09/30/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Victoria Kennedy: Senate Replacement For Husband Ted Kennedy?

Ted Kennedy married Victoria Anne Reggie in 1992. Kennedy and his closest friends called his decision to ask her out "the smartest move of his life." From the New York Times:

The senator proposed to her in January 1992 at a performance of "La Boheme" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York -- a love of opera was a passion they shared. They married that July at his home in McLean, Va., in front of about 30 family members.

And that was the beginning of the extraordinary relationship -- a love story as well as a political partnership -- that would define the final years of Kennedy's life, both personally and professionally. It brought him a happiness, his friends said, that had long eluded him, seeing him through until the end, and even now, as Vicki Kennedy presides at the first of his public memorials in Boston and prepares for his burial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Vicki Kennedy also had a savvy political mind that was a valuable asset for her husband, the Times writes:

Mrs. Kennedy was instrumental in the campaign's creation of a series of devastating advertisements that challenged Mr. Romney's proclamations about his record as a venture capitalist in creating jobs in recession-battered Massachusetts. The spots focused on the workers at the Ampad stationery factory in Marion, Ind., where Mr. Romney's company, Bain Capital, had eliminated jobs, reduced wages and discarded the union contract.

Two of the late Ted Kennedy's best friends in the Senate said on Sunday that the Massachusetts senator's widow, Victoria Kennedy, would make a great replacement for him.

"She is a very brilliant lawyer," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on CNN's State of the Union. "She's a very solid individual. She certainly made a difference in Ted's life, let me tell you. And I have nothing but respect for her."

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) echoed that sentiment:

"We talk frequently. Whatever Vicki wants to do, I'm in her corner," said Dodd. "She knows that. She has expressed to me her own reluctance to do that. But she could change her mind. And if she did I'm for it. I think she'd be great, I think Orrin's right, she brings talent and ability to it... we can certainly use her in the Senate. But leave it up to her. She has a lot on her mind right now. And, frankly, I leave it up to her decision-making process."

Vicki Kennedy has reportedly said she doesn't want to succeed her late husband, though observers say the seat is hers should she change her mind. From Time Magazine:

The question is what Vicki wants. Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the Senator's widely admired widow, is from a Louisiana political family. She has stayed out of Massachusetts politics, and word leaked during the Senator's illness that she wasn't interested in succeeding him. But she would be an overwhelming favorite for the seat if she wanted it, and until she publicly makes her wishes clear, nothing will be clear.

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, who may get a chance to appoint a temporary successor, said on Friday that Vicki Kennedy would not be a candidate.

"She is not interested," he said, according to the Associated Press. "She is grieving the loss of her husband and the leader of that extraordinary family."

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