Kennedy biographer Ed Klein on Wednesday refuted the absurd claim made earlier in the morning by MSNBC's Chris Matthews that with Teddy's passing "Barack [Obama] is now the last brother."
In fact, when WOR radio's Steve Malzberg addressed what Matthews said on the "Today" show, Klein responded, "Makes me want to puke."
Contrary to media depictions of a strong relationship between the two, Klein claimed Obama and Kennedy "weren't that close...[A] lot of the backing for Obama was Kennedy's paying the Clintons back for stealing the Democratic Party and bringing it to the center rather than to the left" (audio available here, relevant section at 5:45):
STEVE MALZBERG: This relationship between Obama and Ted Kennedy led Chris Matthews, wacko of all wackos in my view, to say that he's now the next, he's the last brother. Obama's the last brother.
ED KLEIN: Yeah, I, I heard that. Yeah.
MALZBERG: What do you think of that? What was their relationship, and what do you think of that description of it?
KLEIN: Makes me want to puke. To tell you the truth.
MALZBERG: Why, why, why?
KLEIN: Because it's so patently untrue, number one. And number two, they weren't, they weren't that close. They, there was a political meeting of the minds, but a lot of the backing for Obama was Kennedy's paying the Clintons back for stealing the Democratic Party and bringing it to the center rather than to the left.
MALZBERG: So you're saying this is fiction basically the close kinship between Teddy and Barack Obama?
KLEIN: Listen, I think Barack Obama's very grateful, very grateful for what Ted Kennedy did. I mean, after all, it certainly helped. But I don't think they ever had a very close relationship. They had a political relationship which Teddy said, "Look, I'll back you but you better make healthcare your first priority when you become president." That was the deal.
On a related note, readers are encouraged to rewind to minute 3:10 when Klein also refuted the claim that Kennedy sent a letter to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick last month asking for the state's succession law to be changed.
In Klein's view: "He may not even have known about it...He's been very, very sick for a very long time. I don't know if he was ever well enough to actually compose such a letter for a period of time it would have taken him to do it...I think maybe if he had a lucid moment he may have looked at the letter."