WNPR

Big Speech, Big Expectations For Mass. Rep. Joe Kennedy

Jan 30, 2018
Originally published on January 30, 2018 10:09 pm

Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III will give the Democratic response to Trump's State of the Union -- a high-profile gig that comes with risks.

Longtime Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield offered some advice for Kennedy, 37.

"Rehearse, understand the point that you're trying to make, be psychologically comfortable," Neal said. "And then adhere to the old adage, 'Tell them what you're going to tell them.'"

Neal said he hasn't spoken directly to Kennedy about his speech, but said Democrats talked about it at their Tuesday morning meeting.

"Everybody's fairly optimistic it's going to be a fine speech," Neal said.

"Fairly optimistic" is a good hedge given the intensity of criticism to recent response speeches.

In 2009, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal took heat for both his speech and his delivery.

Senator Marco Rubio was mocked in 2013 for stretching off-screen to grab a bottle of water.

On Facebook, Kennedy said he's honored to have been chosen, and will talk about health care, civil rights, and "President Trump's broken promises to American families."

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