NY Times Vet, Now Politics Site Chief at AOL: 'Kennedy Has Been a Huge Inspiration to Me'

Melinda Henneberger, Editor-in-Chief of AOL's PoliticsDaily.com site where her bio touts how her “son’s first utterance beyond ma-ma and da-da really was 'algore,'” boasted on Thursday's Hardball of her infatuation with the late Senator Edward Kennedy and admiration for his left-wing policies, declaring:
Ted Kennedy has been a huge inspiration to me and just listening to the coverage over the last couple of days one of the things that struck me the most was listening again to his fabulous 1980 convention speech...
Henneberger, a New York Times reporter in Rome and Washington, DC for ten years ending in 2002, recalled how as a college graduate in 1980, the same year Ronald Reagan gave speeches which inspired many other Americans, “listening to that [Kennedy convention] speech that night was a hugely important, serious moment I think in all our lives, just thinking about the importance of giving back, of, you know, idealism” and so it was an address “I will never forget and was really moved to see again this week.” Asked by Matthews to name what Kennedy causes inspired her, Henneberger replied: “Caring for people who needed our help, thinking about other people, hanging in there when things were rough, not having it depend on whether you lost or won in the short-term.”

Later in the segment she expressed how she yearns for someone to “pick up” Kennedy's “mantle” and that she regrets “the response of all the Kennedy-haters coming out too in a way that you would have hoped would not have happened at a time like this.”

Online, in her Wednesday PoliticsDaily post, “In the Senate and On the Left, Who Will Take Teddy's Place? (And in What Lifetime?),” Henneberger admitted:
My longtime political crush on the man who either in spite of his flaws and losses or because of them accomplished more than anyone else in my lifetime for causes that liberals (and other Americans) care about: fighting poverty, health care reform, civil rights, health care reform, women's rights, health care reform, workers' rights, and so on.
From near the end of the Thursday, August 27 Hardball on MSNBC:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I always get in trouble for saying I have been inspired by Barack Obama, which I've been in the past, especially during the campaign. What about Ted Kennedy and you, my dear?

MELINDA HENNEBERGER, POLITICSDAILY.COM: Well, something that just -- well, Ted Kennedy has been a huge inspiration to me and just listening to the coverage over the last couple of days one of the things that struck me the most was listening again to his fabulous 1980 convention speech and 1980 is the year I graduated from college, so I'm not that young.

And the night of that speech, a bunch of us who had just graduated from Notre Dame and were all going out to do a year of service work, were meeting in a Holy Cross retreat house in Colorado Springs before we all went our separate ways to work in inner cities all over the country. So listening to that speech that night was a hugely important, serious moment I think in all our lives, just thinking about the importance of giving back, of, you know, idealism, of that not being something to be ashamed of, but that being our duty as Catholics, frankly. It was a moment that I will never forget and was really moved to see again this week.

MATTHEWS: So for all those whose cares are our concern, that got to you. And what causes were those?

HENNEBERGER: Caring for people who needed our help, thinking about other people, hanging in there when things were rough, not having it depend on whether you lost or won in the short-term.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center