August 20th, 2009
12:58 PM ET
13 years ago

Kennedy letter followed discussions with Kerry, Frank

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sources tell CNN that Sen. Kennedy decided to release his letter to Massachusetts Democratic leaders after word of his discussions reached the Boston Globe."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A source close to Ted Kennedy tells CNN that he decided to write his letter on how he believed a Senate vacancy should be filled after a series of private discussions in late June with Massachusetts colleagues and friends including Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. William Delahunt.

The Democratic senator wrote the letter on July 2, at a time when he was sitting down to pen a series of letters. But he decided not to send it primarily because, after consulting with Kerry and others, they concluded that it would likely disrupt already intense and tumultuous health care discussions in the Senate at that time.

Read: Kennedy's letter

"He's talking about his potential vacancy here, and the threat of Kennedy's vote on health care is a powerful incentive to get it done," said this source about the thinking at the time. "If the letter gets out, it could have a negative impact."

This Kennedy associate confirms what CNN was told by another Kennedy source - that another factor was his efforts to deal with the failing health of his sister Eunice, who died earlier this month.

The two Kennedy sources say the only reason he actually sent the letter this week was because the Boston Globe had gotten wind of some of his discussions, and were prepared to go with what Kennedy thought was an inaccurate account of his efforts - so he decided to make his desires clear by delivering the letter, knowing it would go public.

One of the sources described how "tough" this letter was for Kennedy to write, a acknowledging he will likely, and soon, no longer be in the Senate.

"It was typical of him - putting this outside himself, and thinking about health care and the state of Massachusetts," said the Kennedy source.

Filed under: Massachusetts • Senate • Ted Kennedy
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Steve-Illinois

    Massachusetts must think it's Illinois!!! This type of party first politics is what's wrong with our government. First they pass a change in the law so a Republican Governor would not be allowed to appoint a temporary senator, but now, when it's to the Dems advantage, they want to hurry up and change the law back! This is as unethical as the Arlen Spector "party change" joke in PA. It's not what's best for the good of the people, it's what's best for the people holding office!

    August 20, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. Wake Up

    Any Obamabots ever question their leaders? Obama cares nothing of democracy. He is a typically Hugo Chavez like dictator. Wake up.

    August 20, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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