Bobby Kennedy III is the 24-year-old "Outreach Director" for Ameritocracy, a political website that picks apart and fact-checks quotes thrown around by the candidates and the media. The position is hardly unusual for the recent Brown grad; he’s traveled alongside his father, Robert Kennedy Jr., to some of the major campaign trails of the last two decades.
But the young Mr.Kennedy (who, full disclosure, is a former Observer intern) has also gotten attention for other reasons. When Mr. Kennedy threw himself a 21st birthday party at Butter in 2006, it was attended by Mariah Carey, who happily posed for photos with the birthday boy. This past July, when Mr. Kennedy helped put together a launch party for Ameritocracy at the Mercer Hotel, it was noted in Page Six due to attending guests like Glenn Close and Meg Ryan. And Teen Vogue, on its Political Partier blog, has recently invited the attractive young man to its offices to talk about what he’s been up to lately with that clever site of his. (Columbia grad Meghan McCain, 23, and her recently published children’s book about her dad have also been discussed on the blog.)
And so it was no surprise when Mr. Kennedy decided to host a Barack Obama fundraiser at Hiro ballroom in Chelsea on Tuesday evening, inviting guests like Alan Cumming and Rain Phoenix, as well as his father, to attend.
"The whole thing started out as actually something we wanted to put together right after the primaries to try to unite the Obama and Hillary camps," explained Mr. Kennedy of the event. "You know, we wanted to diffuse the bad blood, especially here in the New York area."
Mr. Kennedy, whose shaggy hair was covered by the fedora often worn by well-dressed young men downtown, was playing host to a room of family friends and celebrity guests, directing people toward the tables covered with cheese plates and grilled vegetables, and posing for photos with Mr. Cumming.
He explained that even as the campaign comes to a close, it’s still important to raise money.
"Over the last week the two campaigns combined spent $28 billion on advertising and if you look at ‘that one,’ as McCain likes to say, two-thirds of Obama’s advertising has been focused on economic and health care reforms and then one-third was rightfully spent on attacking McCain," said Mr. Kennedy, as if he were speaking from a podium. "And if you look at McCain and how he spent his advertising, it was 100 percent negative. I think the American people want to elevate the discourse and the best way to do that is to raise money."
Meanwhile, Mr. Kennedy the elder, who said he had just gotten off the plane from campaigning for Mr. Obama in Calorado and New Mexico alongside George Lopez and Cesar Chavez‘s son-in-law Arturo Rodriguez, was impressed with what his son has been able to help organize in his absence.
"We were raised on this," the elder Mr. Kennedy told the Daily Transom. "I’m really glad he’s getting involved and this looks like a successful event. He’s been on campaigns since he was…" Here, Mr. Kennedy had to pause. "Well, definitely he was involved in the Gore campaign, and has traveled with me for Cuomo and Kerry."
"My earliest memory was the Los Angeles convention and seeing Clinton and just the craziness of it. That kind of hooked me on politics for life," said the younger Mr. Kennedy. "Certainly as long as I have been involved, which is probably my whole life, there is an enthusiasm in the democratic party despite its flaws that is really profound."