WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sen. Edward Kennedy, who bears one of the most famous names in politics and is a leading liberal voice in the Congress, will endorse Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign on Monday, Democratic sources said.
Kennedy, the youngest brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy and a veteran senator from Massachusetts, intends to announce his support for Obama at American University in Washington, a source close to the senator said.
He will be accompanied by his niece, Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late president, who has already endorsed Obama.
She wrote in Sunday’s New York Times that Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, seems able to inspire people the way her father did a half century ago.
Asked about the impending endorsement by the second most senior member of the U.S. Senate, Obama told reporters on his campaign plane that he would let Kennedy speak for himself.
“I have had ongoing conversations with Ted since I got into this race. You know, at the point where he is clear about what he is doing and wants to make it public, I will let Ted Kennedy make it public.”
The Kennedy family was split on the race for the Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential election in November.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a daughter of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and a former Maryland lieutenant governor, threw her support behind New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama’s main rival for the Democratic nomination.
“I respect Caroline and Teddy’s decision but I have made a different choice,” Kennedy Townsend said in a statement.
“While I admire Sen. Obama greatly, I have known Hillary Clinton for over 25 years and have seen first hand how she gets results. As a woman, leader, and person of deep convictions, I believe Hillary Clinton would make the best possible choice for president.”
Writing by Joanne Allen; editing by Chris Wilson