September 18, 2014

Elyria
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Caroline Kennedy to appear in Elyria for Obama

ELYRIA — Caroline Kennedy, the daughter and only surviving child of President John F. Kennedy, will be campaigning today in Elyria for Barack Obama.Kennedy, a wife, mother and author, surprised the nation’s Democrats when she penned an op-ed piece endorsing Obama that appeared in the Jan. 26 New York Times.

It was the first time she’d endorsed a presidential candidate since her uncle, Ted Kennedy, ran in 1980.

Kennedy

“I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them,’’ Kennedy wrote in that piece, titled “A President Like My Father.’’

“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.’’

Kennedy’s visit comes just days before the voters in the state head to the polls for Tuesday’s primary election — an election that is in the national spotlight because Democratic Sens. Obama and Hillary Clinton are still fighting for every vote in hopes of being the party’s presidential nominee.

On the Republican side, Sen. John McCain has pretty much locked up the nomination for his party.

The visit reminds some of when another Kennedy — Caroline’s famous father, who captivated the nation along with his wife and young family — made a campaign stop in Elyria.

Mary Keys, whose husband, Grant, was mayor of Elyria in the 1950s and 1960s, said she and her husband were living on Middle Avenue at the time, and John F. Kennedy’s motorcade drove down the street just before the 1960 presidential election.

Kennedy was sitting in a convertible and a throng of well-wishers were nearly pulling him out of the car while shaking his hand, she said.

Grant Keys later convinced Ohio Gov. Michael DiSalle to support Kennedy as the Democratic Party nominee, she said.

Grant Keys eventually became director of state highway safety — which meant he was tasked with guarding Kennedy during visits to Ohio, said his son, John Keys.

“Whenever Kennedy came to Ohio, my father was with him,” he said. “Back then, they didn’t have much of a secret service, so the state would help protect the candidate.”

Contact Jason Hawk at 329-7148 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.