Kennedy endorses Obama for president

January 28, 2008 11:45:37 AM PST
Two generations of the Kennedy family have given their support to Barack Obama -- with Senator Edward Kennedy calling him a "man with extraordinary gifts of leadership and character." At a rally in Washington, D.C., Kennedy was joined by his son, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and by his niece Caroline, the daughter of John F. Kennedy.

In remarks that included scarcely-veiled criticism of Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband, Kennedy said Obama had opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning -- and that no one should be allowed to "deny that truth." It was an obvious reference to Bill Clinton's statement that Obama's early anti-war stance was a "fairy tale."

Kennedy compared Obama to another Democrat who ran for president and who was told by a Democratic predecessor, Harry Truman, that he wasn't experienced enough. He says that candidate, John F. Kennedy, replied, "The world is changing. The old ways will not do."

Senator Kennedy's endorsement had been sought by all three of the remaining Democratic contenders, and it comes at a pivotal time in the race. He's expected to actively campaign for Obama in the days before the string of primaries and caucuses on February fifth.