Kennedy widow is urged as appointee
August 31, 2009
The widow of Senator Edward M. Kennedy should be considered as an interim appointee to represent Massachusetts in his place, two US senators said yesterday.
Senators Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, and Chris Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, said on CNN’s “State of the Union’’ that they could support Kennedy’s widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, as an interim senator if Massachusetts lawmakers allow a temporary appointment before a special election.
“Vicki ought to be considered,’’ Hatch said. “She’s a very brilliant lawyer. She’s a very solid individual. I have nothing but great respect for her.’’
Massachusetts law requires a special election be held within five months to fill a seat that comes open before the end of a term. The issue has taken on urgency for Democrats in Congress, who are struggling to pass health care legislation before the end of the year.
Kennedy has said she is reluctant to serve, but she may change her mind after talking with her children and others, Dodd said.
Kennedy may have been up for a health deal, Kerry says
Senator John F. Kerry said yesterday that Senator Edward M. Kennedy would have been ready to compromise on overhauling health care if negotiations had reached that point.
Interviewed on ABC’s “This Week,’’ Kerry said Kennedy would have fought for a public option in President Obama’s attempt to overhaul the health care system, but would opt for compromise if Democrats got to that point.
Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, appearing on the same program, said there is no disagreement between Democrats and Republicans over revising health insurance regulation. But Hatch says the people have been clear that they do not want a “government-run’’ health system.
In a separate interview on CNN, Hatch said Congress is less likely to pass a sweeping health bill after Kennedy’s death. “You’re not going to get this big, broad Democrat spending bill - you’re not going to get Republican support,’’ he said.