Charlotte, N.C. — Ted Kennedy Jr. watched the Democratic National Convention give his father a posthumous standing ovation Tuesday night during a highlight reel of the senator’s career, including a zinger at the expense of Mitt Romney.
“It was emotional to hear his voice and see his picture,” said the younger Kennedy, a Connecticut resident who paid an extended visit to the state’s delegation with his wife, Kiki. “They were wonderful moments to remember.”
And among those moments was an extended back-and-forth between Kennedy and Romney during the 1994 campaign for U.S. Senate, when Romney adamantly insisted he believed “abortion should be safe and legal in this country.”
“On the question of the choice issue, I have supported Roe v. Wade, I am pro-choice,” Kennedy said on the giant screen of the Time Warner Cable Arena, pausing one beat before adding, “My opponent is multiple choice.”
The audience — the one sitting in modern-day Charlotte — applauded and laughed.
The son said that debate yielded a wealth of material that voters might find relevant today.
“They could only use six minutes,” he said.
Kennedy, 50, who lives in the shoreline community of Branford with his wife and their two teenage children, has been urged repeatedly to make a run for public office in Connecticut, a request he hopes to accommodate some day.
“Hopefully, one day I’ll find a way to serve,” he said. “I love politics. It’s in my blood.”
His cousin’s son, Joseph P. Kennedy III, a candidate for Congress in Massachusetts, introduced the film tribute.
But Ted Jr. has been raising his visibility in Connecticut political circles, campaigning for Richard Blumenthal during his 2010 race to succeed Chris Dodd, the senator’s close friend.
Kennedy sat with the delegation during the speech of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and others who warmed up the crowd for a speech by first lady Michelle Obama. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy greeted him with a shout, “Hey, Kennedy!”
He made small talk with John Olsen, the president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, and shook hands with Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.
Delegates from other states came over to asked if he would pose for a picture with them. He told them it was no trouble.
Later, as he walked the concourse of the arena, a Pennsylvania delegate who knows the family called out. He teased her, warning there was a reporter standing behind her.
As he turned away, a friend of the delegate’s whispered, “The voice, the look…”
Then Kennedy moved on, drawing the occasional sideward glance from delegates who found something familiar about his profile and voice.