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Kennedy family members' embrace carries deeper meaning for Biden

Growing up in a proud Irish Catholic middle-class family, Joe Biden idolized the Kennedys. He and his family saw the Kennedys - successful, wealthy, attractive Irish Catholics - as the embodiment of the American Dream. Biden says Robert F. Kennedy Sr., whose bust sits in the Oval Office, inspired him to become a public defender and ultimately run for office.

"The Kennedys were, as a group, the people he patterned his life after," said former senator Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), who was Biden's longtime chief of staff and remains his close friend. "Not just his political life, but his life."

So when the Kennedy family rallied behind Biden last week in Philadelphia with a full-throated endorsement of his reelection campaign, pointedly choosing him over one of their own - Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running as an independent - it was not just politically helpful. It was also a hugely personal victory for Biden.


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