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A Private Kennedy Speaks Out
Democrats turned to the legacy of John F. Kennedy on Tuesday night with hopes of fueling enthusiasm for Al Gore's uphill battle in the coming presidential election.
Helping to stoke the fire, JFK's only surviving child, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, stepped to the stage to invoke the father's ideals and words that helped lead the party to a narrow victory 40 years ago.
Schlossberg reminded the convention of the "New Frontier," a central theme in JFK's 1960 acceptance speech that he gave after receiving the Democratic nomination in Los Angeles.
"I know that my father's spirit lives on," she said. "We are the New Frontier. And now, when many of us are doing so well, it is time once again to ask more of ourselves. Al Gore understands that we need a strong economy, but we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency."
Listen to her speech and read the text.
Although Schlossberg made her entrance to a song from the Broadway musical, Camelot -- an evocative reminder of her mother's romantic feelings about the short 1,000 days of the slain president's administration -- she quickly turned to the election battle at hand.
Her convention speech focused touched upon subjects close to her political heart. She talked about the new frontier calling for a more tolerant
society in civil rights, human rights and the racial divide. And she warned the convention about how the Supreme Court may change if Republicans win the White House.
"If we want a Supreme Court that will protect the freedoms in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights -- including the right to privacy-- that will keep our personal financial and medical information from being up for grabs -- and will guarantee our right to make our own reproductive decisions -- then it is up to us," she told the convention during what was a rare public appearance for her.
An Unwanted Glare of Fame
Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg spent her childhood in the glare of fame she never sought. She is now a lawyer and successful author who has made privacy issues the focus of her professional life, a poignant response to the unwanted attention that has followed her from her days as the nation's "first daughter" through her family's well-chronicled series of tragedies. Her appearance was a rare event when she addressed the Democratic National Convention.
The death of her younger brother John in a plane crash last year seems to have persuaded Kennedy Schlossberg to take a more public role. At 42, she is now the last survivor of her nuclear family.
Schlossberg recently took steps to help the Kennedy Center, the performing arts venue that stands as her father's lone memorial in the city of Washington, D.C. She's featured in a video -- repeated every 15 minutes in the Grand Foyer -- which helps visitors learn more about the facility.
Despite her family's long history of public service, Kennedy Schlossberg has never been overtly political -- although she sometimes lends her name to political causes.
Her primary contributions are on the intellectual front. She's written two books with Columbia University School of Law classmate Ellen Alderman: In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action was the first. The second The Right to Privacy, explores the relationship between the U.S. Constitution and daily life experiences, from police strip searches to protection of medical information.
Husband Edwin Schlossberg, who designs museum interiors and theme park exhibits, is 13 years her senior. They live primarily in New York City with their three daughters.