MSNBC Gushes Over John Kerry Using Ted Kennedy’s Cane to Walk at U.S. Embassy in Cuba

In the midst of the covering the U.S. Embassy’s reopening in Havana, Cuba on Friday morning, MSNBC’s The Rundown couldn’t help but repeatedly ooze over the fact that Secretary of State John Kerry attended the ceremony using a walking cane that belonged to former President John F. Kennedy’s brother and former fellow Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy.

Gushing that it’s “a fascinating backstory,” NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell made the first mention just after 9:00 a.m. Eastern about Kerry using “Teddy Kennedy’s cane” that “was offered to him” by the Kennedy family in “such a great symbol, symbolic gesture and as we all know, the history of the Kennedy family, John F. Kennedy, and that's when relations were broken back in 1961.”

Just under 40 minutes later, substitute host Frances Rivera was looking to fill time before the ceremony by again bringing up Kerry and the cane:

We see him [Kerry] coming out along with a delegation and also, bears to mention, too, that he is using a cane there very symbolic of this cane being used. It was owned by Senator Ted Kennedy. Again, representing the turnaround of U.S.- Cuban relations there, among other symbols that we're seeing as well during this ceremony.

The fawning affair over this small aspect of the day’s events came up a third time 16 minutes later as Rivera asked Mitchell to again talk about the cane and how it’s “[s]o fascinating to hear about those areas of symbolism that we'll see today.” Mitchell blissfully remarked that “[i]t brings you back to 1961” in which:

The cane used by the youngest of the Kennedy brothers, and he, of course, was a senior senator, had long wanted this kind of normalization, which is now being affected by his junior senator and partner from Massachusetts, now the secretary of state, to reverse, at least in part, the diplomatic isolation of Havana that was affected by John Kennedy in 1961, the three Marines, retired now. Somewhat frail, they're on the plane from Andrews Air Force Base, will be here to hand the Stars and Stripes to the current Marine brigade to raise the American flag.

Just before the event began, Rivera snuck in one final hat tip to the cane (and the Obama administration):

Secretary Kerry there obviously with big smiles and a nice wave as he is rounding out again with symbolically holding the cane that once belonged to the late Senator Ted Kennedy. You can see some applause and many people there excited to see these moments, even some hugs for this. You know, seen a victory lap of sorts for President Obama, the administration of opening up these ties once again with Cuba.

Not to be left out, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt was on scene with Mitchell and remarked “what a year it’s been” in the news with the Iran deal and the reopening of the embassy and flag raising being “absolutely significant” for people such as himself who grew up during the Cold War.

After the Stars and Stripes were raised by U.S. Marines, Holt reacted to the event by revealing that it was “an emotional moment” for him:

Well, as I noted to Andrea, you know, we were here, the flag goes up, you hear the crowd erupt in applause, the Star Spangled Banner. It was a historic moment, and I would say an emotional moment, those of us, you know, who have lived through the Cold War to see this moment, another chapter fades away, but no one is suggesting that this is an official burying of the hatchet here. These countries still have a lot of work to do, a lot of issues that separate them.

The relevant portion of MSNBC’s The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart on August 14 can be found below.

MSNBC’s The Rundown
August 14, 2015
9:03 a.m. Eastern

ANDREA MITCHELL: Well, there’s a fascinating backstory. I just want to point out, because you have been looking at pictures of John Kerry and he's off the crutches for this trip, at least so far today. You can see him using a cane, and it was Teddy Kennedy's cane. Obviously, from the Kennedy family, offered to him. So, such a great symbol, symbolic gesture and as we all know, the history of the Kennedy family, John F. Kennedy, and that's when relations were broken back in 1961. More symbolism, is John Kerry bringing with him three Marines, the former Marines who lowered the flag in 1961 and they will hand the flag in the ceremony within the next hour or so, handing the flag to the Marines now on duty at the newly opened embassy to raise the Stars and Stripes. So, there's a lot of symbolism, but as you point out, correctly, they have not, and Kerry will acknowledge this in the speech, we're understanding, that they have not buried all of the past disputes. They haven't healed the wounds. There's a lot of work to be done.

(....)

FRANCES RIVERA: Here's a live look on the left side of your screen, of the motorcade, John Kerry – Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to come out of that and at any moment, this ceremony will begin. We see him coming out along with a delegation and also, bears to mention, too, that he is using a cane there very symbolic of this cane being used. It was owned by Senator Ted Kennedy. Again, representing the turnaround of U.S.- Cuban relations there, among other symbols that we're seeing as well during this ceremony.

(....)

RIVERA: Sure and still, Andrea, as we await this ceremony expected to happen any moment now. Actually, starting a little bit late, talk about how it's heavy in symbolism. You mentioned so much symbolism leading up to it, but also when the actual ceremony starts in itself, you have the three Marines who in 1960 were the ones who took down the American flag. They will be represented there as well and also John Kerry needing a cane from his bike accident, but the specific cane he's using belonged to the late Senator Ted Kennedy as well. So fascinating to hear about those areas of symbolism that we'll see today. 

MITCHELL: Absolutely. It brings you back to 1961. The cane used by the youngest of the Kennedy brothers, and he, of course, was a senior senator, had long wanted this kind of normalization, which is now being affected by his junior senator and partner from Massachusetts, now the secretary of state, to reverse, at least in part, the diplomatic isolation of Havana that was affected by John Kennedy in 1961, the three Marines, retired now. Somewhat frail, they're on the plane from Andrews Air Force Base, will be here to hand the Stars and Stripes to the current Marine brigade to raise the American flag.

(....)

RIVERA: We are now showing the delegation now – the United States delegation – Secretary Kerry there obviously with big smiles and a nice wave as he is rounding out again with symbolically holding the cane that once belonged to the late Senator Ted Kennedy. You can see some applause and many people there excited to see these moments, even some hugs for this. You know, seen a victory lap of sorts for President Obama, the administration of opening up these ties once again with Cuba.

NB Daily Foreign Policy Cuba Media Bias Debate Communists Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Other MSNBC Video Government & Press State Department Andrea Mitchell Lester Holt John Kerry Ted Kennedy
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