The Massachusetts senator made it clear he admires Hillary Clinton too. But his speech this afternoon was a blistering attack on the language and the tactics of the Clinton campaign.
"With Barack Obama, we will turn the page on the old politics of misrepresentation and distortion. With Barack Obama, we will close the book on the old politics of race against race, gender against gender," Kennedy said today at the American University event.
Though the Kennedy endorsement carries obvious emotional significance for the Obama campaign and within the Democratic Party, its practical benefit is hard to gauge.
Potentially, it could weigh in Obama's favor come Feb. 5 in the Northeast and Southwest regions of the country, and with labor unions and Hispanics, the latter of whom come out in strong support of Kennedy's position on immigration reform.
But perhaps most significant at this stage in the delegate race for the Democratic nomination: a subtle reminder that a Democratic Party existed long before the Clinton era.