«Mr. Kennedy has the ability to reach all of America that I don’t think anyone else can,» Kucinich said, arguing that the scion of America’s most famous political family would be a stronger general election candidate than Biden if he Former President Donald Trump is elected the Republican nominee.

Kennedy has earned praise from far-right figures, including the endorsement of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, but Kucinich said that’s simply evidence of his broad populist appeal and not a darker strain of the candidate’s support or collusion with conservatives trying to undermine Biden. as some Democrats have argued.

«His very choice of me as his campaign manager should put any of those questions at ease,» Kucinich said.

Kucinich, 76, and Kennedy, 69, have similar worldviews, especially in foreign policy: Both question US support for Ukraine in its war against Russia and tend to see US hegemony as the root of many of their the ills of the world.

Campaign strategy, fundraising expectations, staffing plans and office location are still being determined, Kucinich said. When asked about party insiders who have said Kennedy will have a hard time recruiting experienced staff to work on his campaign, Kucinich replied: «Tell those Democratic operatives to call me.»

Kucinich chafed when asked about Kennedy’s activism against vaccine mandates, asking why it was relevant, echoing Kennedy’s position that he is not against vaccines, and suggesting that the issue will not be a part campaign center.

«He has been an environmental lawyer for 40 years and raised questions about the safety of some [vaccines]. He is not against vaccines,” Kucinich said.

Kucinich was elected mayor of Cleveland in 1977 at age 31, earning him the nickname «boy mayor» and presiding over one of the most tumultuous times in the city’s history. Cleveland defaulted under his watch, following his refusal to sell the city-owned power company. Kucinich barely survived an impeachment campaign and was defeated in his 1979 re-election bid.

He worked his way up from below, winning a city council seat in the 1980s and then moving on to the state Legislature before securing a seat in Congress. Meanwhile, Kucinich’s decision to hold on to the power company aged well, drawing praise of those who came to recognize it as a city asset. But his political instincts began to produce diminishing returns later in his career.

Aside from his unlikely White House bets, Kucinich lost his House seat after another Democratic element, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, defeated him in the 2012 primary after redistricting. After that loss, Kucinich began courting the conservative media and others on the political right, landing a stint as a commentator for Fox News. He also raised his eyebrows when praised Trump’s inauguration speech in 2017.

Kucinich’s subsequent comeback attempts proved futile. He lost a Democratic primary for Ohio governor in 2018. And a full-circle attempt to return as Cleveland mayor fell short in 2021 when Kucinich failed to advance from a nonpartisan primary. Headlines from that race included Kucinich’s initial rejection to reveal if he had been vaccinated against Covid. He later released a letter from his doctor who cited a “chronic health condition” that “requires prudent consideration of any potential therapeutic intervention” and failed to include a vaccine among a course of precautions Kucinich was taking to avoid contracting the coronavirus.