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Kennedy Stumps for Nephew

By Jorge Casuso

October 15 -- One day after having his name invoked in the final Presidential debate, Senator Edward M. Kennedy jumped into the local political fray Thursday, making a brief stop to tout the candidacy of his nephew, City Council hopeful Bobby Shriver.

With many of Santa Monica's top civic, political and education leaders packed into Back on Broadway, Kennedy delivered a heart-felt and sometimes humorous speech, calling Shriver a "hard worker" who will tackle key issues facing the City.

Sen. Edward Kennedy and Bobby Shriver (Photos by Frank Gruber)

"He could be pretty good on the council," Kennedy said. "I think those that have met Bobby and seen him will find that when he is elected there is no one who will work harder. He is a very, very hard worker.

"I think he has the right values... He cares about what people care about. He cares about the education of your children... that this bay is going to be preserved. He cares about the homeless, seniors... He's prepared to represent you and to fight for your interests."

Kenndy praised his nephew's work on Capital Hill, where, along with U2 lead singer Bono, he successfully lobbied Congress to secure $15 billion to fight AIDS in Africa. He also worked to help erase that country's debt and establish the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which raised $1 billion for extremely poor people this year.

"He moved the Senate and Congress of the U.S.," Kennedy said. With "that energy at the local level, you get things done."

Shriver kicked off the event by thanking his supporters present -- firefighters, two soldiers back from Iraq, three priests, members of the Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), the local head of the Food and Commercial Workers Union and Councilman Bob Holbrook, who Shriver called "the voice of reason."

Calling homelessness "one of the biggest crisis in Santa Monica," Shriver vowed to help lobby ongress to get three "very large" buildings on the VA grounds in Westwood to help house the homeless. One building already is being used with an act of Congress, he said.

Shriver praised Kennedy for his help in the nation's capital. "Obviously Teddy has done everything - Africa, AIDS education, debt relief. We could not have done it without him."

And he recalled his uncle's sense of humor. "In the family, his sense of humor was the greatest thing for us kids."

After recognizing his sister -- Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who is in town campaigning for her son -- Kennedy launched into his speech.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

"You probably wonder about my sanity, why I'm here in Santa Monica when the Yankees are playing the Red Sox," Kennedy said. "That's just what I'm wondering to."

Back on Broadway owner Fred Deni, who greeted the crowd that packed his sun-kissed uscan inspired restaurant, called Kennedy's presence "quite an honor for us and for the City of Santa Monica."

Kennedy wasn't the first major national political figure Deni has hosted. On the restaurant wall was a framed photo of Deni and another famous Democratic Senator -- presidential candidate John Kerry.

Kennedy and restaurant owner Fred Deni.

Recently, Kerry also picked a Deni-owned restaurant to throw a party for the end of his "Sea to Shinning Sea" bus tour in appreciation of his staff and the press who traveled with him on the campaign trail.

The press was invited to the event at Back on the Beach with the provision no one would be reporting.

"It was a pure thank you for 250 people who gave 9,100 miles in support of his campaign," Deni said.





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