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. George

    That is how Teddy is. Country first, himself second. Wow he should have ran a clinic for the GOP. He has forgotton more that they will ever know.

    August 20, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. dave

    a True human being who really cares about people, he has shown this his whole life not many can fill his shoes right now the way things are going with health reform

    August 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. No Incumbents 2010

    So the law won't be changed unless Kennedy requests it? Kennedy should announce his retirement immediately so that the special election can be scheduled and held in 140 days. Why is Kennedy hanging on to his seat if he is unfit to serve? Kennedy has already served 47 years it is time to give someone else a chance to serve.

    August 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. jaye

    I love you, Teddy.

    August 20, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Bob in Pa

    No offense to Ted, but if he truly wasn't thinking of himself, he would have bowed out long ago when his health stated faltering.

    August 20, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    OK, so Kennedy could resign now (he's really not doing the job anyway) and allow an election sooner or he can wait. In either case the will of the people should be the only voice in picking a replacement. Wasn't that the purpose of the law change a few yeras ago? Of course Kenndey isn't really concerned that MA have 2 senators; he wants it to be 2 Democratic senators.

    August 20, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Brad

    If Ted Kennedy wants to expedite things, all he has to do is resign NOW andf let the Governor appoint his replacement. He's too sick to perform his duties.

    August 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Susan

    Sen. Kennedy is to be greatly admired. He's acheived and accomplished so much thru out his lifetime. What an asset!

    August 20, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. ObamaShrugged

    The Boston Globe portraying a Kennedy in a bad light. You have got to be kidding.

    This guy should have been in jail for the last 47 years, not in Congress.

    Kerry, Frank & Delahunt are the 3 Stooges of Massachusetts politics. We should vacate their seats on the grounds of incompetency.

    August 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. Willy Brown

    Why is Ted trying to steer this the Kennedy way? Time for a change, time for someone else besides a Kennedy...

    August 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. William, from CaLi!

    What's Ted's views on Healthcare is what I want to know.....47 years as a Senator! He's worried about filling some senate seat, ahead of time........ where is his support for this President on this troubling issue of healthcare; in time of discourse for this Country?

    August 20, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Another example of how democrats see laws and rules as being things for OTHER PEOPLE to follow. They are to be ignored whenever they conflict with the democrats' greedy, power-grabbing agenda.

    Screw you peasants! We're democrats! We're above the law!

    August 20, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. rr

    Why doesn't he want the people to decide?

    August 20, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Proud Member..Party of No

    Ted should be more concerned with all of the 'splaining he's gonna have to do when he meets his maker.

    August 20, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Mr. American

    Democratic hypocrisy:
    Kennedy says its important to have 2 long as they are both Democratic. What a bunch of power hungry people. Laws, to them, are to be used for the advancement of the party.

    August 20, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. S Callahan

    With the upmost respect towards Kennendy....i have to just floors me to see an instruction to change the way politics works mid stream....somehow it just seems the consulation should have gone to the people and not just to the two individuals listed above.....this is not meant to be a system of convience but of choice for and by the people (not a person). Just my view.

    August 20, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Steph

    God Bless you Senator Kennedy!

    August 20, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. Nagudcm Sugna

    I sure wish Massachusetts politics would only affect Massachusetts. The rest of America very different views.

    August 20, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Greg Hodges

    I hope all those Kennedy bashers out ther take a good hard look at themselves in the mirror one of these days. Instead of putting his own agenda front and center; Ted has put the nation`sw business ahead of his own. AS USUAL!!! The U.S. owes this family a tremendous debt of gratitude; and all one ever hears is put-downs and negativity when the name Kennedy appears. Of course the lunatic conservative fringe are paranoid over this family; which only goes to show their short-comings.

    August 20, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. igc

    Shame on the Boston Globe for not letting this man decide when he wanted to share the information.

    August 20, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Post always rejected by CNN

    If it was up to republicans they would get rid of every democrat they could. Remember when that NJ disc jockey, told his listeners, to look up all the democratic law makers and judges and kill them. HE IS STILL ON THE AIR. I think if I was from NJ I would get a warrent for his arrest. These people that are allowed to spew their lies, should be taken off the air for good.


    August 20, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. tiff of Lithia Springs

    FOREVER THE PUBLIC SERVANT? EVEN IN THE END! It's a selfless and classy act!

    August 20, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Tony

    Ok, Kennedy is ill so lets change the State Laws to refelect what he wants. Don't fall for him putting other before himself. They are doing this to make sure they get the person in office they want. Typical Chicago Politics.

    Lets get Teddy out of there and bring this Pseudo Camelot to a close.

    August 20, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. Phil

    And the Kennedy spin begins!

    August 20, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. Debbie

    My problem with this whole article is this section of the story:

    "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."

    If you cannot name names then there is no credibility to the story. This is not a whistle-blower story.

    It could very well be hear-say or planted information or there were no sources at all.

    August 20, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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