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Edward Jonathan Kealty is the former President of the United States who served from 2005 to 2009. He appears in several Tom Clancy novels.
Debt of Honor
In 1991, Kealty served as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. Following the resignation of President J. Robert Fowler, Kealty was appointed as the new Vice President under President Roger Durling. In 1992, Kealty assaulted and raped one of his aides named Barbara Linders. In 1995, FBI Deputy Assistant Director Dan Murray led the investigation of Kealty's misconduct. The investigation later went public, forcing Kealty to resign. He was succeeded by Durling's National Security Advisor, Jack Ryan.
Following Jack Ryan's accession to the Presidency after the death of President Durling, Kealty challenged the legitimacy of the succession. Kealty argued that his resignation had never been submitted to the Secretary of State according to the legal requirements, and therefore he should have become President upon Durling's death.
After Ryan enacted martial law due to the outbreak of a weaponized strain of the Ebola virus, Kealty filed a lawsuit alleging Ryan acted unconstitutionally in restricting the travel of U.S. citizens. While ruling in Kealty's favor on constitutional grounds, the lawsuit also ends Kealty's claim to the Presidency, since he inadvertently acknowledges Ryan as President.
Dead or Alive
In 2001, Ryan retired from the Presidency by resigning and was succeeded by his Vice President Robby Jackson. Kealty ran against Jackson in the 2004 Presidential election. Kealty ultimately won the election by default after Jackson was assassinated by a KKK member while on the campaign trail. Kealty's election earned him the nickname "The Comeback Kid".
Kealty's ineffectiveness in combating terrorism and his reversal of President Ryan's tax reforms has caused many Americans to question his ability to lead the country. In 2007, Kealty and his administration sought to prosecute U.S. Army Ranger Sam Driscoll for murdering sleeping terrorists in the Middle East during their search for "The Emir". This incident and Kealty's incompetence led former Chief of Staff Arnold van Damm to convince former President Ryan to run against Kealty in the 2008 Presidential Election. Following Ryan's announcement of his intention to run against Kealty, all charges against Driscoll were dropped.
In late 2007, Kealty had faced off against Ryan in various televised debates. It quickly became apparent to even his closest supporters and financial backers that Kealty was doomed to lose the race, having never been completely accepted or supported by the majority of Americans.
Kealty sought to discredit Ryan during his Presidential campaign and get ahead in the polls. Kealty publicly revealed the capture of the Emir in their second presidential debate in a desperate attempt to win voters. His attempt fails as Ryan opposes his plan to a public trial for the terrorist. The resulting turnaround in public opinion enrages Czech billionaire and Kealty supporter Paul Laska, later launching a vendetta to discredit Ryan six weeks before the presidential election.
Laska's progressive organization provides the Emir with a legal defense team. After CIA deputy director Charles Sumner Alden identifies Campus operatives John Clark and Domingo Chavez from the Emir's rough sketches of the men who captured him, Laska enlists the help of SVR officer Valentin Kovalenko for collecting information about the former's CIA activities. Kovalenko uncovers Clark's unauthorized assassination of an East German Stasi operative in Berlin in 1981, which is not part of the full presidential pardon Ryan had signed for his friend and making him accountable for murder. Laska covertly gave the dossier to Kealty, who then ordered the FBI to hunt down Clark.
Despite Kealty's ploy, Ryan overcame all of Kealty and Laska's efforts to harm him. Ryan won the presidential election with a narrow percentage of the popular vote. This resulted in the end of Laska's operation, exoneration of Clark and the arrest of key members of the Kealty administration. Ryan then prepared to undo all of the damage the Kealty administration had done. Kealty himself was faced with the knowledge his legacy was now in ruins.
- Although Clancy has never stated that the character is based on a real-life politician, readers have noted the similarities between Edward "Ed" Kealty and Edward "Ted" Kennedy. Aside from their similar names, both are Democratic U.S. Senators from New England, known as politically liberal, come from privileged backgrounds, and both have been involved in sex scandals