On Thursday, President Joe Biden received the formal endorsement of a longtime Kennedy family. This was intended to capitalize on the legacy of a famous Democratic family while implicitly emphasizing the near-universal rejection of the third-party challenge posed by one of its own members, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The wider Kennedy family largely viewed RFK Jr.'s campaign as "dangerous" as the candidate himself sought to capitalize on his surname and family history.

But Thursday's event in Philadelphia - the same city where RFK Jr. announced his independent presidential campaign in October - nonetheless emphasizes that the Kennedys pose a threat to Biden. With Biden seeking re-election, even an underperforming third-party candidate is in a race that could influence the election.

In a speech introducing Biden, Kerry Kennedy - one of RFK Jr.'s sisters who helped lead her family's organizing efforts - called the president "a champion for all the rights and freedoms my father and uncles stood for" while noting Donald Trump's threats to democracy and freedom.

"Donald Trump is running to take us backwards, attacking the most basic rights and freedoms that are fundamental to who Americans are," she said. "On day one he said he would be a dictator, he even said he wanted to try to suspend the Constitution."

"I can only imagine how Donald Trump's insane lies and behavior must have frightened my father, Robert F. Kennedy, who proudly served as Attorney General and honored his promise to uphold the law and protect the country," Kennedy added.

Kerry Kennedy is quoted as saying that Biden's re-election campaign "must unite not just Democrats, but all Americans, Republicans and independents."

Although most of Kerry Kennedy's remarks focused on Trump, he took the opportunity to criticize his brother's campaign.

"In 2024," he said, "there are only two candidates with a chance of winning the presidency."

Biden, speaking after Kerry Kennedy, seemed moved by her words, looking up to the sky and saying: "Mom and Dad, I hope you're listening."

"Those were the most meaningful introductions I've ever received," the president said.

Biden said Robert F. Kennedy's legacy was the star of his political career. Although Biden took a job at a prestigious Delaware law firm shortly after graduating from law school, he eventually decided to become a public advocate.

"I did it in large part because I thought your father would do it," he told the Kennedys.

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Before Biden's speech, Robert Kennedy expressed hope that his family's political disagreements could serve as a model for Americans to "restore civility and respect in public discourse," adding that he believed his family was "united" by their love for each other.

"I heard that my family will support President Biden today. I'm glad they are politically active - it's a family tradition. Even though we are divided in our views, we are united in our love for each other. I think this is a possibility for America. Can we win back our opponents without hatred or with mutual respect and civility? I think we can," Kennedy wrote.

He also noted that some family members are working on his campaign. His campaign manager is his daughter-in-law Amaryllis Fox Kennedy.

After the speech, the Kennedys, along with Biden, will participate in a basic level organizing event to meet with campaign volunteers and local supporters. Family members will then make campaign phone calls and knock on doors.

It's not the first time Biden has tried to emphasize his ties to the Kennedys. He has cited Robert F. Kennedy Sr. as a personal inspiration throughout his political career. A statue of the former Attorney General and senator is located in the Oval Office.