Obama Conjures the Kennedys in Jersey City

Three points short in New Hampshire, Barack is still coming strong

If that's wishful thinking, Sorensen is not alone among Democratic veterans. Ronnie Eldridge, the former city councilwoman from Manhattan's West Side, said Obama also reminds her of a Kennedy—in her case, it's Robert Kennedy, for whom she was an early supporter. "I have the same instinctive feeling about him that I had about Bobby Kennedy," said Eldridge. "They are people who shake up the political establishment—people you trust."

The story is mostly lost in pages of flaking newsprint, but more than 40 years ago, most respectable liberals in New York wanted nothing to do with Bobby Kennedy, preferring the plodding but unquestionably liberal Republican incumbent, Kenneth Keating. The leap of faith by Kennedy supporters back then was premised on the notion that his actions would match his soaring rhetoric. That was something no one ever really got a chance to find out, since he was assassinated in the midst of his 1968 presidential run (a scenario that haunts some Obama backers as well).

Another veteran buying into the Obama gambit is Richard Ravitch, 64, the housing developer and former chief of the MTA, who is credited with rescuing the city's subways in the 1980s. Ravitch, who was a mayoral candidate in 1989, is running this year as an Obama delegate in Manhattan. "I read his autobiography, and I read his second book, and I was immensely impressed," said Ravitch. "I asked to meet [him], and when I met him, I decided I wanted to support him. My generation screwed things up pretty bad," Ravitch added. "The next generation deserves a shot."

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