Four years after Senator Edward Kennedy, suffering from brain cancer, made a dramatic speech at the Democratic National Convention to support Barack Obama, Kennedy’s widow will attend the upcoming convention in Charlotte, N.C., to trumpet the president’s record on health care reform, which her late husband called the cause of his life.
Vicki Kennedy will speak at a health care forum and to other groups at the convention about health issues to support the top domestic accomplishment of the president’s first term, according to Debra DeShong Reed, a spokeswoman for Kennedy. The convention will run from Sept. 4 to 6 and end with Obama’s acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium.
“She’s a strong supporter of the president for many reasons, but most importantly for what he accomplished on health care reform,” Reed said. Her husband endorsed Obama early in the 2008 campaign.
Vicki Kennedy also will host a reception by the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, which Reed said will explain the institute’s mission and “Senator Kennedy’s vision for it as a center of learning and civic engagement.” The 40,000-square foot, $71 million facility will be on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Boston, adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
Vicki Kennedy’s appearance at the convention is certain to rekindle memories of her late husband’s speech on the first night of the 2008 gathering in Denver. After being introduced by his niece, Caroline Kennedy, the senator addressed the convention in words that recalled the inaugural speech of his brother, former president John F. Kennedy.
“This November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans,” Kennedy said. “So, with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.”
Kennedy died at the family compound in Hyannis Port on Aug. 25, 2009.
Romney aide blasts Obama over super PAC’s ad
One of Mitt Romney’s top strategists accused President Obama and his political staff on Friday of waging a reelection campaign that has descended to “unbelievable exaggerations that diminish the office of the president and insult the American people.”
Adviser Eric Fehrnstrom added: “I don’t think a world champion limbo dancer could get any lower than the Obama campaign right now.”
Fehrnstrom’s criticism came during a three-minute opening statement he delivered at a media briefing before Romney launches a bus tour on Saturday. It also came at the conclusion of a week during which an Obama-supporting super PAC announced an ad — largely discredited by fact-checking organizations — suggesting Romney is to blame for a woman’s death because her husband lost his health insurance years earlier after being laid off from a company owned by Romney’s former employer, Bain Capital.
The Romney campaign has been incensed at the suggestion the candidate caused a person’s death. “When you start running ads accusing your opponent of killing people, then you have lost credibility,” Fehrnstrom later told reporters during the briefing.
Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith shrugged off what she branded “faux outrage.”
Hours after the briefing, the Romney campaign unveiled the new commercial echoing Fehrnstrom’s criticisms. “What does it say about a president’s character when his campaign tries to use the tragedy of a woman’s death for political gain?” the commercial says. “Doesn’t America deserve better than a president who will say or do anything to stay in power?”
Upset with choice of N.C., unions to hold own meeting
RALEIGH, N.C. — Upset that the Democratic Party is staging its presidential convention in a Southern state long viewed as hostile to organized labor, union leaders are holding a ‘‘shadow convention’’ where they hope to highlight key issues near and dear to middle-class workers.
Prominent labor leaders created the ‘‘Workers Stand for America’’ rally after what they say was their lack of input into planning for the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte, which is set to begin Sept. 4. They say thousands of union workers will rally to call attention to issues affecting the middle class. The centerpiece of the event is a ‘‘Second Bill of Rights’’ laying out workers’ rights.
Unions have long been a key ally for Democrats, and they gave $8.3 million toward the 2008 convention in Denver that helped Barack Obama win the White House.
Labor officials say that longstanding friendship won’t change, nor will their support for Obama.
But many are refusing to contribute money to a convention in a state that bans collective bargaining for teachers and other public workers.
‘‘This year we will not be making major monetary contributions to the convention or the host committee for events or activities around the convention,’’ Richard Trumka, the AFL-CIO’s president, wrote in a letter sent to union leaders last month.