Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

Harwood_1.14.bmpIn 1968, Washington Post reporter Richard Harwood took himself off Robert Kennedy‘s campaign bus because he had become too enamored with the candidate.

Four decades later, his son, CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood, says such a thing would not happen today — despite the gravitational pull of Barack Obama.

“There’s been a cultural shift in this business,” says Harwood, who will co-anchor CNBC’s inauguration coverage.

“When you’ve been doing this long enough, you feel a certain detachment from it.” (Chris Matthews and his leg tingles notwithstanding.)

Harwood, 52, has been around Presidential campaigns since he was 11. No joke.

Before his dad was re-assigned to George McGovern in ’68, young John appeared in a TV spot for RFK. Volunteered by his mother, he and several other youngsters chatted with the candidate about education. It was filmed at tony St. Albans School.

“I remember being cooped up under these hot lights thinking it was a special thing,” recalls Harwood, a public school kid. “In the ethical culture of today’s journalism, the idea that one of my kids would be in an ad for a candidate is preposterous.”

(video after the jump)

Harwood had no idea what happened to the RFK footage. In 2000, at the suggestion of the late political operative Bob Squier, Harwood combed Boston’s John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and “son of a gun, there was a master reel of all [RFK] campaign ads from 1968.”

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