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Report: Kennedy’s hands shook during speech, dropped mic

Monday, Mar 27, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I dunno. Maybe he was shaking because of the uncomfortable message he delivered to the party bosses? Whatever it was, he’s gotta get this sort of basic stuff under control

His hands shook as he spoke, and he accidentally dropped the microphone when he finished, but Chris Kennedy tried to play it cool Monday as he made his pitch to Cook County Democratic leaders, downplaying — and even joking about — the value of their endorsement in the governor’s race.

“Slating? I don’t know. Is this like the Town and Country Restaurant? I mean, what are we talking about here in the back room of a restaurant?” Kennedy said. “If you think the people of the United States would put up with that, it’s not going to happen. It ain’t going to happen. I love you all. I mean no disrespect.” […]

“I just don’t know that it’s as meaningful as it was 50 or 60 years ago where people in the back room could control the outcome of an election,” Kennedy said. “I don’t believe that exists in the United States anymore. … I would say that having a huge social media presence. I’d say having the endorsements of people on Facebook, and LinkedIn, or Twitter or Snapchat is probably more important than what goes on in the back of a restaurant.” […]

Kennedy’s remarks also left Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios — the Cook County Democratic Party’s head — trying to defend the party: “This is not the party of 30 years ago and anybody who think it is is totally wrong.” […]

Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, spoke for just over seven minutes — his hands visibly shaking during some of the speech. He dropped the microphone, which made an audible thump when it hit the floor.

Ticking off Joe Berrios isn’t the worst thing Kennedy has ever done. That man is just not beloved outside the room he shared with Kennedy and the other candidates today.

But, dude, get it together.


  1. - NIU Grad - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 4:37 pm:

    From Wiki: “Paper tiger is a literal English translation of the Chinese phrase zhilaohu (紙老虎). The term refers to something that seems threatening but is ineffectual and unable to withstand challenge.”

  2. - The Dude Abides - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 4:40 pm:

    Doesn’t sound like a guy you want taking on Rauner.

  3. - JoeMaddon - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 4:42 pm:

    Over and over I keep hearing the same thing:

    “Oh, Chris Kennedy. A Kennedy!” And they want to like him. They expect to like him. And then they meet him. They listen to him. And nearly everyone walks way unimpressed.

  4. - A guy - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 4:44 pm:

    I’ve made this particular point to 2 of my sparring partners here on CF.

    He just doesn’t have the gift that some of his relatives do. The ones that are orators are among the finest there are. The ones that don’t are as bad as the great ones are great.

    Both Pritzker and Kennedy are gifts to Biss in the Oration department. They make him look like Cyrano.

    I’m so fond of Chris, but he’s been giving speeches with these terrible tics, shakes, voice breaks and drops…for over 25 years. It won’t likely improve even a little.

  5. - Ok - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 4:44 pm:

    Um I would take a governor with shaky hands over a habitual liar and con man anyday. And I think I would call that out over calling out someone with shaky hands too.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 4:52 pm:

    Kennedy, like Pritzker, like Biss…

    Gotta find your sea legs.

    Ads can be crafted around things. If Kennedy can’t get it together enough to get the ads to work, then that’s a red flag.

    Until then, nerves also so a desire to try to be sincere and to be the best they can be speaking. It can be taught.

    The best actors make it look “too easy”…

    … Rod and Bruce immediately come to mind.

  7. - poorspeakers - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 4:53 pm:

    Both Biss and Kennedy have zero charisma. I did not think anyone could be duller than Kennedy, but Biss is.

  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 4:53 pm:

    They really should’ve been more accommodating and allowed him to give his speech in an elevator. By himself.

  9. - Anon - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 4:57 pm:

    That’s not how a mic drop is supposed to work.

  10. - sal-says - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 4:57 pm:


    Raunner’s hands don’t shake. So what. What does IL have? A conceited, ideology obsessed individual who can hold 13 MILLION Illinoisans hostage. With no apparent recourse.

    Media: Just Stop It.

  11. - walker - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 5:00 pm:

    He’s right about the back room.

  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 5:01 pm:

    ===Raunner’s hands don’t shake. So what===

    If you don’t understand the show business part of politics, then I can’t help you. More likely, though, you’re just a blind hyperpartisan.

  13. - Ancschbf - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 5:04 pm:

    Kennedy isn’t ready for prime time. He’s full of gaffes. Picture shaky hands against Rauner in debate. Ain’t cut out for it.

  14. - real - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 5:21 pm:

    This is like saying you’re a flawed candidate because you appear like a normal human being with those shaky hands. We would rather have a candidate or governor that lies to us with a straight face and posture like our current one.

  15. - real - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 5:22 pm:

    Why aren’t we calling out a governor that lies? Why are we focused on a candidate with normal human qualities such as shaky hands?

  16. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 5:24 pm:

    The Kennedy Crew, from the ridiculous elevator episode up to now needs to have been doing is continuing to trot Kennedy out, and at the same time, “practice, practice, practice”, and work on just continuing to be speaking publicly, and it’s so early, by state fair, Kennedy just needs to be “serviceable”…

    That means not be seen as nervous.

    They’ll work on it. They have to, and they will.

  17. - Skyway - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 5:25 pm:

    I do believe we will see Governor Kennedy take the oath of office in a couple years…Governor Edward Kennedy Jr. of Connecticut. Great speaker, great one-on-one, unlike his cousin.

  18. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 5:31 pm:

    What all of the talk about process and none about policy?

    No solutions to Illinois problems detailed here today by any of these candidates.

    They are running not to be Bruce Rauner, because he has dared to reform Illinois and hurt democratic special interests who finance their campaigns.

    They have no solutions to stop the dysfunction in state government or the massive outmigration of Illinois residents

    they are truly the party of nothing

  19. - real - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 5:32 pm:

    I think you have selective hearing. There was plenty of policy discussed especially at each even the candidates hold. Catch up!

  20. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 5:33 pm:

    ===No solutions to Illinois problems detailed here today by any of these candidates.===

    By nearly every measure Illinois is worse since Bruce Rauner became governor.

    That’s a lot to take on - Lucky Pierre -, lol

  21. - Fixer - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 5:47 pm:

    Rauner’s solutions have been phenomenal, LP… /s

  22. - striketoo - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 6:11 pm:

    If he can’t speak publically without the shakes by now, it is too damn late. Move on.

  23. - Cecil B. DeMille - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 6:28 pm:

    Right out of Central Casting…Chris Kennedy played by Clint Howard and Pritzker played by Oliver Platt.

  24. - careful - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 6:35 pm:

    His supporters are in for a rude awakening at first debate.

  25. - Carhartt Union Negotiating Team - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 6:52 pm:

    I’m still unimpressed with the Democratic field. Rauner will be a tough one to beat - not necessarily because of his money and certainly not because of his dismal record…but more so because he’s able to claim the whole system is against him. As offensive as his dress-up costumes are, he has gotten better about being the regular Joe trying to fight “the broken system.”

    And folks will buy that garbage.

    Kennedy has been very unimpressive. Biss, for all that folks say about his public demeanor, is one of the most changed lawmakers I’ve seen in my career, meaning - he’s become more human and down-to-earth. But it’s not quite proven to be enough as of yet. As for JB… I know he has money. Does he have personality? I just don’t know.

    I look at other states and see these down-to-earth, normal, middl-of-the-road Democrats…but ours all seem just, um, weird. Sorry.

    And, that’s not a phenomenon of just this cycle. It’s a long term trend.

  26. - Amalia - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 7:41 pm:

    “….Biss…he’s becoming more human and down-to-earth.”

    any progress in that regard would be an improvement. He’s smart, but his “loss” against Mendoza included that he’s highly deficient in the down to earth department.

  27. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 8:29 pm:

    Anybody But Rauner.

  28. - Gooner - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 9:10 pm:

    I’ve spent many years as a trial lawyer. I’m really good at it.

    My first trial, I was terrible. Looking back, people probably saw some flashes of what I’ve since become — a phrase here and there — but overall, I wasn’t very good.

    Here’s the thing though: I learned from that first trial and I get much better quickly.

    Let’s hope that’s the case for Kennedy. The first time before what he expects to be a hostile audience he may be miserable.

    Next time though? He better be improved. It is possible to do so, and if he’s going to run a real race, it needs to happen.

    As others have noted, you can’t go up against Rauner if you seem terrified. Even in a still solidly blue state, he’s toast if he looks afraid.

  29. - filmmaker prof - Monday, Mar 27, 17 @ 9:23 pm:

    Not a fan.

  30. - X-prof - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 12:16 am:

    I haven’t heard Chris Kennedy speak, but based on the comments here, he might share the same congenital neurological disease, spasmodic dysphonia, that affected RFK and affects several other Kennedys, including Robert Kennedy Jr. See If this is the case, he’s unlikely to improve much, and it might well impair his political prospects. But that reflects more on we voters than it does on him.

    Be that as it may, I share filmmaker prof’s reservations based on his service on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

  31. - 7Mary3 - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 3:20 am:

    So he was nervous. Who cares? Running for governor is heady stuff, and this is just the start. Give the guy a chance.

  32. - Oh really - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 3:57 am:

    Rauner is the best governor in the history of illinois. Why change?

  33. - NoGifts - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 6:52 am:

    He might try a beta blocker to start out with. I knew a musician who shook so badly from stage fright. The individual played a wind instrument so he needed his hands to be steady.

  34. - Public Speaking 101 - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 7:23 am:

    It ain’t that hard. If Kennedy cannot master the basics, he ought not be playing.

    According to the biography by Kogan and Wendt, Big Bill Thompson’s handlers took him to an empty tent and seated themselves in the empty bleachers while he practiced delivering a speech.

    Each time that the politician needed to smile and look towards the audience, he received a cue when they dropped a brick against a wooden bleacher.

    He learned and the rest is history.

  35. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 7:27 am:

    Watch a Seinfeld episode with George “Big Stein” Steinbrenner and the. listen Kennedy’s pitch and tell me who did it better.

  36. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 7:29 am:

    Steinbrenner is blown away …

  37. - Hit Em With the Hein - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 8:31 am:

    Starting to make me think that the best orators in this thing are the ones that people are writing off the most….Pawar and Daiber. They seem calm, relaxed and letting it fly. Maybe cause they have the least to lose. Biss is a great orator and I like him but he just seems dull. I don’t think he is dull he just comes across that way.

  38. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 28, 17 @ 12:38 pm:

    ===Biss is a great orator … I don’t think he is dull he just comes across that way.===

    “Great orator(s)” don’t “come across that way.”

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