate.
“He has very strong relationships with many of these candidates personally, and he has a lot of respect for them. Senator Kennedy believes that any one of them would make a great president.”
And as for the Obama video, Kennedy spokeswoman Melissa Wagoner told the Boston Globe: “Senator Kennedy is glad Senator Obama tells people to give him a call when it’s time to fight. He’s always more than happy to stand up and fight for the American people.”
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