President John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline sent Obama supporters a note on Father’s Day on Sunday praising not only President Barack Obama but also first lady Michelle Obama:(bolding is mine)
From: Caroline Kennedy
Date: June 17, 2012 1:20:34 PM EDT
Subject: Sign the card for President Obama
I grew up in the White House. I remember as a small child visiting my father in the Oval Office while he worked.
But really, we could have been growing up in any American home. We were just children, happy to see our dad — even if he was stepping out of a helicopter that had landed on our front lawn.
That’s why, on Father’s Day, I’m thinking of Michelle Obama and the girls, and the time they’ll get to spend with the President as a family.
I can appreciate how long the days can be — and how wonderful it feels to know that, no matter how full your father’s plate is, you’re the best part of his day and the most important part of his life.
So I’m joining Michelle and others all around the country to wish the President a happy Father’s Day.
As you acknowledge a special father figure in your own life, I hope you’ll join me by adding your name to tell Barack how much he means to all of us:
Thanks, and happy Father’s Day to every dad out there.
P.S. — I love this video of Michelle talking about Barack as a father — take a second for this today.
Under normal circumstances this e-mail would be par for the course. After all, the late Senator Ted Kennedy endorsed Mr. Obama during the Democratic primary in 2008. Half of the Kennedy family followed Senator Kennedy’s lead on his endorsement. However, according to the New York Times #1 bestselling book The Amateur by Ed Klein, Caroline Kennedy was snubbed by both Barack Obama and Michelle the moment Mr. Obama took the oath of office.
Caroline began to get snubbed by the Obamas when she reached out to them to pitch ideas on education reform. According to Klein:(bolding is mine)
Since Caroline’s abortive run for the United States Senate from New York, she had lost all interest in elective office. But she wanted to secure a position as an adviser on education to the new administration. With that in mind, she sent the White House a long memo on education funding reform, which was based on her first-hand experience with the New York City Board of Education.
She ended the memo by saying that she hoped to meet with the president to discuss her ideas. She never got a response. Not even an acknowledgement that he had received the memo.
Then, in the summer of 2011, Caroline asked Maurice Tempelsman, her mother’s longtime companion and a major player in the Democratic Party, to arrange a meeting with the president and his political advisers on Tempelsman’s 70-foot yacht the Relemar , which was docked on Martha’s Vineyard, where the president was vacationing.
It was Caroline’s hope that such a meeting would further her late Uncle Teddy’s dream of forming a close bond between the Kennedys and the Obamas. Once again, the White House spurned Caroline’s overture. The president didn’t even make an effort to see Caroline, whose home on Martha’s Vineyard, Red Gate Farm, was not far from the house the president was renting.
From various source interviews, Klein describes how the Kennedys went from a family civil war over Ted’s endorsement of Obama at a family gathering to Caroline, an early Obama supporter, hearing from her own secret sources at the Obama White House that “nasty” remarks were being said about her and her family by the president and the first lady:(bolding is mine)
“Through these [sources] and other people, Caroline heard back that there was a lot of nasty sh*t being said about the Kennedys by the president and Michelle,” the family member continued. “There were catty remarks about how badly the Kennedy women dressed, and how their houses were shabby and threadbare. Caroline got the impression that most of this negativity was coming from Michelle, who didn’t want the Kennedys to be part of the administration for fear that they would have too much influence over the president.”
“Gradually, Caroline began to change her tune and side with Bobby and Kathleen [Kennedy Townsend] against the Obamas. Unlike Jackie, who was completely a-political, Caroline is a liberal with a capital L. When Obama didn’t raise taxes to balance the budget, Caroline marked him down. In her eyes, he‘s a mess because he doesn’t follow the liberal bible on politics. More important, Caroline discovered that the Obamas didn’t give a damn about her support.
The father’s day e-mail is particularly interesting, because Caroline makes a direct reference to her own childhood at the White House and comparing it to the present day White House with the president, Michelle Obama, and their daughters. So when Klein reveals information that runs counter to this e-mail narrative, one must wonder what kind of overtures have been made toward Caroline. Below is passage in the book that describes how angry Caroline became at the Obamas and that Ethel Kennedy, the Kennedy family matriarch, was furious with the Obamas. Klein mentions Ethel did not talk to Bobby Kennedy Jr. for a period of time for his lack of support for Obama in 2008:(bolding is mine)
“It really annoyed Caroline when comparisons were made by the media between Michelle and Jackie. Caroline had a word for such comparisons; she called them ‘odious.’ She really got annoyed. And when she began to fall out of love with the Obamas, love was replaced by outright scorn. Now she says things about Obama like, ‘I can’t stand to hear his voice any more. He’s a liar and worse’”
Ethel Kennedy, “the matriarch of the family,” similarly felt scorned, according to Klein. He tells a story of her invitation — extended to the First Family — being ignored by the Obamas. She got so upset “that she went on a rampage inside her house, cursing the president and turning over furniture.” And to top it all of, Caroline, the family source tells Klein in the book, believes “that as a loyal Democrat, she has nowhere to go, no one else to possibly support except Obama.
Obama appears to be treating a number of his major and base supporters in the same fashion. After treating them shabbily, he essentially poses the question to them, “Where are you going to go?…Romney?” Given Oprah Winfrey’s lackluster response of an endorsement (and Klein writes how both the first lady and President Obama snubbed her badly too, when he reached the Oval Office) and taking union support for granted while blowing off the union pushed Wisconsin recall election, 2008 Obama supporters may very well just stay home. As for Caroline Kennedy, she may just be going through the motions or the Obamas made her promise, if he wins, she could not refuse.