10 Questions for Ted Kennedy

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You've been at the center of the debate on Medicare. Why are you backing the bill on prescription-drug benefits that President Bush is encouraging? The winners in this, when we get a good bill, are going to be the seniors. They have waited too long for this very important, essential health-care benefit. This isn't the bill that I would've written. But it is a bill that will build on Medicare and will also guarantee the availability of prescription drugs across the country.

Aren't you selling out Liberals and helping Bush? That's nonsense. I've always felt that reasonable compromises make sense. Obstruction for the sake of obstruction is the quickest way to political defeat. Real opportunities for progress don't come by very often. When they do, we should seize them.

Do you think President Bush was actively misleading the American people about the Iraqi threat? We need an honest investigation to find out. The evidence so far is ominous. The American people deserve to know whether the President is making decisions about war and peace based on reliable information. It's a disgrace to risk American lives based on shoddy or inaccurate intelligence, even worse to risk their lives based on intentionally deceptive intelligence.

What should we be doing differently in Iraq? I'm concerned that we have the world's best-trained soldiers serving as policemen in what seems to be a shooting gallery. It's hard to see how the situation will improve, unless the President is willing to involve NATO. There are 2 million troops in NATO with some of the most impressive and well-trained police units in the world—units that understand rioting, explosives, crowd control, and maintaining law and order.

What do you make of the Howard Dean phenomenon? I'm a John Kerry man. I think he has the best chance to beat President Bush, and I think he'll win the nomination.

Is the president going to be vulnerable by next fall? I think the President is clearly vulnerable on the key issues, like the economy, health care, education, that make a difference in people's lives. He's increasingly vulnerable on foreign policy too, because his go-it-alone approach isn't working. I think America needs leaders who inspire people with their dedication and passion, not leaders that they follow because there is nobody else out there with a clear, concise message. We have to make distinctions between our party and the G.O.P.

It's another summer with another Kennedy book, this time about John F. Kennedy Jr. When you see the Kennedy industry churning out more product, how do you feel? I'm extraordinarily proud of our family and all they've contributed to America. My brothers left a remarkable and a very inspiring legacy for the future, and I try to do my best to live up to it. I don't pay much attention to the rest.

Have you seen the summer movie starring another Kennedy family member— Terminator 3? I haven't seen Arnold's latest. He's a brilliant actor, but what makes Republicans think he could do well in politics? Of course, it's hard to argue with Arnold when you're hanging upside down by the ankles.

Have you decided to run for re-election in '06? I have every intention of running. I plan to keep this job until I get the hang of it.

How do you feel that after all this time, you're still a great line in Republican fund-raising letters? It's a badge of honor. I enjoy it.