Ted Kennedy Jr., confirmed Wednesday that he is considering a future run for office, saying “we all have been brought up in a tradition to try to give back.”
“I haven’t made up my mind one way or another,” the eldest son of Sen. Edward Kennedy said on TODAY, “but I hope one day I’d be honored to serve in some capacity.”
Kennedy made the comments while sitting next to his brother, Patrick Kennedy, the former U.S. representative whose departure from Congress in 2010 marked the first absence of a Kennedy family member in Washington in more than six decades.
A night earlier, the Kennedys helped pay tribute to their father with fellow delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
During their interview with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie, both Kennedys noted how their father successfully championed divisive issues like health care because of his ability to work across partisan lines.
“He had honest friends who were Republicans. And it’s very hard to attack somebody when you’ve been over to their house the night before to dinner,” Ted Kennedy Jr. said. He suggested that President Obama could benefit from such a personal touch.
“It is a mistake not to try to foster relationships of a more personal nature with the people that you have to work with,” he said.
The brothers addressed the recent suicide of Mary Kennedy, the estranged wife of their cousin, Robert Kennedy Jr. Her death illustrates the impact of untreated mental illness, said Patrick Kennedy, who also has struggled with the disease.
“What my cousin, Mary, faced was not only a depression but the stigma that kept her from wanting to seek treatment that would otherwise help her deal with her depression,” he said.
Mary's 18-year-old son, Conor, is currently dating country superstar Taylor Swift. The young couple recently grabbed gossip headlines after crashing the wedding of another Kennedy family member.
“We love Taylor Swift. She’s great,” Patrick Kennedy said. His brother agreed, expressing surprise that a magazine said he called Swift a “Kennedy groupie.”
“What she likes about spending time with our family is that she can be herself,” Ted Jr said. “And you know what? She’s a great person and we love getting to know her.”
Eun Kyung Kim is a correspondent for TODAY.com based in Washington. You can follow her on Twitter @eunkim