WASHINGTON -- Senator Edward Kennedy said he believes his niece's husband, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, should be allowed to run for president. Whether he would cross party lines to endorse him is another matter.
Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday that he supports a constitutional amendment allowing anyone who has been a US citizen for at least 20 years to run for the White House. But Kennedy stopped short of endorsing the husband of his niece, Maria Shriver.
"I watched him on your show, and I think you would agree Arnold's able and he's smart and he's doing a good job out there," Kennedy told host Tim Russert. "And he is married, he is married to one of the most wonderful people, Maria Shriver.
"And I'm still hopeful that, as things go along, that Maria will have more and more influence on Arnold. That's what I'm keeping my fingers crossed for."
The Austrian-born Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has said the constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, "sounds really good."
Schwarzenegger, who became a US citizen in 1983, previously told Russert he has not thought about running for president. The Constitution says only natural-born citizens of the United States are eligible.