• Short Summary

    In the United States, Senator Edward Kennedy looks set formally to announce his challenge for the Presidency.

  • Description

    In the United States, Senator Edward Kennedy looks set formally to announce his challenge for the Presidency. Political aides said on Monday (29 October) that he will declare himself a candidate on November the 7th.

    SYNOPSIS: Speculation has been mounting for some time that Senator Kennedy would challenge President Carter for the Democratic party nomination. In the popularity polls, Senator Kennedy has a three to one lead over the President. At 47, he has survived two brothers, both politicians, President John Kennedy and Robert -- who were assassinated. He is seen by many as the inheritor of a political charisma that goes with being members of a rich and powerful family.

    Since 1963, Edward Kennedy has been Senator for Massachus and his work in Congress has earned him the reputation of a conscientious, influential and liberal Democrat. Recently his stand on a number of important political issues has resulted in public disagreement with President Carter.

    Senator Kennedy's Washington office contains many reminders of family history....of times when his two elder brothers held his two elder brothers held enormous popular appeal. Family ties have at times influenced political decisions. In 1976, he turned down the offer of his party's nomination, saying he did not intend running for President while his mother was still alive. Now, pressure from supporters seems to have put that reason in the background. But, for critics of Senator Kennedy, one incident from his past private life, is almost certain to be revived in an election campaign.

    This was the scene, in 1969, of a scandal which made headlines. In circumstances which still remain mysterious, Mary Jo Kopechne, a young woman who worked for Edward Kennedy died when his car plunged off a bridge into a tidal pond on the Massachusetts island of Chappaquidick. For more than ten hours, Senator Kennedy failed to report that a woman had drowned in his car.

    Senator Kennedy has often faced public criticism over his political views, even in his hometown, Boston, where he supported school bussing in the face of local opposition. Revival of the Chappaquidick incident is likely to centre on what some critics see as evidence of his inability to cope under intense pressure. Political supporters say voters have been told all the facts and will be able to make their own political judgements.

    In the past two Presidential elections, Senator Kennedy has waved aside speculation that he would enter the race -- as in 1976.

    For Senator Kennedy, there remains the knowledge that an indirect cause of his two brother's deaths was the White House..John while in the office, Robert trying to get there.

    For Edward, the risks seem to have been weighed up, and the decision made to run for President.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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