The Kennedy charisma has been sought after for decades as a key endorsement in the Democratic Party, which is why heads turned when Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy rejected New York Senator Hilary Clinton, instead endorsing Illinois Senator Barack Obama's presidential bid.
Obama stood as the democratic candidate for president of the United States of America, making history as the first African American to do so. With November vastly approaching, the press has been looming with comparisons of Senator Obama to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
JFK was 43 when he accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for president - and the U.S. had already been involved in the Cold War for 16 years. The nation was looking on to see how Kennedy would handle foreign policy, an area in which he was considered to be inexperienced; compared to his rival, Republican Candidate Richard Nixon who had served two terms as vice president.
In 2001, President Bush declared War on Terrorism essentially targeting Iraq after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Senator Obama was 47, when he accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for president - and the U.S. had already been involved in the War against Terrorism for 6 years. Obama's running mate, Joe Biden has been the democratic chairperson for the Foreign Relations Committee since 2007, but Obama is said to have a lack of experience in foreign relations compared to that of his rival Senator John McCain of Arizona - who was a POW for 5.5 years in north Vietnam.
Obama's lack of experience has been as prominent in the campaign of Senator John McCain, as JFK's once was within the campaigns of Richard Nixon. While campaigning to become the democratic candidate for president, Obama said that he would return the country to the more traditional foreign policy efforts of past presidents, such as George H.W. Bush, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Ronald Regan.
On September 26, 1960, the Presidential debate took place between Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy, and Republican nominee Richard Nixon. During this time, 70 million viewers tuned in for the first time, as the debate premiered on television. During this time, Nixon talked about his rival's inexperience in foreign policy. JFK in turn, focused on his congressional experience. Those that listened to the debate on the radio thought that Nixon won the debate - those that watched the debate thought that Kennedy won the debate.
Likewise on September 26, 2008, Senators Obama and McCain met on the performing arts stage at the University of Mississippi, where they had their first debate. No one actually knew whether the debate was even going to take place until Senator McCain announced that he would be arriving in Mississippi after suggesting that the debate be postponed until Congress reached a decision on the $700 billion bailout program.
The topic: foreign policy - the umbrella topic: the economy.
Immediately following an introduction by Jim Lehrer of News Hour with Jim Lehrer, both candidates began to sound off with their opinions about the "economic crisis."
"Although we've heard a lot about Wall Street, those of you on Main Street have been going through it for a while," Senator Obama said in his opening statement. "This is a verdict on 8 years of failed policy."
Obama's policies for the middle class have earned him popularity among African American voters, a trait which also did the same for JFK. As the son of a black man from Kenya, and white woman from Kansas, Obama's roots in the African American heritage are as strong as America's legacy of slavery - something Obama calls, "This nation's original sin."
JFK was no stranger to the plight of the African American of the 60's. On national television, he said, "One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free."
Five decades later, another Kennedy endorses an African American presidential candidate in Barack Obama.
Senator Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama at a morning rally in American University in Washington, despite pleas from the Clinton camp to stay neutral. During his official endorsement, he said, "I feel the change in the air, what about you?"
Obama said that he would work to carry on the vision the senator's (Kennedy) brother (JFK) laid out five decades ago - during the rally.
Likewise, Caroline Kennedy (daughter of JFK) said, "My children were the first people who made me realize that Barack Obama is the president we need."
"Harry Truman said we needed someone with greater experience, and may I urge you to be patient, and John Kennedy replied, 'the world is changing, the old ways will not due, it is time for a new a generation of leadership.' So it is with Barack Obama - it is time again for a new generation of leadership, it is time for Barack Obama," Senator Kennedy said at the rally.