In 1994, on this day the first televised debate of the US Senate election in Massachusetts was held at Faneuil Hall in Boston.
UpstagedFive term Senator Ted Kennedy faced the biggest challenge of his long political career. In a dirty race which contrasted both ends of the political spectrum, his millionaire tycoon opponent, a venture capitalist called Mitt Romney fully exploited the issue of high unemployment. Most witheringly, he even suggested that Kennedy's high profile on the Hill had done absolutely nothing for the local economy apart from raise taxes and create pork. Romney claimed that ten thousand jobs were created because of his work at Bain, but private detectives hired by Kennedy found a factory bought by Bain Capital that had suffered a 350-worker strike after Bain had cut worker pay and benefits.
Although polls showed a close run race, Romney crashed to defeat 41-58 percent on election day. However he took some pride in forcing Kennedy to raise a mortage on his house in order to obtain the campaign fees necessary for victory.
Eighteen years later unemployment stood at an incredible ten percent, and this time Romney (who had been more or less campaigning since the nineties) was running against Barack Obama for the Presidency. But the decision to call upon Kennedy to introduce Obama, and create an association with the victory in Massachusetts, would backfire. Because former President Bill Clinton had hoped to give the introductory speech, and given Kennedy's failed run in 1980, felt that he could have created a more resonant association from the success of his own two term of office. Of course there had been some rivalry between Clinton and Obama, with the former appearing at times to be running a shadow Presidency through his private office.
Still the social liberal he was in 1994, Romney had been forced to quit the GOP to run as the Reform Party candidate for President in a three party system.