Kennedys And Conventions: An Emotional History





The first night of the Democratic convention here in Denver was about the Obama family, to be followed the next two days by the Clinton family — Hillary on Tuesday and Bill on Wednesday. But Monday's emotional moment was about the last surviving brother of the Kennedy family, Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in May.

It wasn't the first time convention delegates were brought to tears by a Kennedy.

That was in 1964. Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded to the Oval Office after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, went unchallenged for the nomination that year. The convention, held in Atlantic City, was completely controlled by Johnson and his allies. But there was something that was still out of LBJ's hands: the expected emotional response to an address by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the slain president's brother, who would be introducing a video tribute to the late president.

President Kennedy was murdered just nine months before the convention; the nation's grieving had not abated. Many Democrats felt that the best way to keep the Kennedy torch alive was to put Bobby on the ticket as Johnson's VP. The president obviously wanted no part of that.


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