Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ted Kennedy's "Ted Kennedy moment"

For all you youngsters out there -- as well as the saner people who aren't political junkies -- here is the classic candidate crack-up: Ted Kennedy's muffing of the answer to the obvious question, "Senator, why do you want to be President?"

CBS correspondent Roger Mudd put that question to the Senator in an interview on November 4, 1979, as part of a CBS special, Teddy, aired three days before Kennedy officially announced his candidacy for the 1980 Democratic Presidential nomination. Up until this interview, Teddy was doing great in polls of Democrats matched against President Jimmy Carter, who had become deeply unpopular inside and outside his own party. Teddy's rambling, nearly incoherent answer made everyone wonder whether Teddy had ever stopped to think about why he wished to be President or why people should support him. He lost ground rapidly from that point on and went on to lose the primaries and the nomination to Carter.

He may have simply thought himself entitled. If so, he wasn't the first or the last person to feel that way.

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