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Kennedy’s Inner Circle Surprised, Relieved By Decision Not To Run With AM-Kennedy-President

December 20, 1985

BOSTON (AP) _ Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s decision to take himself out of presidential politics surprised and relieved many members of his large family and his closest advisers.

Kennedy announced Thursday that he was dropping out of the 1988 White House race, explaining that he thought he would be more effective as a senator.

Ted Kennedy Jr., 23, who accompanied his father to a news conference on Friday, said he thought the entire family was very pleased.

Walking with the senator through the narrow streets between the Parker House Hotel and Kennedy’s office in the nearby John F. Kennedy Federal Building, the son said the family would have supported any decision.

Now, he added, ″We’re going to be able to have him around a lot more.″

The senator’s daughter, Kara, and his sister, Eunice Shriver, told reporters that they felt relieved that the family will be spared the rigors of another presidential campaign - something they went through with John Kennedy in 1960, with Robert Kennedy in 1968 and with Edward Kennedy in 1980.

Brian Delaney, who recently left the senator’s staff after 14 years, said the decision was made by Kennedy alone.

″There was no advance word put out, basically, to anybody,″ said Delaney, Kennedy’s former press secretary.

For the first time in Kennedy’s career, Delaney noted, the elections for president and his Senate seat fall in the same year.

″Particularly for ’88, there was a realization that you could lose and be out of politics in an elected sense completely,″ Delaney said.

The timing of the announcement was influenced, in part, by Kennedy’s desire to be fair to other presidential candidates or would-be candidates for his Senate seat, said Delaney, who was with the family at the news conference.

Kennedy managed to keep his decision private until shortly before he broke the news to Massachusetts voters in television ads at 5:55 p.m. Thursday.

Dr. Larry Horowitz, the senator’s top aide and a close friend, said that as recently as three weeks ago his instructions were to prepare for a presidential campaign and that the family had given its consent.

The two men had dinner shortly before Thanksgiving at a restaurant near Capitol Hill, and it was only then that Horowitz came away convinced that Kennedy was leaning against running.

″It was not like it was one thing; it was the weight of it all,″ Horowitz told The Boston Globe. ″He asked me where the real opportunity for public service was for him ... and where I thought he could make the greatest contribution.″

According to Horowitz, the actual decision not to run was made over the weekend of Dec. 6, and Horowitz learned of it Dec. 8.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., an ally and close Senate friend of Kennedy, said the senator briefed him Thursday afternoon about the decision, prior to the televised announcement.

″Number one, it’s the family,″ Dodd said. ″Any time a Kennedy runs, there’s a high level of passion. There’s a certain amount of fear involved.″

Dodd said the senator’s three children feard for their father’s safety.

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