Jan 28, 7:26 PM (ET)
By DAVID ESPO
WASHINGTON (AP) - Summoning memories of his brother the slain president, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy led two generations of the First Family of Democratic politics Monday in endorsing Barack Obama for the White House, declaring, "I feel change is in the air."
Obama is a man of rare "grit and grace," Kennedy said in remarks salted with scarcely veiled criticism of the Illinois senator's chief rival for the presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as her husband, the former president.
Obama beamed as first Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, then Caroline Kennedy and finally the country's best known liberal took turns bestowing their praise. "Today isn't just about politics for me. It's personal," Obama told a boisterous crowd packed into the American University basketball arena a few miles across town from the White House.
It was also about politics, though, and a rapidly approaching set of primaries and caucuses across more than 20 states on Feb. 5, with more than 1,600 national convention delegates at stake.
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By Susan Milligan
WASHINGTON -- Senator Edward M. Kennedy will endorse Barack Obama for president tomorrow, breaking his year-long neutrality to send a powerful signal of where the legendary Massachusetts Democrat sees the party going -- and who he thinks is best to lead it.
Kennedy confidantes told the Globe today that the Bay State's senior senator will appear with Obama and Kennedy's niece, Caroline Kennedy, at a morning rally at American University in Washington tomorrow to announce his support.
That will be a potentially significant boost for Obama as he heads into a series of critical primaries on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Kennedy believes Obama can ``transcend race'' and bring unity to the country, a Kennedy associate told the Globe. Kennedy was also impressed by Obama's deep involvement last year in the bipartisan effort to craft legislation on immigration reform, a politically touchy subject the other presidential candidates avoided, the associate said.
The coveted endorsement is a huge blow to New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who is both a senatorial colleague and a friend of the Kennedy family. In a campaign where Clinton has trumpeted her experience over Obama's call for hope and change, the endorsement by one of the most experienced and respected Democrats in the Senate is a particularly dramatic coup for Obama.