ABC Gushes Over Ted Kennedy's 'Michael Phelps Moment'

Is ABC’s love for the Kennedys so blind that they would overlook an unintentional allusion to Senator Ted Kennedy’s most notorious night? On a very soft interview with Senator Kennedy’s son, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Good Morning America anchor Chris Cuomo gushed over the senator’s speech reminding the audience that Patrick Kennedy heard someone label it a "Michael Phelps moment" referencing the Olympic swimmer. Ted Kennedy did have his Michael Phelps moment, but not in Denver 2008, but Chappaquiddick 1969.

Diane Sawyer’s tease and at the end of Chris Cuomo’s interview with Congressman Kennedy both referenced Senator Kennedy’s comparison to Michael Phelps. Diane Sawyer quoted the congressman "Michael Phelps moment" and Patrick Kennedy brought the subject up in his chat with Cuomo. At the end of the interview Cuomo compared Phelps’ Olympic record to Kennedy’s speech editorializing "to a lot of Democrats it meant even more than eight gold medals." [audio excerpt available here]

Perhaps if Patrick Kennedy and ABC wanted to sing praise to an ailing senator, they may want to compare him to another celebrity or politician. An Olympic swimmer is too ironic for some.

The transcript follows.


DIANE SAWYER: It was an incredible night and Patrick Kennedy is going to be here talking about his dad, Senator Edward Kennedy, and he did say that it was his dad’s "Michael Phelps moment." I think he was quoting someone saying that.


CHRIS CUOMO: But I'll tell you shoring up the ticket Hillary, Barack Obama, they all got a huge boost last night from Senator Ted Kennedy when he took the floor. Nobody really expected it. It was incredibly emotional. He brought the 20,000 people here all to their feet and there were a lot of tears in a lot of eyes. Now, this morning we had a chance to speak with Senator Kennedy's son Patrick about what his father's speech meant for the party, the country and for the Kennedy family. Patrick, thank you so much for joining us this morning.


CUOMO: Now, last night, I know your father and watching him, he was so strong, so normal that so many people must have felt that,oh, he's just as he always is. But what was he saying before that? How difficult was this for him last night?

KENNEDY: Well, frankly, obviously he is always up for a challenge. That's my father. I mean, whenever faced with a challenge my dad rises to the occasion. He did with the medicare vote with 59, they needed 60 for the vote to make a cloture to save it medicare privatization. My dad rose to the occassion. He came down to cast the deciding vote. This is another occasion. He wanted to be here to illustrate that this was another epic moment in the history of this country when there was a real passing of the torch to a new generation.

CUOMO: And I think the message meant a lot more last night because of the duress that your father is under. I mean just to be clear, that was not easy for him last night.

KENNEDY: Well, you know, you know, the American people are suffering right now, and I think it means a lot to them that my father dug down deep himself and, you know,this is an election where everybody is trying to make ends meet, you know, foreclosure is at an all-time high, and health care, people are struggling. My dad's number one priority is health care. You know, in a kind of way this is an irony. He is fighting for his own health.

CUOMO: Your father has such an established history of making moments at conventions, even though that speech was barely seven minutes last night, do you think that in some ways it was the biggest night he's ever had?

KENNEDY: Well, I heard someone say it was like a Michael Phelps moment and in legislative parlance in politics parlance, it was.

CUOMO: Passionate politician, proud son.

KENNEDY: Thank you, awfully proud of my dad.

CUOMO: I'm sure. Thanks for being here.


KENNEDY: Thank you.

CUOMO: And to a lot of Democrats it meant even more than eight gold medals.

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