Senate swears in Biden’s replacement, Ted Kaufman
Associated Press WASHINGTON — Ted Kaufman, a Delaware Democrat who for decades has been a political adviser to Sen. Joe Biden, DDel., was sworn in Friday to fill the Senate seat Biden relinquished to become vice president.
Kaufman, 69, has made clear that his emergence into the public spotlight will be brief, that he does not plan to stay in the Senate past 2010.
Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, who appointed Kaufman to fi ll Biden’s vacated Senate seat, joined Biden’s wife Jill in watching the swearing-in from the visitors’ gallery. Biden, who will become vice president next Tuesday, formally resigned Thursday after 36 years in the Senate.
Kaufman served on Biden’s Senate staff from 1973 to 1994, including 19 years as chief of staff, and has held senior positions in all of Biden’s national campaigns.
“It was like getting married,” Kaufman said in a telephone interview after the swearing-in. “ You can anticipate it, but when you walk down the aisle, it’s a totally different feel. That’s the way this was. It was special.”
“ The Senate is a special place to me. I worked here for 22 years,” said Sen. Kaufman. “And even after those 22 years, it still gives me goosebumps.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in introducing the new senator , said, “No one ever will fill the shoes of Joe Biden.” Sen. Kaufman, he said, “knows he has to be Ted Kaufman, not Joe Biden, and he will do that.”
Reid added that one reason Biden “has had the strength that he has had over these years is because his back was always protected by Ted Kaufman.”
Sen. Kaufman stated that his first priority would be to work on economic recovery.
“ The economy is affecting most Delawareans and most Americans,” he said.
“ When you lose a job, you don’t just lose a job, you lose money, health care, and self-respect. I can’t imagine anything worse than having to come home and tell your kids, you’ve lost your job. I want to work to help turn things around,” said Sen. Kaufman.
A graduate of Duke University and the MBA program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Kaufman is a senior lecturing fellow at Duke and since 1995 has served, by presidential appointment, as a charter member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. He also heads a political and management consulting firm based in Wilmington, Del., and previously worked for the DuPont Co.
Biden and Delaware Sen. Thomas R. Carper escorted Kaufman into the Senate chamber, and he was sworn in by Vice President Dick Cheney, who is also president of the Senate.
Many had predicted Minner would choose Biden’s son Beau, Delaware ’s attorney general, to succeed him. That option disappeared when Beau Biden’s National Guard unit was sent to Iraq. However, he would be in position to run for the Senate seat in 2010 if Kaufman steps aside.
Kaufman said he hadn’t given any thought to what he’ll do after the term ends.
“ The phrase I find going back and forth in my head is life is what’s happening when you’re planning for it,” he said.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
From our local paper from the AP, but I will be writing our new Senator Kaufman, please restore our Constitution, sir.