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Interim Sen. Kirk Defends His Endorsement Of Coakley

Interim U.S. Sen. Paul Kirk addresses the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in Boston on Friday. Speaking to reporters after the address, Kirk defended his decision to endorse fellow Democrat Martha Coakley in the campaign to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.  (AP)

Interim U.S. Sen. Paul Kirk addresses the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in Boston on Friday. Speaking to reporters after the address, Kirk defended his decision to endorse fellow Democrat Martha Coakley in the campaign to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. (AP)

BOSTON — Interim U.S. Sen. Paul J. Kirk is standing by his decision to make an endorsement in the campaign to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Massachusetts Republicans have said Kirk should not have endorsed Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley because of a nonbinding resolution suggesting the Senate appointee remain neutral.

“I don’t think any irreparable harm has been done. I don’t think there were any surprises here,” Kirk told reporters following an address Friday to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “And the people are always wiser than those of us who may endorse, and they make up their own minds.”

Kirk looks on at a campaign event for Coakley at which both he and Vicki Kennedy endorsed the attorney general. (AP)

Kirk looks on at a campaign event for Coakley at which both he and Vicki Kennedy endorsed the candidate. (AP)

Kirk endorsed Coakley and introduced her Thursday at an event attended by members of the Kennedy family, including the senator’s widow, Vicki Kennedy.

A former top aide to Kennedy, Kirk was appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick in September to temporarily fill the vacancy left by the senator’s death.

Rep. Brad Jones, the Republican leader in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, said Kirk violated the spirit of a resolution that the House attached to a bill giving the governor the power to fill the Senate vacancy on a temporary basis until the special election was held.

The resolution stated that the House, “strongly discourages a senator who takes office as a result of a gubernatorial election from becoming a candidate or endorsing any candidate in the special election that immediately follows such an appointment.”

Coakley faces Republican state Sen. Scott Brown and independent Joseph L. Kennedy, no relation to the political family, in the Jan. 19 general election.

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  • jeffery mcnary

    oh well…he has no clout…he’s an old man who will spend his days in lock-obers or on the cape. if coakley needs that kind of help…she’s in big trouble.

  • RC Reis

    Quoting a scholarly model on integrity, authored by, among others, Michael Jensen, a former Harvard Business School professor, “Integrity” for a person is a matter of that person’s word, nothing more and nothing less.” This definition consists not only of doing what you said you would do, but “doing what you know to do or know not to do, and in the case of do, doing it as you know it is meant to be done unless you have explicitly said to the contrary.” Jensen et al further extend the definition to include “Whatever you are expected to do or know not to do unless you have explicitly said to the contrary.”

    It is safe to say Paul Kirk and Martha Coakley both knew of the resolution that stated that the House, “strongly discourages a senator who takes office as a result of a gubernatorial election from becoming a candidate or endorsing any candidate in the special election that immediately follows such an appointment.” In violating the spirit of the resolution, Kirk violated his integrity (assuming he did not publically state his position to the contrary.) Same with Martha Coakley, since she knew that accepting an endorsement from Kirk, in the face of the House resolution, was not what the public expected of her.

    It is not clear what benefits they derived from their out-of-integrity behavior, but their actions almost certainly guarantee they will be less trusted.

  • Corodon Fuller

    I agree with the first poster above, but the most relevant comment is by Sen. Kirk: “I don’t think there were any surprises here.”

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