Six for the seat

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  September 16, 2009


Let's be honest, if indelicate: the public memorializing of Senator Kennedy's death was an extraordinary public-relations coup for his widow, Vicki. After keeping a low profile in the state for the past 15 years or so, the 55-year-old Kennedy went instantly from covert and unknown to recognizable and beloved.

She is rumored to have had great interest in succeeding her husband in the Senate, but has made no public indication of that since his death. She has not, however, made any declaration that she will not run — in stark contrast with virtually every other potential candidate. Meanwhile, Boston Globe columnists Scot Lehigh and Adrian Walker have both openly advocated for her to toss her hat in the ring. She also conspicuously removed herself from consideration for the temporary appointment, if a law is passed allowing for one — interest in which would have precluded her from running in the special election.

She doesn't need to rush to declare her candidacy. Money will be no issue, and neither will name recognition. If and when she does, she would immediately become a top candidate, if not the prohibitive front-runner.

But if she does jump into the race, she just as immediately becomes the object of tremendous scrutiny. She cannot afford a Caroline Kennedy–esque stammering interview, let alone a Palin-esque disaster.

SHE'S NO TED KENNEDY, BUT . . . she would continue his — and his family's — legacy.
HOW SHE WINS The press and public fawn over the sympathetic widow.
HOW SHE LOSES The press and public see a potential embarrassment.

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