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Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy


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Edward “Ted” Kennedy (1932-2009), the youngest brother of President John Kennedy (1917-1963), was a U.S. senator from Massachusetts from 1962 to 2009, making him one of the longest-serving senators in American history. Kennedy entered the Senate after winning a 1962 special election to fill the seat vacated by his brother John when he became president. During his career on Capitol Hill, Ted Kennedy was a spokesman for liberal causes, including civil rights, health care and immigration. A leader of the Democratic Party, he was known for his ability to work with those on both sides of the political aisle. In 1980, Kennedy, whose reputation was tarnished by a 1969 car accident, made a failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Dubbed the “liberal lion of the Senate,” he died of cancer at age 77 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Ted Kennedy’s Childhood and Education

Edward Moore Kennedy was born in Boston on February 22, 1932, the youngest of nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. (1888-1969), a wealthy financier who served as the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and later as ambassador to Great Britain, and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (1890-1995), the daughter of a Boston politician.

As a child, Kennedy moved between his family’s homes in Massachusetts, New York, Palm Beach and London, and attended 10 schools before graduating from Milton Academy in Massachusetts in 1950. He went on to attend Harvard University, the alma mater of his father and three older brothers. During his freshman year, he was expelled after a classmate took a Spanish exam in his place. Kennedy then enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving from 1951 to 1953, mostly in Europe. Afterward, he re-enrolled in Harvard, where he became a more serious student and played on the football team.

After graduating in 1956, he attended the University of Virginia School of Law. While still a law student, he managed his brother John’s successful 1958 reelection campaign to the U.S. Senate, where he represented Massachusetts. The following year, Kennedy earned his law degree and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar.

Ted Kennedy’s Election to the U.S. Senate

When John Kennedy made his 1960 run for the White House, Ted Kennedy campaigned for him in the Western states. A licensed pilot, he barnstormed around the region, meeting with delegates and trying bronco riding and ski jumping as a way to connect with people.

In November 1960, John Kennedy was elected America’s 35th president. The following month, a Kennedy family friend, Benjamin Smith (1916-1991), was appointed to fill the president-elect’s vacated Senate seat until a special election was held. On November 6, 1962, Ted Kennedy, who earlier that year had turned 30 (the minimum age requirement for a U.S. senator), won the special election in Massachusetts to serve out the remainder of his brother’s Senate term, ending in January 1965. Massachusetts voters reelected Kennedy to the seat eight more times, in 1964, 1970, 1976, 1982, 1988, 1994, 2000 and 2006.

With John Kennedy in the White House, Ted Kennedy in the Senate and their brother Robert (1925-1968) serving as the U.S. attorney general from 1961 to 1964 and as a U.S. senator from New York from 1965 to 1968, the glamorous, wealthy, Irish-Catholic Kennedys were often referred to as an American political dynasty.

Ted Kennedy’s Marriages and Family

In 1958 Ted Kennedy married Joan Bennett (1936-), who he met through his sister Jean (1928-); both women had attended Manhattanville College in New York. The couple had three children—Kara (1960-), Edward Jr. (1961-) and Patrick (1967-)—before divorcing in 1982. In 1992, Kennedy married Victoria Reggie (1954-), a Washington attorney with two children. Kennedy often spent time with his family sailing, which he described as his favorite pastime.

Tragedy Strikes the Kennedys

On November 22, 1963, tragedy struck the Kennedy family and the nation when 46-year-old President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. He was the third Kennedy sibling to perish. The oldest child, Joseph Kennedy Jr. (1915-1944), a Navy pilot, died in World War II, and the second-eldest daughter, Kathleen (1920-1948), was killed in a plane crash in France. In June 1964, Ted Kennedy escaped death when the small plane he was riding in crashed in Massachusetts in bad weather, killing two people and leaving Kennedy with a broken back and other injuries that required a six-month hospital recuperation.

On June 5, 1968, tragedy struck again when 42-year-old Senator Robert Kennedy, who had just won the Democratic presidential primary in California, was assassinated in Los Angeles.

With Robert’s death, Ted Kennedy became the family patriarch–his father Joseph had suffered an incapacitating stroke in 1961–and a surrogate father to his two slain brothers’ 13 children.

Incident at Chappaquiddick

On July 18, 1969, Ted Kennedy was involved in a controversial event that would mar the rest of his career. He accidentally drove his car off a bridge on Massachusetts’ Chappaquiddick Island, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne (1940-1969), who drowned. Kennedy did not report the incident to the authorities for nearly 10 hours, claiming the delay was due to the fact that he had suffered a concussion and was exhausted from attempting to rescue Kopechne.

The 37-year-old senator pled guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received a two-month suspended sentence. However, Kennedy was plagued by questions about his behavior. He later referred to his actions as “inexcusable” and said that Kopechne’s death “haunts me every day of my life.”

Ted Kennedy’s Bid for the White House

In November 1979, Ted Kennedy announced he would run against President Jimmy Carter (1924-) for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination. Kennedy won primaries in New York, California and eight other states, but his campaign was disorganized and hurt by lingering questions about Chappaquiddick. At the August 1980 Democratic National Convention, he withdrew his bid for the presidency and went on to deliver a fiery speech in which he said, “For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

Kennedy never made another bid for the presidency.

The Liberal Lion of the Senate

Some historians have called Ted Kennedy one of the most effective legislators in the history of the U.S. Senate. During nearly 47 years on Capitol Hill, his office wrote some 2,500 bills, over 300 of which became law. Additionally, over 550 bills that he co-sponsored became law. A skilled orator and gifted storyteller, Kennedy was known for his ability to collaborate with Democrats and Republicans alike.

He successfully fought for legislation concerning education, immigration reform, increases to the federal minimum wage, voting rights, AIDS care, various consumer protections and equal rights for minorities, the disabled, women and gay Americans. In 1972 he was the driving force behind the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which provides food assistance and access to health services for low-income women and their children, and he was instrumental in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which banned workplace discrimination against and required public accommodations for the disabled.

Kennedy referred to universal health insurance as “the cause of my life,” and for decades worked to achieve national health reform. Kennedy’s widow Victoria was present when President Barack Obama (1961-) signed historic health care legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, in March 2010.

In foreign policy matters, Kennedy was an opponent of the Vietnam War and in 2002 voted against authorizing the use of military force in Iraq. He worked for human rights in South America in the 1970s, championed U.S. government sanctions against apartheid-ruled South Africa in the 1980s, and helped broker a peace agreement in Northern Ireland in the late 1990s.

Ted Kennedy’s Final Years

In May 2008, Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. That August, despite his poor health, he made a rousing speech in his distinct Massachusetts accent at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. In his speech, the senator, who earlier that year had endorsed Barack Obama for president, invoked the legacy of the Kennedy family when he stated, “And this November the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans…The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.”

On August 25, 2009, the 77-year-old Kennedy succumbed to brain cancer at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. At his funeral, which was attended by three former U.S. presidents, the late senator was eulogized by President Obama. Kennedy was buried at Virginia’s Arlington National Cemetery, near the graves of his brothers John and Robert. Kennedy’s memoir, “True Compass,” was published posthumously in September 2009.


Ted Kennedy, History Buff

As the first anniversary of Ted Kennedy’s death approached on August 25, 2010, Thomas Fleming recalled the late senator’s fascination with American history and his desire to share that love with America’s children and his own family.

“Is there anyone you’d like to dedicate this book to?”

The voice on the telephone was my publisher, David Kane, president of American History Press. He was about to start printing copies of the 50th anniversary edition of the book that made me an historian, Now We Are Enemies: The Story of Bunker Hill.

For a moment I was back a half century, reading letters and diaries at the Massachusetts Historical Society, talking to people who had ancestors in this battle, which had made the American Revolution and independence possible. I was writing the first book on Bunker Hill in almost 100 years. Two World Wars had overshadowed the story of the nation’s founding. It had become a shadowy mix of myths and glittering phrases, unattached to the realities the men of 1775 had confronted.

I had been determined to change that grossly deficient mindset. To a considerable extent I succeeded. Now We Are Enemies had been glowingly reviewed in over sixty newspapers and magazines. The Chicago Sunday Tribune gave it the front page of its book review. It was a main selection of the Literary Guild and Reader’s Digest condensed it, winning the attention of an estimated 40 million readers.

Suddenly I had an answer to my publisher’s question. “I want to dedicate it to Senator Ted Kennedy.”

I could sense David Kane’s surprise. He was aware of the senator’s recent death, of course. But he did not realize Mr. Kennedy was part of a dimension of this book that was intimately linked with my identity as an Irish-American writer.

In my mind, I was back six years now – in 2004. I was picking up the telephone to hear a woman asking me a question: “Do you have a few minutes to talk to Senator Kennedy?”

In ten seconds the senator’s wonderful baritone, tinged with a rich Boston accent, was on the line. “Tom? David McCullough says you know more about the American Revolution than anyone else in the country. Would you like to take me and my wife and thirty or forty other Kennedys around Philadelphia and out to Valley Forge?”

The senator explained why he was doing this. As a boy, his grandfather John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, the former mayor of Boston, used to take him around the city, from Old North Church to Faneuil Hall to Paul Revere’s house, and out to Bunker Hill where a soaring granite obelisk commemorated the battle. Honey Fitz filled young Teddy’s head with stories about the men and women who had made each place important. The senator had never forgotten the experience. Now he was the senior Kennedy and he was trying to pass on this tradition to the next generation. For more than a decade, he had been taking the family on these “history-trips.”

I told the senator how my interest in the Revolution had begun in Boston, with my book on Bunker Hill. I added how amazed I had been to discover that there were some 400 Irish Americans at Bunker Hill. Until I made this discovery, I had thought of the Revolution as a struggle between two groups of Englishmen. I added that my four grandparents were born in Ireland. “Now I know I’ve found the right guy!” Ted said.

A month later, I met Caroline Kennedy and her three children in Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. We chatted for an hour or so about their interest in American history while waiting for the other Kennedys to arrive on a bus from Washington, D.C. I had read the collection of great American speeches that Caroline had edited — a superb piece of historical research, with vivid prose on every page. Several of the best speeches were by her Uncle Ted.

The senator and his wife soon arrived, along with the senator’s two sisters Eunice and Jean, and Ethel Kennedy with many of her grandchildren. We toured Independence Hall while I told stories about the Continental Congress and their struggle to find the courage to declare independence. I gave stumpy, eloquent John Adams credit for supplying a lot of that courage. I portrayed a Thomas Jefferson so anxious about his wife’s refusal to answer his letters that he almost went home and abandoned his rendezvous with history. I told how Jefferson’s great manifesto was read to the people on July 9, 1776 in the yard of the Philadelphia State House by Colonel John Nixon, son of Irish-born Richard Nixon.

I could see that the name Nixon made Senator Kennedy uneasy. “Tom,” he said. “Maybe you should point out those were good Nixons.” Though we were deep in the 18th century, the senator was still the senior spokesman of the Democratic Party.

We had lunch at the City Tavern, another historic site. Before the food was served I gave a talk, “Yankee Doodle with a Brogue,” about the Irish in the American Revolution. Everyone was amazed and delighted to learn that an estimated thirty-three percent of George Washington’s army was Irish. I told them about Commodore John Barry, “father of the American Navy,” who was from County Wexford.

I discussed at length one of my favorite characters, Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress and close friend of Ben Franklin. Born in County Derry, Thomson was known as “the Sam Adams of Philadelphia.”

When Parliament passed its first attempt to tax the Americans, the Stamp Act of 1765, a discouraged Franklin wrote Thomson from London that “the sun of liberty is set, and Americans must light the lamps of industry and economy.”

Thomson replied: “Be assured that we shall light torches of a very different sort.”

I added stories about the Irish at Bunker Hill, focusing on Colonel John Stark and his New Hampshire regiment, which had Irish names by the dozen on their muster list. Stark changed the course of American history by foreseeing the British plan — to attack along the Mystic River beach and assault the Bunker Hill fort from the rear. If they had succeeded, the Revolution would have collapsed.

Stark put two hundred of his best sharpshooters behind an improvised stone wall on the beach and cut this “flying column” to pieces. The dismayed British were forced to resort to a costly frontal assault on the fort and the men behind a rail fence at its base.

After lunch we boarded our bus for a visit to Valley Forge. On the way, I talked about the importance of George Washington and his regular army. They were the soldiers who had won the war. When the struggle began, Congress thought they could rely on militia — amateur soldiers called from their homes for a few months’ service. But they were often intimidated by Britain’s professional soldiers, backed by cannon and cavalry. Soon the militia grew reluctant to serve.

I told how the New Jersey militia had been called out in 1776 when Washington and his soldiers were retreating after their defeats in and around New York City. Only one thousand out of 17 thousand men on the state’s muster rolls had responded. The reason, Washington saw, was “the want of a regular army to look the enemy in the face.” Keeping a regular American army in the war became the centerpiece of his strategy.

At Valley Forge, I had arranged for the younger Kennedys to be allowed to pick up and examine muskets and other artifacts at the Visitors Center. The boys had a marvelous time imagining themselves sniping at redcoats. I told how grim life had been at Valley Forge in 1778 — food had run short, uniforms and shoes had deteriorated. Over 300 officers had resigned and 2,000 men deserted to the British army, which was living in relative comfort in nearby Philadelphia.

But the ordeal had a marvelously happy ending — the arrival of the news that Ben Franklin had signed a treaty of alliance with France, making the most powerful nation in Europe our ally. I told how an ecstatic Marquis de Lafayette had rushed to Washington’s headquarters when he heard the news and kissed the startled commander in chief on both cheeks.

On the bus back to Philadelphia, Senator Kennedy was in a jovial mood. He told me how much they all had enjoyed the day. Then, with a twinkle in his eyes, he asked: “Tom, I have a question about those sixteen thousand militia guys in New Jersey who didn’t turn out in 1776 — they were all Republicans, right?”
That was an easy question for an historian who had grown up with a father and grandfather who never voted anything but the straight Democratic ticket. “Senator,” I said. “I didn’t realize you’d been doing such deep research. Of course they were!” It was the perfect Irish-American ending to a day I would never forget.

I sat down at my computer and e-mailed the dedication of Now We Are Enemies to American History Press: “In memory of Senator Edward Kennedy, my favorite Bostonian and a fellow admirer of America’s Revolutionary heritage.”


Preparation for Public Service

After his discharge Kennedy returned to Harvard, graduating in 1956. He then enrolled in the University of Virginia Law School, where his talent for debate, always apparent, was sharpened. He received his law degree in 1959 and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in the same year. In November 1958 Kennedy married Virginia Joan Bennett. Together they had three children: Kara Anne Edward M., Junior and Patrick Joseph.

While still a law student Edward Kennedy managed the successful Senate re-election campaign in Massachusetts of his brother John (JFK). Then, in 1960 he served as Western states coordinator for JFK's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. After his brother's victory in the 1960 election, Edward took a position (on a "dollar-a-year" basis) as assistant to the Suffolk County (Massachusetts) district attorney. As preparation for running in 1962 for the remainder of JFK's unexpired Senate term, Edward traveled widely and filled numerous speaking engagements.


Ted Kennedy

Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009) was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. First elected in November 1962, he was elected nine times and served for 46 years in the U.S. Senate. At the time of his death, he was the second most senior member of the Senate, and the third-longest-serving senator in U.S. history. For many years the most prominent living member of the Kennedy family, he was the son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, both victims of assassinations, and the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy.

Kennedy entered the Senate in a 1962 special election to fill the seat once held by his brother John. He was elected to a full six-year term in 1964 and was reelected seven more times. The 1969 Chappaquiddick incident resulted in the death of automobile passenger Mary Jo Kopechne Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, and the incident significantly damaged his chances of ever becoming President of the United States. His one attempt, in the 1980 U.S. presidential election, resulted in a primary campaign loss to incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter.

Kennedy was known for his oratorical skills his 1968 eulogy for his brother Robert and his 1980 Democratic National Convention rallying cry for modern American liberalism were among his best-known speeches. He became known as "The Lion of the Senate" through his long tenure and influence. More than 300 bills that Kennedy and his staff wrote were enacted into law. He was a proud liberal who believed government can and should play a role to make America a more economically just society, but was also known for working with Republicans to find compromises among senators with disparate views. Kennedy played a major role in passing many laws, including laws addressing immigration, cancer research, health insurance, apartheid, disability discrimination, AIDS care, civil rights, mental health benefits, children's health insurance, education and volunteering. In the 2000s, he led several unsuccessful immigration reform efforts. Over the course of decades, Kennedy's "cause of my life" was the enactment of universal health care, which he continued to work toward during the Obama administration.

In May 2008, Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor which limited his appearances in the Senate. He died on August 25, 2009, at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. At the time of his death, he had come to be viewed as the "voice" and "conscience" of American progressivism.

In the multiverse, Kennedy has had impact on various alternate Earths as well:

  • Edward I, King of New England (The Many Nations of North America)
  • Ted Kennedy, Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2009 under (An Independent in 2000)
  • Ted Kennedy, United States Senator from Massachusetts from 1962 to 2000 (Byrd Timeline)
  • Ted Kennedy, United States Senator From Massachusetts from 1962 to 2009 (JPK)
  • Ted Kennedy, United States Senator From Massachusetts from 1962 to 2009 (President Delay)
  • Ted Kennedy, 41st President of the United States from 1981 to 1989 (The Found Order)
  • Ted Kennedy, Vice President of the United States from 1981 to 1989 (PS-1)
  • Ted Kennedy, 40th President of the United States from 1981-1989 Return of the Kennedys

Very probably it refers to an entity that appears on several timelines.


“The Question”: Ted Kennedy & the Pitfalls of Running for President

One of the most obvious questions a candidate may be asked is why do you want to be president? Why you? Why now? This isn’t the 19th century, after all, when presidents had to be dragged to the White House under the guise of modesty. Why do you want to be president is a simple question with a complex answer–and candidates should be prepared to offer one.

Failing to do so could be fatal to any campaign. Just ask Ted Kennedy.

“Why do you want to be president?” Roger Mudd of CBS asked Kennedy in November of 1979. Kennedy had not yet announced, but was gearing up to–he would make a formal announcement the next week.

For a long four seconds, Kennedy hesitated, his eyes sliding to the ceiling. “Well,” he said, “uh. Were I to make the announcement to run, the reasons that I would run…” and thus commenced a rambling answer which may have derailed his entire candidacy.

The Washington Post wrote at the time that Kennedy “appears at points uncomfortable, faltering, almost dazed.” (Although their review of the interview focused more on Kennedy’s discomfort with Mudd’s line of questions concerning Chappaquiddick). The interview, thought the paper, could have the same effect on the 1980 campaign as the 1960 televised debate between Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

Whatever the Washington Post thought of the interview, Kennedy himself recognized it as a mistake. Decades later, Mudd wrote that he had heard that Kennedy never forgot the question, and that he blamed Mudd for it.

“…thirty years later, Kennedy was still upset that I had asked him why he wanted to be president, even though it was widely believed among politicians and journalists alike that the only thing missing from his candidacy was a formal announcement.”

Kennedy’s failure to answer this softball question has become a thing of political lore. The West Wing even aired an episode where the president’s staff celebrates a political rival’s inability to answer “the question.”

“Can you answer it?” C.J. Cregg, the press secretary, later asks the president.

“Why do I want to be president?” says President Bartlett

“I’ve been thinking about it for the last couple of hours,” the president responds, and pauses. “I almost have it.”

Today, many prospective Democratic candidates have sought to answer this question in their campaign launch videos or in interviews (perhaps aiming to preempt an awkward interview exchange).

Elizabeth Warren talks of her experience fighting big business, and how she would bring that fight to the White House. Cory Booker on The View said: “I’m running to restore our sense of common purpose, to focus on the common pain that we have all over this country.” In his campaign video, he focused on his credentials as a man of the people–living among his constituents, in Newark, New Jersey.

Even Howard Schultz, asked by John Dickerson of CBS This Morning for his “big idea” trumpeted a line about bringing people together (Schultz aims to do this as a candidate from the center). Dickerson replied that most politicians would say that, too. Still–Schultz’s answer wasn’t as bad as Kennedy’s rambling response, which began about how America was great because of its vast natural resources.

The pitfalls of running for president are many and varied. But at the very least today’s candidates can learn from the past. When someone asks you why you want to be president–know the answer.


Ted Kennedy: A life in history

Editor's note: Born into a family that for decades defined wealth, fame and public service, Edward M. Kennedy became one of the nation's most influential and longest-serving senators. Here is an overview of his life.

By THE REPUBLICAN STAFF

The youngest of nine children, Edward Moore Kennedy was born in Boston on Feb. 22, 1932, into a family that captured America's ideal of the brave, bright and beautiful. The Kennedys became America's first royal family.

The son of Joseph P. and Rose (Fitzgerald) Kennedy, born of Boston political families, Kennedy was raised a Democrat in a large family where the children - clever, daring and intensely loyal to each other, radiated an aura. Their lives were bigger than life.
The senator's life was a course in 20th century American history. In 1938, at six, the senator's family moved to England after his father was named ambassador to the Court of St. James. A year later, England would declare war on Germany.

His oldest brother, Joseph P. Jr., a fighter pilot, was shot down while on a mission during World War II in 1944. His oldest sister, Rosemary, was eventually institutionalized and lobotomized. His second oldest sister, Kathleen, was killed in an airplane crash in Europe in 1948.

In 1963, the second oldest brother, John F. Kennedy, a World War II vet, was elected president. His third oldest brother, Robert F., was the U.S. senator of New York. In 1962, Ted Kennedy made his political debut by winning a state-wide election in Massachusetts to fill the remaining two years of JFK's term. Now all three brothers were married with children living in Washington and presenting a New Frontier to America.

Then suddenly, the Camelot days that romanced America were gone. The magic left, leaving tragedy in its place.

In 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Five years later, during his presidential campaign, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in Los Angeles in 1968.

At 36, Ted Kennedy became the new patriarch of the clan.

"I went from being the youngest (boy) to the oldest," Kennedy said in an interview with The Republican in 1994. "When you are the youngest, you come from the vantage point of being able to observe and begin able to inhale the different patterns of life, of behavior, of values the strengths and weaknesses. You are able to watch while others set the path, set the trail, set the standards."


After his brothers' assassinations, there was enormous pressure to fill the void left by his brothers to run for the presidency. But he heard gunfire at the sound of a car backfire.

Kennedy escaped death himself on June 19, 1964 when a small plane that he, Sen. and Mrs. Birch Bayh and aide Edward Moss were riding in crashed near Barnes Municipal Airport. The pilot and Moss died. Kennedy suffered a punctured lung, three crushed vertebrae and two cracked ribs. He was hospitalized for six months. He began to paint.

It seemed the young senator lost his footing with the deaths of his brothers and he sought to escape the pain by excessive drinking and womanizing. In 1969, a year after the death of his brother, Bobby, Ted Kennedy drove off Dike Bridge on Chappaquidick Island, killing campaign aide, Mary Jo Kopechne, after a private party on the island. Kennedy said he dove into the water to try to rescue Kopechne without success. He left the scene, not reporting the accident to the police until the next morning.

It ultimately destroyed his chances of ever being president and the accident set the senator adrift for the next two decades as he tried to navigate the duties of being a husband, father, surrogate father to his slain brothers' children, son and U.S. senator.

Since Robert Kennedy's assassination in 1968, people had looked to Kennedy to run for president.

In 1980, at the age of 48, he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination from the first-term incumbent President Jimmy Carter. The party lost the White House to Ronald Reagan.

Kennedy ran an unfocused campaign and only developed a clear vision of his campaign late into it. Still, his 1980 speech at the Democratic National Convention in New York became his political mantra for the remainder of his life despite the troubles in his personal affairs.

Kennedy told America about his liberal Democratic party where "the commitment I seek is not to worn out views but to old values that will never wear out. Programs may sometimes become obsolete, but the ideal of fairness always endures."

And, endurance became Kennedy's signature. If Jack Kennedy was fire and grace, Bobby Kennedy was fire and soul, Edward M. Kennedy's life spoke to a more workaday virtue - endurance.

He married Joan Bennett in 1958 and had three children together: Kara, Edward M. Jr., who lost a leg to cancer as a youngster, and U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, D-R.I., who suffered serious childhood asthma and cancer. The senator became an expert on asthma and learned how to inject his sons with hypodermic needles for their cancer treatments. His marriage to Joan Kennedy ended in 1982.


Despite Ronald Reagan's wide popularity and 12 years of a GOP White House, Kennedy worked with Republicans in getting laws through Congress that benefited working families. He shepherded through bills that gave health insurance to children, increased the minimum wage, allowed portable pensions for workers and held drug companies to higher standards.

He became embroiled in another scandal in 1991 when a nephew was tried but acquitted for rape. According to the news reports, Kennedy had roused his nephew and son from their beds to go out drinking the Friday evening of Easter weekend at the family home in Palm Beach.

Later that year, Kennedy made a "mea culpa" speech at Harvard University, apologizing for "the faults in the conduct of my personal life."

It was his life's bottoming out. But, as in other dark moments of his life, he endured.

A year later, he married Victoria Reggie, a divorced mother with two school-aged children. Their marriage had romance. They performed for Kennedy staff at reporters during Christmas skits, they vacationed with the Clintons and brought two Portuguese water dogs into the family, Splash and Sunny.

His most difficult race came in 1994 when former Massachusetts Gov. W. Mitt Romney, at the time an energetic, intelligent and squeaky clean political newcomer, challenged him. Kennedy pulled himself together and won by 58 percent of the vote by remaining true to his code, running as a liberal and telling folks that the role of government should be to improve the lives of working families.

Since that time, Kennedy enjoyed huge legislative successes in laws that help the middle and working class access affordable health care, pay for college, protect pensions and create jobs.

While involved in the Northern Ireland conflict for 30 years, Kennedy traveled to the heart of "the Troubles" in January 1998 with his wife and his sister, Jean Kennedy Smith, the U.S. ambassador to Ireland, during a fragile moment of the peace accord. During a speech in Derry, he told families who had loved ones killed in the fight between Catholics and Protestants that their healing would begin if they chose to live on. In Belfast, the senator told teenagers that he valued the efforts of young Americans who shaped the civil rights moment and the anti-war movement in America, telling them, "Your generation has the most to win and the most to lose."

As he aged, he emerged as the family's pallbearer. He buried his mother, Rose. He gave the eulogy at his brother Robert's funeral. He buried two of Robert's sons, Michael who was killed in a skiing accident, and David who died of a drug overdose.

But when John F. Kennedy, Jr., the beloved son of the slain president, was killed in a plane crash in July 1999 with his wife, Caroline, and her sister, America seemed to appreciate the full measure of pain the senator had endured during the span of his life.

He lived his days at full throttle. He kept a back-breaking Senate schedule. He entertained his senate colleagues, friends and staff with stories he acted out, often making himself the punch line. He sang Irish songs at senior centers. On Capitol Hill, he railed away at the conservative presidential appointees. But George W. Bush had just moved into the White House and when the president invited Kennedy and his family to watch a new movie about the Bay of Pigs, a nuclear missile crisis his brother the president had to handle with Cuba in the early 1960, Kennedy graciously accepted.

In the 21st century, Kennedy was arguably the fiercest opponent to the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq in March 2003. Kennedy voted against the Senate resolution - with 22 other Senators -- in October 2002 to give Bush the authority to wage war. Months after the invasion, Kennedy told reporters that "there was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud."

In June 2001, the Democrats were handed an unexpected gift when former Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords defected from the GOP, thereby shifting the balance of power to Democrats by a one-vote margin.

The day before he reclaimed his Senate chairmanship, Kennedy met with the president and later emerged from the White House telling reporters about legislation to fund public education at historic levels and make health care affordable. More recently, he turned his attention to immigration and health-care reform.

As he said two decades earlier, "the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die."


Ted Kennedy Was Forced to Binge Drink in Order to Get Things Done in the Senate

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By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

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Now that Mad Men’s off the airwaves, it might be time to retire the trope of comparing every retro occurrence as “straight out of Mad Men.” Actually, wait, we’ll resurrect it for this newly released bit of oral history on the late Sen. Ted Kennedy: according to him, he received three prestigious assignments on three Senate subcommittees by downing three glasses of scotch.

The interview, conducted by the Miller Center of the University of Virginia, was part of a project collecting oral histories of Kennedy’s life—the good, the bad, and the really, really drunk parts. As Kennedy told it, as a new Senator in 1963, one morning he was invited into the office of then Senate Judiciary Committee chairman James O. Eastland, who asked him the most important question in the world: “Bourbon or scotch?”

Kennedy asked for scotch with ice and water (keep in mind, this was at 10 A.M.), and they began talking about the other important question: Kennedy’s desired committee assignments. Eastland, a prominent segregationist at the time, knew that Kennedy wanted to work on immigration reform and civil rights, so he offered the young Senator a deal:

“You’ve got a lot of I-talians up there. Kennedys are always talking about immigration and always talking about I-talians and this kind of thing. You drink that drink there, and you’re on that Immigration Committee.” I said, “Oh, gee, that sounds great.” I can’t believe this drink. It’ll curl your hair. He was down there fixing something, and I poured about half of it in the flowers—or whatever the hell was around—and drank the rest of it.

He put some more ice in and said, “Now you have to decide that second committee.” He filled that thing up again. He said, “You Kennedys always care about Nigras. Always hear about you caring about those. You finish that off, and you’re on that Civil Rights subcommittee.” I said, “I am? He’s two for two?” [laughter]

Just for kicks, Eastland offered Kennedy a third assignment on the Constitution subcommittee if he could finish a third glass of Scotch. (“Kennedys always talk about the Constitution,” he said.) Kennedy remembered that he left around noon and went back to stumble into his office, where he had to face 40 people waiting to meet with him. “I don’t tell that story very much, but it was all true,” he said.

Kennedy eventually became a champion of civil-rights reform and authored a landmark immigration bill that largely defined immigration policy for the next several decades. These achievements were all made possible, in part, because he got severely hammered with a white segregationist one morning.


Senate Career

Ted Kennedy campaigned for his brother, John F. Kennedy, in the 1960 presidential race. In 1962, shortly after his brother&aposs victory, Ted was elected to John&aposs former U.S. Senate seat. At the age of 30, he became a representative for the state of Massachusetts.

But tragedy was to plague the Kennedy family yet again. In 1963, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. A year later, Ted was in a plane crash and spent weeks in the hospital recovering from a back injury and internal bleeding. The injuries resulted in chronic pain, from which he would suffer throughout his life. Although he was unable to campaign actively for reelection for a full term in 1964, he was swept back into office by a landslide vote.

By 1967, Ted Kennedy began to speak out against the Vietnam War, which the United States had become deeply involved in during his brother John&aposs administration. The United States government set a policy of containing communist expansion worldwide, and it felt Vietnam was the first line of defense. The U.S. government supported the protection of the fledgling democratic government in South Vietnam from the communist government in North Vietnam.

Kennedy, like many Democratic "cold warriors," initially supported the war. However, as revelations of poor military planning on the part of the United States and political corruption in South Vietnam arose, Kennedy grew critical of America&aposs involvement. He specifically debated the merits of the military draft, and decried the failure of the United States to provide for the victims of the war. Kennedy visited South Vietnam after the disastrous Tet Offensive, in which North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong insurgents simultaneously attacked more than 100 South Vietnamese cities. Kennedy stepped up his criticism, yet managed to stay on good terms with the Democratic administration of President Lyndon Johnson.

Ted Kennedy encountered family tragedy again when his closest brother, Robert Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968 during his presidential campaign. Eulogizing his brother, Ted stated, "My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it."

After Robert&aposs death, Ted became the standard-bearer of the Kennedy clan. In 1969, he became the youngest-ever majority whip in the U.S. Senate, and an early front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. A year later, on the night of July 18, 1969, he accidentally drove his car off an unmarked bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, near Martha&aposs Vineyard, Massachusetts. His companion in the car, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned. A judge later found Ted Kennedy guilty of leaving the scene of an accident.

Kennedy was reelected to the Senate in 1970 despite the scandal, but the incident dogged his subsequent political career and discouraged him from running for president in 1972 and 1976. In 1980, however, Kennedy decided to launch a presidential campaign against Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter. Kennedy felt Carter&aposs difficult first term threatened to give control of the government to the Republicans, and the senator was unafraid of publicly criticizing the president. He vowed, however, to support Carter if he happened to win in the presidential primaries. Kennedy won only 10 of the primaries. At the 1980 Democratic National Convention, Kennedy conceded his presidential bid, but gave a hallmark convention speech.

As the 1980s transpired, President Ronald Reagan&aposs sweeping changes of government gained a stronghold on both the presidency and Congress. Ted Kennedy&aposs liberalism soon lost favor with many mainstream Democrats. Those years proved to be difficult for Kennedy as he grappled with minority party status and wrestled with his ideological nemesis, Reagan.

Kennedy also faced trouble in his personal life, as accusations of philandering and alcohol abuse surfaced. In 1982, after 24 years of turbulent marriage, he and wife Joan Bennett Kennedy divorced. In spite of his private struggles, Kennedy won reelection to the Senate in 1982 and again in 1988. In 1992 he remarried — this time to Washington, D.C., lawyer Victoria Reggie — and credits his recovery to his new relationship. Together the couple had two more children: Curran and Caroline Raclin.

With the Democratic victory of Bill Clinton for president in 1992, Ted Kennedy became once again an influential legislator supporting health-care reform. He was an author of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which allows those who change or lose their job to maintain health insurance and protects the privacy of patient information. He also helped author the 1997 Children&aposs Health Act, which increased access to health care for children age 18 and under.

But by the late 1990s, Ted Kennedy had become one of the Senate&aposs most prominent members. He amassed a monumental legislative record, passing bills that affected the lives of many Americans of all classes and races. Kennedy sponsored legislation on immigration reform, criminal code reform, fair housing, public education, health care, AIDS research, and a variety of programs to aid the poor. On the Senate Judiciary Committee, he upheld liberal positions on abortion, capital punishment, and busing. Kennedy did this through political skill and bipartisan friendships with conservative Republicans, all the while maintaining his principled liberal roots. Teaming up with conservative stalwarts such as Senators Nancy Kassebaum, John McCain, and Orrin Hatch, Kennedy has cosponsored legislation on worker&aposs healthcare benefits, immigration, and funding for traumatic brain injuries.

Kennedy extended his legislative record in the new millennium. He worked with both Democrats and Republicans to pass the No Child Left Behind Act, in an effort to close the achievement gap in public schools. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, he coordinated with various agencies to respond to the mental health needs of victims&apos families. He also helped sponsor the bipartisan Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act to prevent, prepare for, and respond to bioterrorism emergencies. An initial opponent of the war in Iraq, Kennedy sponsored legislation to procure additional armored Humvees in Iraq battle zones. Throughout the rest of the decade, Kennedy sponsored or cosponsored legislation to enhance the ability of law enforcement to protect abducted children reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act boost support for Hurricane Katrina victims and expand Medicaid coverage.


Ted Kennedy on the Rocks

Edward Moore Kennedy works harder than most people think, and this morning he is working very hard at a simple but crucial task. He is trying to face the day. It is 9:30 A.M, September 26, and Kennedy is in Room 138 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building to introduce a bill to lure new and better teachers. This kind of thing is ice cream and cake for any practiced politician, a simple piece of business that will provoke few tough questions and at least a few approving editorials. But for Kennedy it seems a great challenge, and no fun at all. He hastens tonelessly through his prepared statement like a court stenographer reading back testimony to the judge. He passes off most of the perfunctory and easy questions to the other politicians and education-Establishment figures joining him, and he stares into space as the other men do the job. When he goes to the podium to introduce his fellow speakers, he walks with a nervous, cautious shuffle, like Steve McQueen after he's been let out of solitary in Papillon. When he holds out the piece of white paper to read the introductions of men he's known for decades, it flutters and shakes in the still air.

Up close, the face is a shock. The skin has gone from red roses to gin blossoms. The tracery of burst capillaries shines faintly through the scaly scarlet patches that cover the bloated, mottled cheeks. The nose that was once straight and narrow is now swollen and bulbous, with open pores and a bump of what looks like scar tissue near the tip. Deep corrugations crease the forehead and angle from the nostrils and the downturned corners of the mouth. The Chiclet teeth are the color of old piano keys. The eyes have yellowed too, and they are so bloodshot, it looks as if he's been weeping.

Edward Kennedy was once the handsomest of the handsome Kennedy boys, with a proudly jutting chin, a Nelson Eddy jaw, and Cupid's-bow lips under a thatch of chestnut hair. When he is dieting and on the wagon, there is a glimpse of that still, which makes it all the harder to see him as he more often is. There is a great desire to remember him as we remember his brothers. The Dorian Grays of Hyannis Port, John and Robert, have perpetual youth and beauty and style, and their faces are mirrors of all that is better and classier and richer than us. Ted is the reality, the 57-year-old living picture of a man who has feasted on too much for too long with too little restraint, the visible proof that nothing exceeds like excess.

After the press conference, as reporters hustle around Kennedy for follow-up questions, it becomes clear that something is especially wrong today with his left eye, which he has been poking and rubbing. He has lost a contact lens. Motioning for room, he slowly searches the floor. A reporter spots the lens and scoops it up with a forefinger. Kennedy takes out a contacts case and screws it open so the reporter can drop in the lens. But there is a problem. The senator's right hand is shaking so violently that he cannot hold the case steady. The reporter hovers his finger over the case, trying to coordinate the path of the lens with that of the case—but the case is all over the map, jiggling up, down, left, right. For a second, Kennedy gets it steady and the reporter swoops in—but there goes the hand again, and the case is off, jogging to the right and the left for another few agonizing seconds before Kennedy stills his hand and the reporter drops the lens home, safe. The senator slowly screws the top back on, to the evident relief of a young aide who stands at his elbow, clutching the boss's bottle of Visine.

It is possible that Kennedy did not know that the girls were underage or that they were pages and, as such, were under the protection of Congress, which serves in loco parentis.

I grew up on Capitol Hill, the son of Kennedy Democrats and the child of an age shaped by Kennedy myths, and I remember playing on the Capitol grounds one fall day, watching the young Senator Kennedy stride importantly by. He seemed a great man: tall, broad-shouldered, with a big, deep chest that stuck out like the prow of a ship as he rushed forward. The man in front of me now seems, as the writer Henry Fairlie described him a few years ago, a "husk," dried up and hollowed out.

But as I watch, a startling thing happens. With a heave of the chest, a deep-lunged breath, a squaring of the shoulders, Kennedy abruptly pulls himself together, becoming suddenly full of himself once more. As reporters press, he expounds on his bill with knowledge and enthusiasm. The Excellence in Teaching Act of 1989 would establish a new National Teaching Corps, like the old LBJ model Reagan killed in 1981, by giving scholarships to students who sign for four-or five-year teaching hitches. Kennedy has spent his political career pushing the religion of the Great Society and he remains devout, even if it often seems these days that he's no longer preaching to masses of the converted but to two old ladies there for vespers and a guy looting the poor box.

"By God, this is exciting," Kennedy says, talking fast and sure, jabbing his finger at a reporter. "What we can do with this bill, we can go into inner-city neighborhoods, we can go into places where there is very little hope, and we can say to the young people 𧯬ome a teacher! Here is an option for your life! Here is a mission for you!' "

In his autumn years, Senator Edward M. Kennedy is a man of parts. Sometimes, especially in the mornings, he seems as weak and fluttery as a butterfly. Sometimes, especially in the evenings, he seems a Senator Bedfellow figure, an aging Irish boyo clutching a bottle and diddling a blonde. But he is also a man who can rise above that caricature to stature: the leading voice of what is left of the Left in American politics, a lawmaker of great and probably increasing power, the self-appointed tribune of the disenfranchised, the patriarch of America's most famous political family and the world's most conspicuous Democrat. He is in obvious ways tragic. His three brothers and one of his sisters died violently, two by public murder. His cruel marriage ended in divorce, with his wife a recovering alcoholic. He suffers still from a back broken in a near-fatal airplane crash. His elder son lost a leg and almost his life to cancer.

The parts of his life collide with each other like bumper cars, the Teddy of the tabloids giving a boozy shove to the senior senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the sordid tragedies of his unprivate private life darkening the face of the public man.

The Kennedy brothers always perpetuated their own glorious images, but over the years the last brother has built an image—not glorious at all—of his very own. For his hard public drinking, his obsessive public womanizing and his frequent boorishness, he has become a late-century legend, Teddy the Terrible, the Kennedy Untrammeled. In Washington, it sometimes seems as if everyone knows someone who has slept with Kennedy, been invited to sleep with Kennedy, seen Kennedy drunk, been insulted by Kennedy. At Desirée, a private Georgetown club where well-heeled fat men mingle with society brats and party girls, Kennedy is known as a thrice-a-month habitué and remembered by at least one fellow customer for the time he made a scene with his overenthusiasm for a runway model during a club fashion show. In a downtown office, a former congressional page tells of her surprise meeting with Kennedy three years ago. She was 16 then. It was evening and she and her 16-year-old page, an attractive blonde, were walking down the Capitol steps on their way home from work when Kennedy's limo pulled up and the senator opened the door. In the backseat stood a bottle of wine on ice. Leaning his graying head out the door, the senator popped the question: Would one of the girls care to join him for dinner? No. How about the other? The girls said no thanks and the senator zoomed off. Kennedy, the formal page said, made no overt sexual overtures and was "very careful to make it seem like nothing out of the ordinary." It is possible that Kennedy did not know that the girls were underage or that they were pages and, as such, were under the protection of Congress, which serves in loco parentis. Nevertheless, the former page said she did find Kennedy's invitation surprising. "He didn't even know me," she says. "I knew this kind of stuff happened, but I didn't expect it to happen to me."

The Gospel According to Jimmy

A former mid-level Kennedy staffer, bitterly disillusioned, recalls with disgust one (now ex-) high-ranking aide as "a pimp…whose real position was to procure women for Kennedy." The fellow did have a legitimate job, she says, but also openly bragged of his prowess at getting attractive and beddable dates for his boss. The former staffer also recalls attending a party at Kennedy's McLean, Virginia, mansion and finding it "sleazy and weird" to see that senator had apparently established as his live-in girlfriend a young woman known to the staff as the "T-Shirt Girl," a New Englander who had previously sold tees at a beach resort and who had reportedly met the senator through his son, Teddy junior. A waiter at La Colline, a French restaurant near the senator's office, remembers a drunken Kennedy and a fellow senator recently staging a late-night scene out of The Three Musketeers, grabbing long-stalked gladiolus from a vase in the front hall and fencing "just like Dɺrtagnan." At the same restaurant in 1985, Kennedy and drinking buddy Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut did a "Mexican hat dance" on their own framed photographs. According to The Washingtonian magazine, which broke the story, "Kennedy spotted Dodd's framed photo [on the wall] and shouted 'Who's this guy?' Laughing, he grabbed the photo from the wall and threw it on the ground, breaking the glass in the frame. Dodd, not to be outdone, located Kennedy's photo and returned the favor." A new Kennedy photo adorns the wall today, inscribed with, "Laissez les bons temps rouler—Let the good times roll."

Lobbyist John Aycoth recalls a recent afternoon meeting he arranged between Kennedy and several of Aycoth's potential clients, representatives of an African government. Aycoth says Kennedy "was incredibly rude" and "was drunk…stumbling and slurring his words and red in the face and smelling of alcohol." One of the visiting dignitaries—a Kennedy devotee who had called on JFK at the White House—presented the senator with a necklace to give to his mother for her forthcoming ninety-ninth birthday. Kennedy's appreciation "When we were walking out, he just pitched it on the desk, right in front of them," says Aycoth. "Didn't open it. Didn't say thanks. Nothing." (After my talk with Aycoth, his associate, former Delaware Congressman Tom Evans, who was also at the meeting, called to say nervously that he had heard what Aycoth had said and that while the account of rude behavior is true, in his opinion Kennedy had been "perfectly sober.")

From all available evidence, God created our elected officials to drink and screw around.

Kennedy regularly finds himself in unseemly scenes. One East Coast playboy recalls an incident a few years ago in a popular Palm Beach bar when "a definitely drunk" Kennedy shoved him against the bar and spilled his beer as the senator rushed out the door with a blonde so young, the man at first mistook Kennedy for an angry father come to take home an underage daughter. Dropping in for a 2 A.M. drink in the Manhattan bar American Trash in January 1989, Kennedy reportedly got into a shouting match with an obnoxious (and possibly intoxicated) off-duty bouncer, which climad with the senator's throwing his drink in the other fellow's face. Unkind Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr writes of Kennedy as "Fat Boy" and says it isn't really considered summer in Cape Cod until the senator drives on the sidewalk for the first time. Reporters wonder at his behavior. "He really will do anything at all," says veteran Washington gossip columnist Diana McLelan, "I think he's mad." Says Bill Thomas, writer of the "Heard on the Hill" column for Roll Call, the well-regarded newspaper of Capitol Hill, "He's off the reservation…out of control…He has no compunctions whatsoever." Thomas likens Kennedy and Dodd to "two guys in a fraternity who have been loosed upon the world."

Perhaps this seems unfair. From all available evidence, God created our elected officials to drink and screw around. Arrogance, too, is common. So is sexual recklessness (witness Gary Hart, Robert Bauman and Barney Frank) power dements as well as corrupts. But Kennedy's behavior stands out. The two most infamous Terrible Teddy stories make the point. Both take place at Washington's La Brasserie, where Kennedy is a favorite customer.

Brasserie I: In December 1985, just before he announced he would run for president in 1988, Kennedy allegedly manhandled a pretty young woman employed as a Brasserie waitress. The woman, Carla Gaviglio, declined to be quoted in this article, but says the following account, a similar version of which first appeared in Penthouse last year, is full and accurate:

It is after midnight and Kennedy and Dodd are just finishing up a long dinner in a private room on the first floor of the restaurant's annex. They are drunk. Their dates, two very young blondes, leave the table to go to the bathroom. (The dates are drunk too. "Theyɽ always get their girls very, very drunk," says a former Brasserie waitress.) Betty Loh, who served the foursome, also leaves the room. Raymond Campet, the co-owner of La Brasserie, tells Gaviglio the senators want to see her.

As Gaviglio enters the room, the six-foot-two, 225-plus-pound Kennedy grabs the five-foot-three, 103-pound waitress and throws her on the table. She lands on her back, scattering crystal, plates and cutlery and the lit candles. Several glasses and a crystal candlestick are broken. Kennedy then picks her up from the table and throws her on Dodd, who is sprawled in a chair. With Gaviglio on Dodd's lap, Kennedy jumps on top and begins rubbing his genital area against hers, supporting his weight on the arms of the chair. As he is doing this, Loh enters the room. She and Gaviglio both scream, drawing one or two dishwashers. Startled, Kennedy leaps up. He laughs. Bruised, shaken and angry over what she considered a sexual assault, Gaviglio runs from the room. Kennedy, Dodd and their dates leave shortly thereafter, following a friendly argument between the senators over the check.

Eyewitness Betty Loh told me that Kennedy had "three or four" cocktails in his first half hour at the restaurant and wine with dinner. When she walked into the room after Gaviglio had gone in, she says, "what I saw was Senator Kennedy on top of Carla, who was on top of Senator Dodd's lap, and the tablecloth was sort of slid off the table ⟊use the table was knocked over—not completely, but just on Senator Dodd's lap a little bit, and of course the glasses and the candlesticks were totally spilled and everything. And right when I walked in, Senator Kelly jumped off…and he leaped up, composed himself and got up. And Carla jumped up and ran out of the room."

From all available evidence, God created our elected officials to drink and screw around.

According to Loh, Kennedy "was sort of leaning" on Gaviglio, "not really straddling but sort of off-balance so it was like he might have accidentally fallen…He was partially on and off…pushing himself off her to get up." Dodd, she adds, "said 'It's not my fault.' " Kennedy said something similar and added, jokingly, "Makes you wonder about the leaders of this country."

Giving Kennedy the benefit of the doubt, it's quite possible he did not intend an assault but meant to be funny, in a repulsive, boozehead way. Drunks are notoriously poor judges of distance, including the distance between fun and assault.

Brasserie II: On September 25, 1987, Kennedy and a young blonde woman—identified by several sources as a congressional lobbyist—allegedly got carried away at a wine-fueled lunch in a private room upstairs and succumbed to the temptations of the carpet, where they were surprised in a state of semi-undress and wholehearted passion by waitress Frauke Morgan. The room, located next to the restrooms, is secured only by a flimsy accordion door, which could not be fully closed. Morgan declined to be interviewed for this story or to comment on or refute the accounts of other sources.

However, waitress Virginia Hurt, who says Morgan described the scene to her shortly after witnessing it, recalls, "He was on the floor with his pants down on top of the woman, and he saw her and she just kind of backed away and closed the door. The girl didn't see Frauke. So Frauke went downstairs and told the manager and [another waitress] overheard."

A waitress to whom Morgan spoke just after the incident says, "She told me…she went up to offer them coffee and when she opened the door…there they were on the floor." Morgan said explicitly, the other waitress goes on, that Kennedy had his pants down and his date "had her dress up," and the two " 'were screwing on the floor.' "

Says another waitress to whom Morgan immediately related the episode, "She said she had walked in to ask them if they needed anything else before she gave them the check, and she just sort of found Senator Kennedy on top of this [woman] on the floor and they were sort of half under the table and half out."

A copy of La Brasserie's reservation list for that day shows that a luncheon table for two in the back room was reserved for Kennedy. A copy of the check, signed "Edward M. Kennedy," shows he was billed for two bottles of Chardonnay.

Kennedy's friends, family and aides are a little skittish about questions on any of this. I asked the senator's nephew, Massachusetts Congressman Joseph Kennedy II, if the man portrayed so scandalously in gossip columns and tabloids was the Ted Kennedy that he knew. "Hey! Hey," said Joe in alarm. "I got—I can't—I, uh, have really no comment on that…There's no answer I can give you that isn't going to be explosive, that's all." Recovering slightly, he added, "You know, Teddy's a grown man and he can do whatever he wants."

When I asked Utah Senator Orrin Hatch—a conservative Republican who nevertheless works closely and likes Kennedy—if he thought his colleague had a drinking problem, I got a similarly telling response. "I wouldn't comment on that. I wouldn't comment on that. All I can say is that I consider him a friend," said Hatch. "I have found [him to be] a vulnerable human being who has a very good side to him. I think he has some bad sides too, but there is a good side to him that I choose to look at."

Kennedy's staffers do what they can to suppress unflattering reports. In researching this article (three months, more than seventy interviews, fifteen books, a couple thousand pages of news reports and speeches), I asked for an interview with the senator. After a long, elaborate quizzing by his press secretary, Paul Donovan, and deputy press secretary, Melody Miller, about the nature of the article and the questions I might ask, Kennedy decided to stick to a blanket policy of not doing interviews with "life-style magazines." Donovan explained: "Frankly he doesn't do interviews with life-style magazines because they tend to ask life-style questions."

I later asked Donovan if he or the senator would like to comment on or deny reports of heavy drinking or unusual behavior by Kennedy, and to comment specifically on the accounts of Kennedy's behavior with the congressional page, the Brasserie waitress, and the luncheon date on the floor. Donovan said Kennedy would stick to his standard reply: "It has been and remains his policy never to comment on this sort of endless gossip and speculation." Donovan did say that the "slight tremor" in Kennedy's hands is attributable not to drinking but to an inherited medical condition that worsens with age. (Brasserie co-owner Campet also declined to comment on either story involving his restaurant. Asked if he would care to deny the incidents, Campet said, "Did you hear me, sir? I have absolutely no comment." Dodd's press secretary did not return numerous phone calls.)

There is not, really, much else that Donovan can say. Kennedy's personal life has always been a press secretary's nightmare. During his twenty-two-year marriage, his extramarital affairs were numerous and barely hidden. "He was philandering from the moment he was married," recalls old Kennedy-family associate Dick Tuck. "Not one-night stands, but not much more than that. Kind of affairs of convenience…I think most normal people might have more than one affair [during a marriage] but not every week, like Teddy. He was always chasing, looking for the conquest."

Of odd and reckless behavior, there are many examples, including Kennedy's photographed 1982 nude promenade on the public sands of Palm Beach, reportedly in the presence of several old ladies. The columnist Taki, chronicler of Europe's idle rich, still calls Kennedy "a boorish and uncivilized philistine" because of an incident in the mid-Seventies. At the time, Taki was a UPI reporter in Athens and a well-known playboy. One day, he got a call from Kennedy's staffers, who asked him to "round up two dates, American girls preferably," for the senator and his nephew Joe during their brief visit to the Greek capital. Taki says he showed up at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, where the Kennedys were staying, with his girlfriend and dates for the Kennedys. "Teddy was…pretty much drunk," says Taki. "In fact, he was really out of it." Taki says he and the others left the senator and his date, a proper young Connecticut woman who was "very, very impressed with the Kennedys," at the hotel while they went nightclubbing. Back home later than night, Taki was awakened by Kennedy's hysterical date. Taki says the drink-befuddled young woman became frightened when she "saw Ted Kennedy coming naked at her," and adds, "that would scare me too, and I would like to say I am a pretty brave man."

Biographers first note obvious public drunkenness in the terrible aftermath of Bobby's murder. In April 1969, flying back from a congressional trip to inspect the living conditions of poor Indians in Alaska, a hard-drinking Kennedy pelted aides and reporters with pillows, ranged up and down the aisles chanting "Es-ki-mo power" and rambled incoherently about Bobby's assassination, saying, "They're going to shoot my ass off the way they shot Bobby…"

Three months later, on July 18, came the defining moment of Kennedy's life, when he drove his Oldsmobile off a bridge on the island of Chappaquiddick, sending young Kennedy staffer Mary Jo Kopechne to her death and drowning his chances of ever getting to the White House. This much-explored accident is worth mentioning because the factors surrounding it are the same ones so apparent before and so apparent still in Kennedy's personal life: a childish belief that the rules of human behavior do not apply to himself, a casual willingness to place himself in a compromising positions with an attractive young woman and, most probably, a reckless use of alcohol.

Kennedy has never told anything close to the whole story of Chappaquiddick, the details of which were covered up by Kennedy associates with the help of compliant local authorities, but he has denied that he was driving drunk, or on his way to an assignation when he turned down the deserted dirt road to Dike Bridge. No writer who has seriously studied the events of the night—and there have been many—has believed him. Leo Damore, whose 1988 book, Senatorial Privilege: The Chappaquiddick Cover-Up, is the most thorough examination of the accident, offers strong evidence that Kennedy was probably drunk behind the wheel and probably on his way to a tryst (not, as he claimed, to the ferry to Martha's Vineyard). Indeed, it is otherwise difficult to explain the actions Kennedy himself called "irrational and indefensible and inexcusable and inexplicable": leaving the party alone with Kopechne and without his driver failing to notice that the had taken a ninety-degree turn that led down a very bumpy dirt road away from the smooth asphalt road that led to the ferry never calling the police for help in rescuing the trapped drying Kopechne but relying solely and clandestinely on his two closest aides and failing to report the accident until after it was discovered ten hours later.

His actions with women seem to be more evidence, as writer Suzannah Lessard put it in 1979, of "a severe case of arrested development, a kind of narcissistic intemperance, a huge, babyish ego that must constantly be fed."

There have been many theories advanced to explain Kennedy's behavior, all of which make much of the extraordinarily competitive and amoral atmosphere (especially as far as the treatment of women was concerned) in which the Kennedy boys were raised. As Garry Wills makes clear in his elegant The Kennedy Imprisonment, Ted Kennedy was born and bred to act like the last of the Regency rakes: to be a boor when it pleases him, to take what he wants, to treat women as score-markers in the game of sport-fucking and to revel in high-stakes risks. Joseph Kennedy Sr. flaunted his affairs in front of his wife and children, made crude passes at his sons' dates and well past his middle years was still chasing doxies. John Kennedy's mad womanizing—frolicking with nudettes in the White House swimming pool, banging a call girl in Lincoln's bed, carrying on barely secret affairs with admitted mobster girlfriend Judith Campbell Exner, with Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield—was beyond anything Teddy has ever done or, for that matter, anything anybody has ever done. Neither Joe nor Jack was punished by church, state, or wife for such behavior—and the late-born Teddy, coming into the family when its adult behavior patterns were already mythologized, presumably figured that neither the rules of decency nor of retribution applied to a Kennedy. The boy grew to manhood without learning how to be an adult. His drinking suggests nothing so much as a frat boy on a toot. His actions with women seem to be more evidence, as writer Suzannah Lessard put it in 1979, of "a severe case of arrested development, a kind of narcissistic intemperance, a huge, babyish ego that must constantly be fed."

Kennedy's only real grown-up job has been serving as a U.S. senator, and the greatest men's club in the world became his second family, giving him the same kinds of special privileges and protections as his first. Michael Barone, coauthor of The Almanac of American Politics, sees Kennedy as a victim of environmentally induced inertia. "In the old days, you could get away with this stuff," says Barone. "The senator would be at his desk and there would be a pair of high heels sticking out from underneath and you weren't supposed to notice it. Maybe Ted Kennedy didn't realize times have changed."

But arrested development doesn't explain why Kennedy seems to be getting worse as he gets older. According to a theory currently popular in Washington, such incidents at Brasserie I and II are evidence that Kennedy, freed at last by the knowledge that he will never be president, is simply giving his natural inclinations full vent. In the opinion of Roll Call's Thomas, "He's beyond caring about anything since he knows he's not going to be president…He's what Kennedys always were, and [as] the only thing that kept them under control was the ambition for higher office…he's no longer under control." Says another Washington reporter, "He seems to be going through a second adolescence…I think he realizes his day in the sun is over. Whereas he might have made a pretense of being a good family man years ago, he doesn't have to pretend anymore…He figures he is never going to run for president again. He has no great ambition beyond being the once almost prince." In short, with nothing left to lose politically (heɽ have to hit the pope and pee on the Irish flag to lose his Senate seat) and long inured to ridicule, he has become the Kennedy Untrammeled, Unbound.

All the theories, however, still leave you wondering. Neither family history nor generational attitudes nor a lifetime as one of the privileged elite nor the liberation of renouncing the presidency fully explain Kennedy's behavior, although all play a part.

A longtime associate of Kennedy's thinks the full explanation must take into account one other factor. He says, "The problem with Kennedy theories is that people are looking for psychological Rosetta stones when the answer is a far more common malady. If you forget he's a Kennedy, it's textbook, it's just textbook."

This man, who asked that he not be identified, is a recovering alcoholic who spoke because he believes Kennedy needs help. He thinks Kennedy's episodes of disgraceful behavior are due to the simple fact that he periodically drowns his few, faint natural inhibitions in a sea of booze. "He's what we call in the trade a binge drinker," says this man, who says he has seen Kennedy drunk enough to lapse into baby talk with his young dates. "We are talking serious binge drinking, really pouring it down." He adds, "There is an extensive conspiracy effort" among Kennedy's close friends "to make him face up to the fact that he's got a problem…There are occasional plots of confrontation and one thing or another to shake some sense into him. The conversation is far more than idle and it involves just about anyone you can think of who has been exceptionally close to him, especially in the last five or six years." There have been, he says, "hints dropped here and there. You put a hook in the water and see if he bites."

"I was chugging to keep up with him," the guest says. "I've drunk with the best of them, and he's the best I've ever seen."

This man, who has known the senator for many years, says Kennedy goes for relatively long periods without drinking "and then, every once in a while, ka-boom"—a binge triggered by the breakup of a brief affair or a break in work. Is drinking the sole explanation for his behavior Obviously, no. Lots of men, including some of his fellow senators, got tanked pretty regularly and don't end up on the floor of a restaurant. A cosseted upbringing, a juvenile nature, a powerful sexual greed, the liberation of putting aside the White House, the arrogance of vanity inherent to a Kennedy, the tragedies of his life—they all play a big part too. But periodic excessive drinking does seem to be the catalyst that brings those forces together and releases them.

Certainly, the anecdotal evidence relating to Kennedy's drinking suggests relatively long periods of sobriety interrupted by bouts of excessive drinking. Younger son Patrick says his father "has the most disciplined life of anybody I know as far as the seriousness with which he takes his work." There are "other times," says Patrick, when he is less disciplined, but "those represent such an infinitesimal part of who my dad is that I get disturbed when people get a misunderstanding of it." Many who speak of his drinking talk of his ability to hold great amounts of liquor and his discipline about exactly when he drinks. "He can control when he drinks," says long-time associate Milton Gwirtzman. "He never drinks when he's working." Former legislative aide Thomas Susman says he has never seen Kennedy drink except socially at night, and he adds, "I have been at his house as early as six in the morning and he's up. He may have been slosh-faced until four [but] he's never staggered in, he's never had trouble getting started, he's never had to have a little hair of the dog before he could work…"

On the other hand, eyewitness reports of heavy drinking are plentiful. Washington Times editor John Podhoretz recalls seeing Kennedy, at La Brasserie in 1986, drink a bottle and a half of wine by himself in twenty-five minutes. A recent dinner guest at Kennedy's home recalls with similar amazement Kennedy's guzzling three screwdrivers in one twenty-minute period. "I was chugging to keep up with him," the guest says. "I've drunk with the best of them, and he's the best I've ever seen."

A former La Brasserie waitress calls Kennedy and Dodd "drinkers' drinkers" whose demands led management to put a makeshift bar near their habitual table. "They drank so much you couldn't get to the [regular] bar fast enough," she relates. In a "standard evening," she says, each man would knock off half to three quarters of a bottle of hard liquor, then switch to wine or champagne, and sometimes then to after-dinner drinks: "They would [sometimes] stay at the restaurant till three oɼlock in the morning, just drinking and drinking. By the time they got up, they could hardly stand."

A woman in her mid-twenties who dated Kennedy steadily a few years ago also describes the senator as largely controlled, occasionally drunk. It was true, she says, that "when you go out with Chris Dodd, go out with the boys, you do get drunk and so on." But Kennedy drank little when he was with her, and the couple would often spend the evening by the fire at the senator's home, reading books or talking. The Ted Kennedy she knew was not the Bad Boy of La Brasserie but "a golden retriever," a "romanticist" who let her have the last bite of his dessert at night and kissed her good-bye on the forehead in the morning. Yet it is hard to believe that this picture is wholly accurate. At the time this woman was dating Kennedy, she was a fixture on the nightclub scene and a heavy partyer.

But even giving the woman the benefit of the doubt and assuming that she and Kennedy did pass many quiet, contented evenings together, I question whether it would have been that fascinating for the 57-year-old senator to sit cozily around the fire, engaged in conversation with a woman who says that she developed a crush on him largely because they both had "blue eyes and fair hair" and who was surprised to learn that her ex-boyfriend had been the subject of several biographies. I wonder whether Kennedy is even really enjoying any of this anymore.

As the former girlfriend and I were finishing up our talk, she told me of a big party to which she was going that night. "It's going to be reeelly, reeelly great!" she said. "They're going to have these drinks called sharks, which are reeelly, reeely fun. You have this plastic shark in your glass and you also have a plastic mermaid and you push the shark and the mermaid together and then pour some red stuff over the mermaid that looks like blood."

At what age does it stop being fun and start being hell on earth to spend your evenings with someone who gets reeelly, reeelly excited about novelty cocktails?

The recovering alcoholic quoted earlier thinks Kennedy has passed that point: "He is a very unhappy man personally. He's very unhappy and lonely [because of] his inability to find someone after his marriage fell apart…Getting laid has long since ceased being fun."

A Boston reporter recalls seeing Kennedy on a morning after: "I had to cover him taking part in the Hands Across America thing on Boston Common and, Christ, it was like someone had poured Jack Daniel's in his hair. It was like he was shpritzing Jack Daniel's. And he's holding hands with these two 50-year-old ladies, and it was just really pathetic. You look at the guy and you think, My God, he must be dying for a drink. You think, He's really killing himself."

"He has the kind of personal wealth where he can do just about anything he wants to do," says Orrin Hatch. "But I wouldn't trade life with him for ten seconds. Iɽ rather be poor and in the condition that I'm in than trade with Ted."

The better part of Ted Kennedy's life is found, as it is with so many men, in his work and in his children. When Teddy came to the Senate in 1962, inheriting the seat his big brother John had vacated when he was elected president, he was conspicuously only in his youth and inexperience. Twenty-eight years later, his is the fifth-ranking member and the liberal leader of what remains, despite all its current confusion, the most important legislative body in the world.

The American Enterprise Institute's Congress watcher, Norman Ornstein, only goes a little beyond others when he declares that "Kennedy is going to go down as one of the most significant senators in history, in terms of concrete things accomplished and things put on the agenda that will get accomplished in years to come." Illinois Democrat Paul Simon calls his colleague one of the "three or four shapers of what happens in the Senate," and adds, "in terms of moving the agenda of the Senate, I can't think of anybody who has had a greater impact." Republican hatch calls Kennedy "the most powerful, effective liberal in the Senate" and says history will view him as "one of the all-time-great senators."

Even a partial listing of the major bills in whose passage Kennedy has played a part is impressive. Whether you admire them or not, these are the measures that transformed—mostly liberalized—America in our time: the first Immigration Reform Act the Voting Rights Act and its extensions the Freedom of Information Act the Gun Control Act the Campaign Financing Reform law the Comprehensive Selective Service Reform Act the Eighteen-Year-Old Vote law the Occupational Safety and Health Act the War on Cancer bills the recodification of federal criminal laws the Bilingual Education Act the Fair Housing Acts the Age Discrimination Act the Airline and Trucking Deregulation bills the Job Training Partnership Act the South African sanctions and the Grove City Civil Rights Restoration Act.

"They drank so much you couldn't get to the [regular] bar fast enough.”

Far more than either of his brothers, who were lackluster senators, Kennedy, over the past three decades, has been responsible for changes in the complexion of this country and in the lives of its citizens. He has been an ally of blacks, American Indians, the poor, the sick, the aged, the mentally ill, starving refugees worldwide and immigrants. He has been an outspoken liberal, unafraid to take the controversial positions—on issues such as busing, abortion, gun control, the Vietnam War (late but forcefully), the nuclear freeze and capital punishment—that other senators clearly avoided.

Since Kennedy assumed the chairmanship of the Labor and Human Resources Committee in 1986, upon the Democrats' regaining control of the Senate, his power has grown markedly and he is now, by all accounts, in the prime of his career. He has become not only the most consistent counterforce to the long-running Republican administrations in pushing for government activism in health, education, labor and science, but has also become adept at building Republican-Democrat, Right-Left coalitions that can ensure passage of compromise domestic-policy legislation. Hatch, for instance, says he "came to the Senate to fight Ted Kennedy." Yet, because Hatch likes him and trusts him—and because with Kennedy behind it, a bill automatically receives serious attention—he now often joins Kennedy in sponsoring relatively uncontroversial measures.

Kennedy has abandoned the costly Utopian reforms he pushed in the Seventies—such as government-financed universal health insurance and welfare payments that guaranteed an income above the poverty level for all—and now focuses on less-budget-busting programs. He is increasingly successful and increasingly prolific. The 100th Congress (1987-1988) was the best period he or almost any senator has ever had: Kennedy moved more than twenty major pieces of his own legislation through the Senate, including a comprehensive plan to assure medical care, support services and discrimination protection for people with AIDS.

A great part of his legislative strength comes from the fact that he likes his colleagues and they like him. A clubman at heart and endowed with a youngest son's natural deference, he is as uncommonly decent toward his peers as he is uncommonly indecent toward his lesser. Senator Joseph Biden, the Delaware Democrat who chairs the Judiciary Committee, says he will never forget the way Kennedy treated him during the seven months in 1988 that Biden was recovering from a brain aneurysm. "He would call my home and speak to my wife and offer to make contacts with doctors he thought were good," Biden recalls. "Once, he got on the train and came to the house in Wilmington, sat up here all day with me, talking. He brought a gift, too—a lovely engraving of an Irish stag." Much more importantly, says Biden, Kennedy did not take advantage of his associate's illness and reassert his authority over the Judiciary Committee, which Kennedy had previously chaired.

Another great strength is his staff—the best and probably the hardest-working on Capitol Hill—which numbers about a hundred people, including committee staffers. Kennedy depends heavily on four or five top advisers, while dozens of mid-level staffers work under great pressure to keep churning out the bills. His public appearances are carefully scripted and stage-managed. For committee hearings, Kennedy's staff provides him with big black briefing books that can run to more than a hundred pages, with an opening statement, detailed questions, background on the issues involved and bios of the speakers he will hear. Moreover, Kennedy has continued his brother John's habit of gathering experts from Harvard and elsewhere for informal briefings, holding frequent "issues dinners" at his home. No senator has ever had greater access to a wider range of paid and free counsel.

But no matter how excellent it may be, staff work can take you only so far. Much of what Kennedy does every day he must do himself, no matter how he feels in the morning. And you can't look at his labors without being impressed by his willingness to stick to the tedious daily tilling of the legislative field. Take congressional hearings. Please. As chairman of the Labor and Human Resources Committee and of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration and Refugee Affairs, and as a member of the Armed Services Committee and of the Joint Economic Committee, Kennedy must chair or attend a couple hundred hearings a year. And while some of them are fascinating, a great many more are dull morality plays. Even more so than life itself, congressional hearings are not one damn thing after another but the same damn thing over and over again. Still, unlike many senators, who are content to make only brief appearances at these hearings, Kennedy often plays an active role even in the hearings that he does not chair.


Virginia Joan Bennett was born at Mother Cabrini Hospital in New York City. [1] She was raised in a Roman Catholic family, [1] in suburban Bronxville, New York. Her parents were Harry Wiggin Bennett Jr. (1907–1981) and Virginia Joan Stead (1911–1976). [1] Her father was a graduate of Cornell University and later worked as an advertising executive. Bennett grew up with one younger sister, Candace "Candy," (born 1938). She attended Manhattanville College (then a Sacred Heart college), in Purchase, New York. [1] Manhattanville was also the alma mater of her future mother-in-law, Rose Kennedy, as well as her future sisters-in-law Jean Kennedy Smith and Ethel Skakel Kennedy. In 1982, Bennett received an MA in Education from Lesley College, now known as Lesley University. As a teenager, she worked as a model in television advertising. [2]

In October 1957, at the dedication of a gymnasium at Manhattanville College in memory of another Kennedy sister, Kathleen – who had died in a plane crash in France in 1948 – Jean Kennedy Smith introduced Joan to her younger brother Edward (a.k.a. Ted), then a student at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville. [3] The couple became engaged quickly and Joan grew nervous about marrying someone she did not know that well. Joe Kennedy insisted that the wedding should proceed, [4] and they were married on November 29, 1958, in Bronxville, New York. [1] [5] The small family wedding was held just a few weeks after Ted's older brother U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy won his landslide re-election for his United States Senate seat representing Massachusetts in 1958. Joan had three children with Ted Kennedy: Kara Kennedy (1960–2011), Edward M. Kennedy Jr. (Ted Jr.) (b. 1961), and Patrick J. Kennedy (b. 1967).

Two of their children were cancer victims. Ted Jr. developed bone cancer at age 12, which resulted in the removal of a portion of his right leg in 1973, and Kara was treated for lung cancer in 2003. [6] Daughter Kara Kennedy died of a heart attack at age 51 on September 16, 2011.

Ted suffered a severe back injury in a 1964 airplane crash while campaigning for his first full Senate term. Joan assumed the full campaign-appearance schedule for his successful re-election in 1964. He had earlier won a special election in November 1962 to serve out the final two years of his brother John's Senate six year term John had resigned from the U.S. Senate upon his November 1960 election as the 35th U.S. President.

In July 1969, Ted Kennedy was involved in a car accident at a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts that resulted in the death of his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. [7] Although pregnant and confined to bed in the wake of two previous miscarriages, Joan attended Kopechne's funeral. Three days later, she stood beside her husband in a local court when he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. She suffered a third miscarriage shortly thereafter. [8]

The couple separated in 1978 after twenty years of marriage. [9] She subsequently told McCall's magazine about her alcoholism and her work to stay sober. [10] They remained together officially married during his failed 1980 U.S. presidential campaign, later announcing plans to divorce in 1981 the divorce was finalized in 1983. [11]

In 1992, she published the book The Joy of Classical Music: A Guide for You and Your Family. Kennedy has worked with children's charities, remains an accomplished pianist and has taught classical music to children. [12]

Kennedy's later years have been shaped by chronic alcoholism, which had developed during her marriage. The alcohol problem escalated with sporadic, uneven sobriety, repeated drunk-driving arrests, [2] court-ordered rehabilitation, [2] and a return to drinking. This ultimately led to kidney damage, with the possibility of dialysis [3] and protracted complications. In July 2004, her son, Ted Jr., had been appointed her legal guardian in 2005, her children were granted temporary guardianship. That year, she was hospitalized with a concussion and a broken shoulder after being found lying in a Boston street near her home. [2] [13] [14] In 2005, she requested that her second cousin, financial planner Webster E. Janssen of Connecticut, establish a trust to control her estate. This was in violation of her sons' guardianship. Her children later took successful legal action against Janssen, removing him as trustee and later filing a complaint against him with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. [15] That October, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery. [16] She agreed to strict court-ordered guardianship and her estate has since been placed in a new trust overseen by two court-appointed trustees. [3]

Apart from a brief relationship shortly after her divorce, she has neither remarried nor pursued another relationship. [3] She attended Ted's funeral at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. [17] As of 2005, she resided in Boston, Massachusetts, and Cape Cod. [2]


Watch the video: Ο λόγος που σκότωσε τον Κέννεντυ (May 2022).