Caroline Kennedy goes where her cousins have not:
I want a president who understands that his responsibility is to articulate a vision and encourage others to achieve it; who holds himself, and those around him, to the highest ethical standards; who appeals to the hopes of those who still believe in the American Dream, and those around the world who still believe in the American ideal; and who can lift our spirits, and make us believe again that our country needs every one of us to get involved.
I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.
I've often wondered why even I - who was three months old in a foreign country when he was assassinated - feel the power of the Kennedy charisma from the 1960s. I know the many mistakes he made and the good reasons to criticize his presidency. But the memory of him as a symbol of eternal possibility endures. It endures beyond the shores of this country. Why?
Because America still means something, and every now and again, a person captures it: the restless, liberal hope for a better future, under the sober constraints of a conservative constitution. That was Kennedy. It was also Reagan, as Bill Bennett gracefully recognized tonight. It's real. You can feel it. And who wants to win the presidency by defeating it?
Sometimes, things come together. Watching a black man win the South Carolina primary in a landslide by transcending race: I can't help be moved and inspired. Like so many of my generation and many, many more younger than me, Obama makes me believe in America again, after seven years of brutal, painful, searing disillusionment. I won't let that go. Neither, I have a feeling, will the American people.
(Photo: the scene at Obama headquarters in South Carolina tonight. Win McNamee/Getty.)
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