Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

STATE NEWSMAKER Q&A: Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del.

Source: Dover Post

By Doug Denison

December 9, 2009

Dover, Del. - Q What issues do you want to focus on during your time in the Senate?

A First is jobs, second is financial fraud. And, I’m on the foreign relations committee. I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan twice, I’ve been to the Middle East twice. Plus, freedom of the press. We’ve had a number of resolutions passed and the biggest one was on Iran. We passed a bill with [Sen. John] McCain and [Sen. Joe] Lieberman to do a better job to break through the censorship on the Internet. We have an incredible system of setting up proxy websites so people can get around the blocks that the Chinese put on, the Iranians put on and the Cubans put on.

Q Do you think the healthcare debate is going to be fruitful in generating reform?

A It’s going to be a close vote, but I’ve been working around the Congress for 36 years, I’ve taught about the Congress at Duke Law School for 20 years. I know how bad the Congress can be, I know the mistakes it can make, but on its worst day, it cannot devise a healthcare system as bad as the one we have right now. I’m confident that when we get a final bill and go to a vote, I’ll be voting for it. But, I think there’s a chance we don’t pass healthcare reform. There’s noting that’s a sure bet in the Senate.

Q Working as a chief of staff and campaign manager, you’ve always been a behind-the-scenes guy. What’s it like to be the person in the seat?

A It’s not as different as I thought it would be. When I worked for Vice President Biden when he was a senator, things like this would have been very stressful; talking to the press, going on television. I started doing these things and it wasn’t stressful at all. What I figured out is, when I was doing it before, and I screwed up, it hurt Sen. Biden. Now if I screw up I just hurt myself. The biggest problem for me is I don’t get to see as much of my grandchildren and I don’t have as much time to myself. Being a senator, people don’t realize, is an incredible amount of work and it’s work seven days a week.

Q Is there anything you learned from Joe Biden about being a senator?

A The reason I’ve been able to do this and succeed is because of things I’ve learned working for Sen. Biden and teaching about it for 20 years. I knew the players, I knew the Senate better than a lot of first-term senators, and a lot of more-than-first-term senators. Knowing how the media works in Washington, knowing how the interest groups work. I had a big head start.

Q You seem to be enjoying yourself a lot, have you reconsidered your decision not to run for an elected term?

A Nope. I have never run for anything in my entire life, not even homeroom representative to the student council. I’ve been involved in a lot of campaigns and I know the difference between serving and running. I think I made the right decision when I said I wasn’t going to run and I’m really happy. You can run for the Senate and spend the next two years raising money and organizing your campaign, and if you lose, you’ll have wasted the chance to be a senator.

Q Do you think Attorney General Beau Biden will decide to run for the seat?

A I think Beau has to decide what has to be done. He was in Iraq for a year, and it’s hard to be put in a situation where you’re away from your family and you know anytime it could all end. There’s no hurry, he just has to sit down and say, ‘OK, is this really what I want to do at this point in my life?’

ABOUT TED KAUFMAN

Age: 70

Hometown: Philadelphia

Residence: Wilmington

Family: Wife Lynn; daughters Kelly, Murry and Meg; seven grandchildren

Previous employment: Professor at Duke University Law School and School of Public Policy, member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors

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