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Clinton offers condolences on death of Michael Kennedy

January 1, 1998
Web posted at: 11:15 a.m. EST (1615 GMT)

HILTON HEAD, South Carolina (CNN) -- President Clinton interrupted a New Year's celebration early Thursday to telephone the Kennedy family and express condolences on the death of Michael Kennedy in a Colorado skiing accident.

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said Clinton was visibly shocked when told of the death.

The president is taking part in the annual Renaissance Weekend retreat held in Hilton Head.

The event, featuring scores of seminars on wide-ranging topics and an opportunity for holiday relaxation, is held on New Year's Eve each year. The Clintons have attended for 14 consecutive years.

At about 12:15 a.m. EST, after the New Year had been rung in at a party in the ballroom of the Hyatt Hotel, Clinton excused himself spoke by telephone to one or more members of the Kennedy family gathered in Aspen, Colorado, where Wednesday's accident occurred.

"He called them to express the first lady's and his personal condolences on the death of Michael Kennedy. He said that the first lady's and his thoughts and prayers were with ... the entire Kennedy family as they endured yet another personal tragedy," Lockhart said.

He said it was unclear whom Clinton talked to in the Kennedy family. Kennedy was the son of Ethel and Robert Kennedy, a New York senator who was assassinated in 1968 while running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Vice President Al Gore, who was vacationing in Colorado, made his own condolence call on Wednesday night.


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