Tag Archives: ted kennedy

Opinion: History Channel Kennedy Miniseries will be “Shamalot”

 

The Kennedy Brothers

 

ISN’T ASSASSINATION ENOUGH?

LET THE KENNEDYS REST IN PEACE

Dear Friends –
 
I am taking time today to write and express my extreme displeasure with The History Channel’s planned miniseries The Kennedys. After reviewing portions of the draft script, I was floored by the sheer number of inaccuracies, distortions and omissions of essential facts in this docu-drama.
 
This is not what future generations should be learning about the presidency of John F. Kennedy.
 
As we reach the 50th anniversary of JFK’s inauguration this year, presenting an epic miniseries which is not only grossly inaccurate but clearly designed to assassinate the character of a president who gave his life for this country, is wholly unacceptable to me. 
 
My daily concern as a historian, author and museum curator is the quality of education we are giving our children in the field of history. As a radio/print journalist, Kennedy scholar, and founder of several websites devoted to the Kennedy family legacy, I have devoted 25 years of my life to providing accurate information to anyone who is interested in learning about our nation’s 35th president and his family.
 
So when I see a script like The Kennedys, proposed to air on (of all places) The History Channel, I shudder to think of the potential and far-reaching consequences.
 
When fiction is presented as fact, that is entertainment. It is not history and has no place on The History Channel.
 
I am also highly offended that the same History Channel which brought us such outstanding documentaries as JFK: A Presidency Revealed and Turner’s The Men Who Killed Kennedy would ever stoop this low, becoming little more than a mouthpiece for right-wing rumormongering and propaganda the likes of which we would expect from Fox News.
 
Many of my fellow historians and researchers have joined together to let the History Channel know how we feel. We must try and stop this miniseries from being produced as currently written.
 
Please ask The History Channel to allow JFK’s living decendants, friends and key advisors – as well as credible historians and researchers – to consult on production of The Kennedys miniseries. Then, and only then, can we rest assured that this presentation on the Kennedy family is truly “fair and balanced.” 
 
Please take a few minutes to learn more about The Kennedys miniseries here:

History channel draws flak for planned JFK miniseries

Pittsburgh Post Gazette – Dave Itzkoff – ‎Feb 19, 2010‎

 Also please visit the website http://StopKennedySmears.com to view a short film directed by Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films which features interviews with Ted Sorensen, David Talbot, Nigel Hamilton, Rick Perlstein, David Nasaw and other Kennedy historians expressing their shock and outrage at this deeply-flawed production. You can view some excerpts of the script and decide for yourself is this is what you want your grandchildren to know about President Kennedy and his family. 

If Jack Kennedy were alive today, he’d surely sue them for defamation of character and win. But since he’s sadly not here to defend himself, looks like it’s going to be up to those of us who still care to speak up before it’s too late. 

If you agree, I hope you will add your name to the petition at StopKennedySmears.com and tell the History Channel to present real history. 

Thank You,
 
 
New Frontier
Founding Editor

 

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Rep. Patrick Kennedy Pulls a Lyndon

In other shocking political news today, Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy announced that he will not seek re-election, leaving the U.S. Congress without a Kennedy for the first time since 1947.

Wow. Now that’s what I call “pulling a Lyndon,” allright.

“I shall not seek, nor will I accept…oh to hell with it, I quit, ok?”

After Scott Brown’s stunning victory in the Massachusetts special election for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, is the tide turning in American politics? For better or for worse? Your thoughts?

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Kennedy Funeral Plans Announced

KENNEDY TO BE BURIED WITH BROTHERS AT ARLINGTON

WASHINGTON – Sen. Edward M. Kennedy will lie in repose Thursday and Friday at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, followed by his funeral Saturday at a city church and burial later that day near his slain brothers at Arlington National Cemetery.

Kennedy’s family plans to travel by motorcade with his body from their compound on Cape Cod, Mass., to the library in Boston on Thursday. The facility will be open to the public for certain periods on both days while Kennedy lies in repose. The Kennedys have planned a private memorial service at the library for Friday night, according to a schedule of events released by Kennedy’s Senate office.

On Saturday morning, a funeral Mass for the late senator will take place at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica — commonly known as the Mission Church — in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston. The cavernous basilica on Tremont Street, built in the 1870s, was where Kennedy prayed daily while his daughter, Kara, successfully battled her own cancer.

“Over time, the Basilica took on special meaning for him as a place of hope and optimism,” the family statement said.

Kennedy died late Tuesday after a yearlong struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.

A burial service at Arlington was scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

Kennedy, who served in the Senate for nearly half a century, will be laid to rest near his brothers, former President John F. Kennedy and former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, on the famous Virginia hillside that serves as the burial sites of others from the storied clan, including former first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

At the site of the eternal flame rest four Kennedy family members: the former president and his wife; their baby son, Patrick, who died after two days; and a stillborn child. Robert Kennedy’s grave is a short distance away and somewhere near it is the most likely site for Edward Kennedy’s burial.

Senator Kennedy spent more days than most at Arlington visiting the graves of his beloved brothers and paying tribute to the fallen men and women of Massachusetts who gave their lives for our country,” the statement said.

A senior defense official said the Kennedy family some time ago approached the Army to explore the possibility of burying the senator at Arlington, the nation’s most celebrated burial ground of fallen military and the resting place of astronauts, Supreme Court justices and other giants in American history.

Kennedy is eligible for burial at Arlington by virtue of his service in Congress as well as his two years in the Army, 1951 to 1953. He was a private first class and served in the military police at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, then located in Paris and now in Belgium.

The family met with Arlington officials again Wednesday to finalize the plans, said a second defense official.

___

Associated Press writers Pauline Jelinek in Washington, Philip Elliott in Oak Bluffs, Mass., and Denise Lavoie in Boston contributed to this story.

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Ted Kennedy Loses Battle With Cancer

FAREWELL TO AN ICON

 

“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.”

 

Edward M. Kennedy, one of the most powerful and influential senators in American history and one of three brothers whose political triumphs and personal tragedies captivated the nation for decades, died late Tuesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Mass., at age 77. He had been battling brain cancer.

His family announced his death in a brief statement released early Wednesday. “We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever,” the statement said. “We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all.”

President Obama released a statement Wednesday morning, pointing out that “virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts. . . . Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States Senator of our time. . . . Our hearts and prayers go out to” the Kennedy family.

Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, was the last male survivor of a privileged and charismatic family that in the 1960s dominated American politics and attracted worldwide attention. His sister, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, died two weeks ago, also in Hyannis Port. One sibling, former U.S. ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith, is still alive.

As heir through tragedy to his accomplished older brothers — President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), both of whom were assassinated — Edward Kennedy became the patriarch of his clan and a towering figure in the U.S. Senate to a degree neither of his siblings had been.

Kennedy served in the Senate through five of the most dramatic decades of the nation’s history. He became a lawmaker whose legislative accomplishments, political authority and gift for friendship across the political spectrum invited favorable comparisons to Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and a handful of other leviathans of the country’s most elite political body. But he was also beset by personal frailties and family misfortunes that were the stuff of tabloid headlines.

For years, many Democrats considered Kennedy’s own presidency a virtual inevitability. In 1968, a “Draft Ted” campaign emerged only a few months after Robert Kennedy’s death, but he demurred, realizing he was not prepared to be president.

Political observers considered him the candidate to beat in 1972, but that possibility came to an end on a night in July 1969, when the senator drove his Oldsmobile off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, Mass., and a young female passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned.

The tragedy had a corrosive effect on Kennedy’s image, eroding his national standing. He made a dismal showing when he challenged President Jimmy Carter for reelection in 1980. But the moment of his exit from the presidential stage marked an oratorical highlight when, speaking at the Democratic National Convention, he invoked his brothers and promised: “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.”

Instead of a president, Kennedy became a major presence in the Senate, which he had joined in 1962 with the help of his politically connected family. He was a cagey and effective legislator, even in the years when Republicans were in the ascendancy. When most Democrats sought to fend off the “liberal” label, the senior senator from Massachusetts wore it proudly.

In a statement issued early Wednesday, Sen. Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate’s majority leader, called it the “thrill of a lifetime” to work with Kennedy, describing him as a friend, the model of public service and “an American icon.”

He said Kennedy’s legacy “stands with the greatest, the most devoted, the most patriotic men and women to ever serve” in the Capitol.

Reid said that in addition to mourning his loss, “we rededicate ourselves to the causes for which he so dutifully dedicated his life.”

For decades, Kennedy was at the center of the most important issues facing the nation, and he did much to help shape them. A defender of the poor and politically disadvantaged, he set the standard for his party on health care, education, civil rights, campaign-finance reform and labor law. He also came to oppose the war in Vietnam and, from the beginning, was an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq.

Congressional scholar Thomas E. Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, described Kennedy’s mark on the Senate as “an amazing and endurable presence. You want to go back to the 19th century to find parallels, but you won’t find parallels. It was the completeness of his involvement in the work of the Senate that explains his career.”

Republicans repeatedly invoked Edward Kennedy for fundraising causes. They portrayed the hefty, ruddy-faced Massachusetts pol as the ultimate tax-and-spend liberal, Big Government in the flesh.

Despite that caricature, he was widely considered the Senate’s most popular member and was on congenial terms with many of his Republican colleagues. On a number of issues, he searched for compromises that could attract GOP votes.

He collaborated with a Republican president, George W. Bush, on education reform, with a Republican presidential candidate; Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), on immigration reform; and with arch-conservative senator J. Strom Thurmond (S.C.) on major crime legislation. Only Thurmond, who died in 2003 at age 100, and Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), served longer in the Senate than Kennedy.

Kennedy’s congeniality and his willingness to work with the opposition were at the core of his legislative ability. “He was fun; he was considerate to his colleagues,” Mann said. “He would take a 20th of a loaf compared to getting nothing.”

Kennedy and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) forged a lasting friendship that began in 1981, when Hatch became chairman of what was then the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. With nine liberals and seven conservatives on the committee, Hatch knew he needed Kennedy’s help — and he got it.

“We have passed so much legislation together,” Hatch told a Salt Lake City reporter in 2008. He noted having worked with Kennedy on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, an effort to prevent undue governmental burdens on the exercise of religion, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Long before he fell ill, Kennedy made health care a major focus of his career, terming it “the cause of my life.” His legislation resulted in access to health care for millions of people and funded cures for diseases that afflicted people around the world. He was a longtime advocate for universal health care and was instrumental in promoting biomedical research, as well as AIDS research and treatment. He was a leader in the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and the 1996 Kennedy-Kassebaum Bill — with Sen. Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.) — which allowed employees to keep health insurance after leaving their job.

Health care reform is “a defining issue for our society,” Kennedy told fellow senators during a 1994 debate. “Do we really care about our fellow citizens?” It was a question he asked countless times, in one form or another, during his long Senate career. He faced opposition from most Republicans — and more than a few Democrats — who insisted that Kennedy’s proposals for universal health care amounted to socialized medicine that would lead to bureaucratic sclerosis and budget-breaking costs and inefficiencies.

Receiving a diagnosis in May 2008 of a brain tumor, Kennedy rose from his hospital bed that summer and cast a dramatic vote on the Senate floor in favor of legislation preventing sharp cuts in Medicare payments to doctors. Several Republicans were so moved by his presence that they switched their earlier votes on the bill, giving it a veto-proof majority.

His family had been touched by cancer even before he got his own diagnosis. His son, Edward Jr., lost a leg to bone cancer at age 12 in 1973. His daughter, Kara Anne, was told she had lung cancer in 2003.

A list of major laws bearing his imprint, in addition to health care, fills pages. In 1965, he led the successful Senate floor battle that passed what was popularly known as the Hart-Celler Act, landmark legislation that abolished immigration quotas and lifted a 1924 ban on immigration from Asia.

“This bill really goes to the very central ideals of our country,” Kennedy said on the floor of the Senate. The legislation, the most significant immigration reform in four decades, passed both the House and Senate by overwhelming margins.

He was long the Senate’s leading voice on civil rights, including the 1982 Voting Rights Act extension, as well as efforts to advance the concept of equality to include the disabled and women in the workplace.

In 1972, he was a key supporter of Title IX, an amendment requiring colleges and universities to provide equal funding for men’s and women’s athletics. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, he played an important though indirect role in the 1973 investigation of the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation. In 1996 and again in 2007, he was the lead Senate sponsor of legislation increasing the minimum wage.

In the 1980s, when a Republican president and Senate mounted a major campaign to roll back programs he had championed, he led the fight to save them. Even in the minority, he worked to expand government’s role in providing health care to children, making loans available to college students and extending civil rights to the disabled, among many other embattled initiatives.Known as Teddy, the youngest son in a powerful family, Kennedy was first elected to the Senate as a 30-year-old. Despite a reputation for callow recklessness and immaturity, he seemed destined for higher office from the beginning. Such a fate seemed even more assured after the assassinations of his brothers in the 1960s.

His oldest brother, Joseph, who was probably headed for a political career, died in a plane explosion while serving in World War II. Brothers John and Robert were killed in their 40s. So it was that the youngest Kennedy, and the last Kennedy brother, was thrust into the role of family patriarch and, ultimately, of elder statesman.

Overcoming an early reputation as a vacuous young man of privilege, as well as a string of debilitating personal tragedies and burdensome expectations that he would fulfill his brothers’ broken legacies, Kennedy became his own man in the Senate.

Edward Moore Kennedy was born in Brookline, Mass., on Feb. 22, 1932, the ninth and last child of Joseph P. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. His maternal grandfather, John F. “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald, was a mayor of Boston. His paternal grandfather, Patrick J. Kennedy, served in both houses of the Massachusetts Legislature.

His father made millions in real estate, banking, Hollywood films and Wall Street, as well as in liquor during Prohibition. The elder Kennedy served under Franklin D. Roosevelt as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, then as head of the Maritime Commission.

His mother, a devout Roman Catholic, was exposed to the boisterous world of Boston Irish politics early, campaigning as a young girl with her father, the mayor, and meeting presidents Grover Cleveland and William McKinley. Decades later, she became an accomplished campaigner for her sons.

Joseph Kennedy was away during much of his young son’s early years, and Ted stayed with his mother in New York, where the Kennedys had moved in 1926. The family was reunited in London in 1938 when Joseph Kennedy was named U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James’s, where — as legions of Kennedy haters would never forget — he was an outspoken opponent of America’s entry into World War II.

From his mother, Ted Kennedy learned the core values of the family’s Catholic faith; from his father, he learned to compete. “We don’t want any losers around here,” Joe Kennedy would tell his children. “In this family, we want winners.”

As the Kennedy family shuttled between London, Boston, New York and Palm Beach, Fla., Ted Kennedy studied at a number of private boarding schools before enrolling in 1946 at Milton Academy outside Boston. He was an undistinguished student, although he was an excellent debater, a good athlete and popular with his classmates.

From Milton, he enrolled at Harvard University. Joe Kennedy once warned his youngest son to be careful, Kennedy biographer Adam Clymer wrote, because he was the kind of person who would always get caught. The warning went unheeded. As a freshman, Kennedy asked a friend to take a Spanish examination for him, Spanish being one of his weaker subjects. Both students were expelled.

Afterward, Kennedy enlisted in the Army and served two years in Europe during the Korean War before his discharge in 1953. Jack Olsen, author of “The Bridge at Chappaquiddick” (1970), observed that Kennedy volunteered for military service “with much the same attitude as a European youth joining the French Foreign Legion.”

Welcomed back to Harvard, he was able to indulge his passion for football and was a first-team end in 1955, his senior year. Kennedy received an undergraduate degree in history and government in 1956 and received a law degree in 1959 from the University of Virginia.

He plunged into politics in 1958, managing his brother John’s successful campaign for reelection to the U.S. Senate. Two years later, he coordinated his brother’s presidential primary campaign in 13 Western states.

After John Kennedy’s election to the presidency in 1960, Edward Kennedy became an assistant to the district attorney of Suffolk County, Mass.; he was paid a dollar a year. He also began laying the groundwork for his own political career. Traveling at his own expense, he accompanied members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a fact-finding tour of Africa in 1960.

Before taking office in January 1961, John Kennedy urged Massachusetts Gov. Foster Furcolo to appoint Benjamin Smith II to his vacated Senate seat until a special election scheduled for November 1962. Smith, the mayor of Gloucester, Mass., and the president-elect’s college roommate, was immediately labeled as a placeholder until Edward Kennedy reached 30, the minimum age for a U.S. senator under the U.S. Constitution.

That was exactly what happened. The youngest Kennedy announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination three weeks after his birthday, and Smith stepped aside.

His chief rival for the nomination was Edward J. McCormack Jr., the state attorney general and nephew of John W. McCormack (D-Mass.), speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives at the time.

Although Kennedy avoided a potentially damaging campaign issue by revealing his expulsion from Harvard before his opponent could mention it, the primary campaign was bitter. McCormack repeatedly reminded voters that Kennedy had never held elective office and questioned his judgment and qualifications to be a U.S. senator. In the first of two “Teddy-Eddy debates,” McCormack tried to turn the Kennedy name against his opponent. “And I ask you,” he said, pointing a finger Kennedy, “if his name was Edward Moore — with your qualifications, with your qualifications, Teddy — if it was Edward Moore, your candidacy would be a joke. Nobody’s laughing, because his name is not Edward Moore; it’s Edward Moore Kennedy.” McCormack’s attacks backfired, and Kennedy won by a margin of more than 300,000 votes. He went on to defeat the Republican nominee, George Cabot Lodge, and was sworn into office in January 1963.

3239923.jpg image by mikesamerica

As a freshman senator, Kennedy deferred to his more venerable peers, concentrating on legislation of local interest. That approach began to change on Nov. 22, 1963. He was in the chair, in the absence of the vice president, presiding over a desultory debate concerning a library services bill.

A press aide ran to the floor with a bulletin he had ripped off a teletype machine in the lobby and handed it to the first senator he reached, Spessard Holland (D-Fla.). Then the aide cried out to Kennedy: “Senator, your brother has been shot!”

Kennedy turned pale, gathered his papers together and rushed out to the lobby, where he began making phone calls to the White House and to his brother Robert, the attorney general. Confirming the news of the shooting, Edward Kennedy hurried home to Georgetown and told his wife Joan, who had heard nothing.

That night, he and his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, flew from Washington to Hyannis, Mass., where their father lay half-paralyzed with a stroke. The family had not told him; in fact, they tried to keep the news from him. Only when he asked that the television be turned on the next morning did Kennedy tell his father that his eldest surviving son was dead.

John Kennedy’s assassination helped make his youngest brother’s reelection almost inevitable, despite his relatively sparse Senate record, but he almost lost his life in the process. Flying to Springfield, Mass., to accept the nomination of the state’s Democratic convention, his twin-engine plane crashed in an apple orchard seven miles short of its destination. The pilot died instantly, and Kennedy was pulled from the mangled wreckage with a broken back, three broken ribs and a collapsed lung. An aide to Kennedy also died in the crash.

The first doctor who saw him cautioned that he might be paralyzed for the rest of his life. After a few days, doctors determined that he had suffered no permanent nerve damage.

His wife, mother and Kennedy family functionaries campaigned for him as he spent long months of recovery lying on his back. After his fellow Democrats nominated him by acclamation, he won the general election against a relative unknown, by 1,129,000 votes.Kennedy’s initial foray into health care issues came in 1966 after he became aware of the difficulties facing Boston public-housing residents who had to rely on the city’s teaching hospitals. Although they lived only four miles from the hospitals, it took them up to five hours to get there and back on buses and subways, including the time it took to wait in an emergency room.

In August 1966, he visited a community health clinic opened by two Tufts University medical school professors on two renovated floors of an apartment in the housing project. Within a couple of months, Kennedy managed to get money through Congress for a program of community health centers. By 1995, there were more than 800 centers in urban and rural areas, serving about 9 million people.

As a brother of a president on the front lines of the Cold War, he initially expressed “no reservations” about the American military commitment in Southeast Asia. That support began to wane after two trips to Vietnam and as U.S. involvement escalated toward the end of the decade.

He said years later, as quoted in Clymer’s 1999 biography of the senator, that a trip he made to Vietnam in 1968 was the turning point. It left him troubled, he said, by the casualties the United States was causing and “the failure of the Vietnamese to fight for themselves.” He came to believe that the Vietnam War was “a monstrous outrage.”

By 1968, his brother Robert, then the junior senator from New York, had become the standard bearer of the antiwar movement. Some antiwar Democrats were urging Robert to run in Democratic primaries against President Lyndon B. Johnson. Edward Kennedy, who had grown close to his brother during their time in the Senate together, advised against it. He argued that a run in 1968 could not succeed and that it would damage his brother’s chances for the 1972 nomination. Privately, he also was afraid that his brother would be assassinated.

On March 15, 1968, Robert Kennedy announced that he was running not “merely to oppose any man but to propose new policies.” On June 5, 1968, Sirhan B. Sirhan, a Christian Palestinian outraged by Robert Kennedy’s support of Israel, shot him in the head in the kitchen pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

After the assassination, Edward Kennedy temporarily withdrew from public life. He delivered the eulogy at his brother’s funeral in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral and then spent the next 10 weeks sailing, often alone off Cape Cod, brooding about the loss his family had endured. He considered leaving politics altogether.

Returning to his senatorial duties in August 1968, he made ending the Vietnam War his top priority. He offered a four-point plan that included an unconditional bombing halt in North Vietnam and unilateral reduction of American forces.

Over the next few years, he made scores of antiwar speeches around the country. He condemned President Nixon’s “Vietnamization” strategy — in which the South Vietnamese took over more responsibility for military operations — as “a policy of violence” that “means war and more war.”

He supported every end-the-war resolution that came before the Senate until the U.S.-backed Saigon government fell in 1975.

In 1969, he wrested the post of Senate majority whip from Russell B. Long, a powerful Senate veteran from Louisiana. Winning by five votes, Kennedy at 36 became the youngest majority whip in the history of the Senate.

He lost the position to Byrd of West Virginia in 1971, in part because tallying votes and tending to tedious detail were not among his strengths, but also partly because of his preoccupation with a scandal two years earlier that claimed the life of a young womanand changed forever the arc of his political career.

On July 18, 1969, Kennedy attended a small get-together of friends and Robert Kennedy campaign workers on Chappaquiddick, a narrow island off Martha’s Vineyard.

Late that night, the car he was driving ran off a narrow wooden bridge and plunged into a tidal pool. His only passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, one of the “boiler room girls” in Robert Kennedy’s 1968 campaign, drowned.

Kennedy, who failed to report the incident to police for about nine hours, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident. He received a two-month suspended sentence and lost his driver’s license for a year.In a televised speech on July 25, six days after Kopechne’s death, Kennedy confessed to being so addled by the accident that he was not thinking straight. “I was overcome, I’m frank to say, by a jumble of emotions: grief, fear, doubt, exhaustion, panic, confusion and shock,” he said.

Kennedy’s public statement did little to quell rumors about what actually happened. For years, speculation about the multilayered mystery was almost as intense as that surrounding the assassination of his brother, the president.

Although Kennedy denied rumors of intoxication or a “private relationship” with the young woman, lingering doubts about the incident ended, at least for a few years, any presidential ambitions the senator might have had.

He easily won reelection to the Senate in 1970, and by the late 1970s, the Chappaquiddick incident had faded enough that Democrats were again talking about a Kennedy challenge to a faltering Carter presidency. A 1978 Gallup poll showed that rank-and-file Democrats preferred Kennedy over Jimmy Carter the incumbent by 54 to 32 percent. Kennedy decided to run, but his brief, inept campaign managed mainly to wound the Democrat already occupying the White House.

The fatal wound to Kennedy’s presidential hopes came during an hour-long interview with Roger Mudd on Nov. 4, 1979, when the CBS journalist asked him the most basic of questions: “Why do you want to be president?” His muddled, stammering response — Kennedy “made Yogi Berra sound like [Israeli statesman] Abba Eban,” columnist Mark Shields observed — made the question moot from that moment on.

He stayed in the race until the 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York’s Madison Square Garden, where the party faithful got a glimpse of the candidate who might have been when he delivered one of the great speeches of his career. In powerful, ringing tones, his “dream shall never die” speech called on the party to recommit itself to vintage Democratic values.

“Programs may sometimes become obsolete, but the idea of fairness always endures,” he proclaimed. “Circumstances may change, but the work of compassion must continue. . . .”

He congratulated Carter and then concluded his speech with the passion and defiance that had become vintage Kennedy: “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.”

Delegates leaped to their feet. Their uproarious demonstration lasted more than half an hour.

With the White House out of reach, Kennedy gave himself to the Senate and relied on a staff that most observers considered the best on Capitol Hill. His aides stayed longer than most assistants in other offices, in part because Kennedy entrusted them with responsibility and relied on their expertise. Occasionally, he supplemented their salaries from his own funds to keep them from leaving.

In 1987, he took the lead in opposing President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court. Kennedy portrayed Bork, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, as a right-wing activist and helped doom the nominee. “In Robert Bork’s America,” Kennedy said, “there is no room at the inn for blacks and no place in the Constitution for women; and, in our America, there should be no seat on the Supreme Court for Robert Bork.”

His unsuccessful opposition to the high court nomination of Clarence Thomas in 1991 was less vocal, partly because he was preoccupied by an incident in which a nephew, William Kennedy Smith, was arrested and charged with rape in Palm Beach, Fla. (Smith was acquitted.)

The senator and his wife, Joan Bennett Kennedy, who struggled with alcoholism for many years, divorced in 1982 after 24 years of marriage. Tales of public drunkenness, womanizing and loutish behavior dogged him for the next decade. At the same time, he conscientiously carried out his role of family patriarch. As the oldest surviving Kennedy male, he was not only father to his own three children but also surrogate father to more than two dozen nieces and nephews.

In a 1991 speech at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Kennedy made an apology of sorts for his personal misconduct. “I recognize my own shortcomings, the faults in the conduct of my private life,” he said. “I realize that I alone am responsible for them, and I am the one who must confront them.”

Kennedy seemed to regain his footing, personally and politically, after his marriage in 1992 to Victoria Anne Reggie, a lawyer from a Louisiana political family. She survives, along with Kennedy’s sister; three children from his first marriage, Kara Anne Kennedy, Edward M. Kennedy Jr. and Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.); two stepchildren; and four grandchildren.

In 1994, Edward Kennedy defeated a Senate challenge by Republican businessman Mitt Romney and never faced another serious battle for his seat.

Although his party lost the White House six years later, Kennedy remained in the thick of the legislative action. President Bush’s signature piece of domestic legislation, the No Child Left Behind bill, was going nowhere in early 2001, when Kennedy, who had put his mark on nearly every education law since the 1960s, declared his support. He considered the bill a worthy effort to increase public-school accountability through rigorous standardized testing.

With Kennedy and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) corralling skeptical Democratic votes, the most important education legislation in decades became law in early 2002.

Six years later, the law’s renewal faced widespread opposition from those who considered No Child Left Behind a balky and unworkable intrusion into local control of schools. Kennedy again came to its rescue, despite his deep and bitter opposition to the Bush administration on a number of issues. He argued that the law had made schools better but that it had flaws that needed to be fixed.

On most other issues, most notably the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Kennedy was bitterly opposed to the Bush administration. He once said that his proudest Senate vote was his 2002 vote against authorizing Bush to use military force against Iraq.

“There was no imminent threat,” he said in a 2004 speech at the Brookings Institution. “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 January 2008, at a rally at American University, Kennedy endorsed the presidential candidacy of another early opponent of the war, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Declaring that “it is time for a new generation of leadership” in America, he passed over his friend, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who also sought the Democratic nomination for president. Kennedy campaigned for Obama until suffering a seizure that May.

Three months later, Kennedy left his hospital bed and flew to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Slowly making his way to the podium to the cheers, and tears, of 20,000 rapturous fellow Democrats, he proclaimed, in a voice still strong, “a season of hope.”

Delegates of a certain age heard echoes of his brother’s 1961 inaugural address and of his own impassioned speech in Madison Square Garden nearly three decades earlier.

“This is what we do,” he proclaimed. “We scale the heights; we reach the moon.”

 

Story by Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 26, 2009 6:17 AM

Staff writers Robert Kaiser and Martin Weil also contributed to this report.

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JFK’s Sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver Dies

EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER

(1921-2009)

Eunice Mary Kennedy Shriver, who used her stature and wealth as a member of the storied political dynasty to found the Special Olympics and fight for the disabled, died early yesterday morning at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis after a lengthy illness. She was 88.

The Special Olympics said that Shriver was with her husband, R. Sargent Shriver, 93, five children and 19 grandchildren at the time of her death.

“She was a living prayer, a living advocate, a living center of power. She set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more,” a Shriver family statement said.

Her passing leaves U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, 77, and Jean Kennedy Smith, 81, as the last surviving siblings of the nine children born to the late Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Sen. Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, recalled how Shriver was inspired to found the Special Olympics by their sister, Rosemary, who was institutionalized through most of her life because of mental disability and a failed lobotomy.

“The seeds of compassion and hope she planted decades ago in her backyard summer camp were inspired by her love for our sister, Rosemary,” Kennedy said in a statement. “Over the years, she grew those seeds into a worldwide movement that has given persons with disabilities everywhere the opportunity to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.”

President Obama issued a statement extending his condolences.

“She will be remembered as the founder of the Special Olympics, as a champion for people with intellectual disabilities, and as an extraordinary woman who, as much as anyone, taught our nation and our world that no physical or mental barrier can restrain the power of the human spirit,” he said.

Shriver was born in Brookline on July 10, 1921, the fifth of nine Kennedy children. Her ambition was evident, even in games of touch football, the family’s favored pastime.

After graduating from Stanford University in 1943 with a bachelor of science in sociology, she helped former prisoners of war adjust to civilian life at the State Department’s Special War Problems Division. Shriver became a social worker at the Penitentiary for Women in Alderson, W.Va., before moving to Chicago to work with the House of the Good Shepherd and the Chicago Juvenile Court.

From January 1947 to June 1948, she worked as a special adviser on youth problems to the Justice Department. Her salary: $1 a year.

But it was her love for her sister Rosemary that led Shriver to the passion of her life: fighting for the mentally disabled.

“Rosemary could swim better than any of us,” she told the Sunday Herald in 1965. “These abilities kept her close to the family.”

Seven weeks after her younger brother Robert was assassinated in 1968, Shriver presided over the first-ever Special Olympics Games, when a paltry crowd of 100 showed up to watch 1,000 intellectually challenged athletes, a competition that grew out of Camp Shriver, a retreat at her home in Maryland.

Undeterred, Shriver predicted that some day, a million of the world’s disabled athletes would some day gather and compete. Today, at least 3 million athletes participate in the games’ 30 sporting events.

Her son, Timothy P. Shriver, chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, said yesterday that his mother possessed “relentless determination, passion (and) courage.”

“I challenge each of you to further my mother’s work and vision – reach out to a person with intellectual disabilities who every day is looking for hope, love and opportunity,” he said in a statement. “For as my mother said, ‘As we hope for the best in them, hope is reborn in us.’ ”

Shriver wrote passionately of her quest to stamp out societal prejudices against the intellectually challenged.

“They should and must be helped,” she wrote in an article for Parade Magazine in 1964. “We of the bright, real world must reach out our hands into the shadows, not with trembling emotion but with sure-footed, level-headed assistance,”

Shriver married R. Sargent Shriver in 1953. In him, she found a partner in service. He was the the first director of the Peace Corps and was a 1972 vice presidential candidate.

Fiercely loyal to her family, Shriver actively campaigned for the political careers of her siblings and husband, who now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

Guided by her Catholic faith, she was adamantly against abortion, advocating for more programs to aid teenage mothers. Colleges showered Shriver with honorary degrees, including Yale University, the College of the Holy Cross and Princeton University.

President Ronald Reagan awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, in 1984.

On May 9, a portrait of her was unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington – the first commissioned portrait of an individual who has not served as president or first lady.

Shriver is survived by her husband, R. Sargent Shriver; a daughter, Maria Owings Shriver, a television newscaster, and her husband, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; four sons, Robert Sargent Shriver III, Timothy Perry Shriver, Mark Kennedy Shriver and Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver; a brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy; a sister, Jean Kennedy Smith; her grandchildren and her nieces and nephews.

A public wake will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. tomorrow at Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis at 10 a.m.Friday.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1190491

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Opinion: Vanity Fair Overlooked Kennedy Family’s Brightest Star

EDITOR’S NOTE: The latest issue of Vanity Fair features an article called “Ted Kennedy’s Final Battle,” which is an excerpt from Ed Klein’s new book on the liberal lion. The article speculates heavily on which member of the Kennedy family will eventually pick up the torch of leadership – Patrick? Caroline? Joe? Kathleen? Christopher? – but seems to overlook the one believe to be the best qualified…Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

One of of our longtime bloggers wrote to voice her amazement at Klein/Vanity Fair’s out-of-hand dismissal of RFK Jr.’s capabilities, expressing the dismay many of Bobby’s supporters felt after reading the article. We’d like to share her Letter to the Editor with you below:

VANITY FAIR ARTICLE NEEDS CLARIFICATION

By Susanne Silverstein

 

Dear RFK Jr. News-Staffers:
 
It’s been a while since I’ve visited the web site but my heart still gets tugged when I read articles like this month’s Vanity Fair
I feel the article is totally unfair to RFK Jr. in it’s perception that he is not one of the heirs most likely to be active in this or next generation.  The article goes on to hype Joe Jr & Caroline as being the two new leaders of the Kennedy clan.  They discuss how RFK Jr. has a speech impediment that makes running for office a serious challenge. 
 
I beg to disagree!  He has been out there speaking in public for years, never letting his spasmodic dysphonia stop him from getting the message across. He hosts a weekly radio show on Air America and does numerous television interviews. In my opinion, he’s a better speaker than all the other Kennedy kids put together! 
I have also been aware that he has had to work with a speech impediment, but Bobby is nothing less than an electrifying speaker.  It is a shame what his family is pulling.  They are only hurting our country by their selfish short-sighted behavior.  All of us face some dysfunction in our immediate families and I just chalk this nonsense up to petty jealousies.
 
I hope the members here can convince him that he is beloved by millions.  That there are millions more longing to hear him speak; and that he will be able to sort out his family’s nonsense for what it is.  Just a histronic reaction to the sad scenario of Ted Kennedy’s illness and probable prognosis. 
Bobby Jr; has accomplished so much more in public life than most of his cousins, brothers and sisters put together!  I once did admire Joe Kennedy’s prowess, but he seems to be truly happier working on his energy company.  He has kept a low profile until now.
 
We need to get more letters over to Vanity Fair to set them straight about Bobby Jr’s real promise and qualifications as a real leader for the next generation of Americans! 
 
Thank you,
Susanne

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Happy Birthday, Teddy

A BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE TO TEDDY

* As Senator Edward M. Kennedy continues to battle terminal brain cancer, The Boston Globe paid homage’ to this icon of American politics with a lengthy biography published just before his 77th birthday.

Edward Moore Kennedy, ninth child of Joseph P. and Rose Kennedy, was born on Feb. 22, 1932 – which just happened to be the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birthday. Whether or not he took it as an omen, the proud father, who already envisioned a Kennedy becoming the first Catholic president, often pointed out the felicitous date to others.

Ironically, the presidency would not be bestowed upon Teddy, of course. Nor would it be in the destiny of JP Kennedy’s eldest son Joe Jr., the one his father had always predicted would be president.

As fate would have it, the only member of the Kennedy family who achieved that goal was the one assumed least likely to make it: Joe’s second son, the chronically (and often seriously) ill John F. Kennedy.

And as fate would also decree, President Kennedy’s time in that high office would be tragically cut short by an assassin’s bullet after little more than a thousand days.

Jack’s younger brother Robert, attorney general of the United States, was next in line to lead the family political dynasty. Bobby picked up the torch and attempted to reclaim the presidency in his brother’s memory. After being elected senator from New York in 1964, RFK ran for the White House four years later and may well have completed the journey had it not been for his ill-fated campaign stop at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 4, 1968.

Ted (L), Jack (center) and Bobby (R) in Washington, D.C., 1958

Ted (L), Jack (center) and Bobby (R) in Washington, D.C., 1958

After losing all three of his elder brothers and seeing his father incapacitated by a stroke, Ted Kennedy, then-senator from Massachusetts, suddenly became the unlikely patriarch. For the next 40 years, not a day would pass that Teddy didn’t have someone approach and ask him to run for the presidency.

Despite a 1964 plane crash that almost killed him and the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident which nearly ruined his political career, Ted Kennedy did make a run for the White House in 1980, but lost the Democratic nomination to President Jimmy Carter. Well, he gave it the old college try, as they say, then he wisely chose to spend the rest of his years focusing on the responsibility of being a U.S. Senator. Ted seemed happy with his choice and never looked back.

But that didn’t stop people from asking. Would he ever run again? Why not the Presidency, they asked him over and over again as the years turned into decades. He’d say no a thousand times, and still the question was repeated.

Well, they finally stopped asking one day last May. When it became known that Senator Kennedy had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, that long-held dream of putting the last Kennedy brother in the White House was over.

As Ted Kennedy prepares to sail on his final voyage, heading for that bright horizon where he will reunite with all of his beloved friends and family who sailed before him, we’d like to encourage our readers to honor his birthday and celebrate his remarkable life. One way to do it is to take some time out of your busy day and read this well-researched and often moving tribute to Senator Edward Kennedy in the Boston Globe. Highly recommended.

Click here for full size image

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Say WHAT? Matt Lauer to RFK Jr: “How’s Your Dad?”

YOU GOTTA BE S#*%&IN’ US, MATT

There really are no words that can fully describe the colossal stupidity of the mainstream media’s latest Kennedy Wonder Blunder.

As readers of this blog already know, we’re quick to call em out when they screw up (which is sadly, way too often these days), but this one is just beyond the pale. 

Last week, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stopped by NBC’s The Today Show to promote his latest book, Robert Smalls: The Boat Thief. But before he could even begin to tell the story of this African-American Civil War hero, host Matt Lauer had to pop right off and ask him the most tasteless, idiotic question imaginable:

“So,” Lauer asks gushingly, “I just gotta ask…how’s your Dad doing?”

At first, Kennedy just registers a startled glare. Then, realizing that Our Hero Isn’t Very Bright, he nods, accepting that Mr. Lauer obviously (and inexplicably) somehow thought that the ailing Senator Ted Kennedy was his father. (Nevermind the fact that Mr. Lauer had just introduced him as Robert F. Kennedy *Jr.*, “the son of former attorney general and senator Robert F. Kennedy”, not Ted Kennedy, but ah, whatever.)

But NBC isn’t alone when it comes to boneheaded bloopers of this sort. Nope, ABC News did the same thing back in May, when they erroneously reported that RFK Jr. was the son of President John F. Kennedy!

Seriously. You absolutely cannot make this stuff up. Those of you who saw the Lauer interview live earlier this week are probably still trying to pick your jaws up off the floor. But just in case you missed this priceless little gem, here it is:

You may also want to check out these related stories on the massive epidemic of poorly-informed reporting about the Kennedys by our national media (that is, if you’ve got the stomach for it. Be prepared to cry `til you laugh, folks…because it’s so bad, even we can’t believe the news we have to bring you sometimes.):

“Whoops, They Did It Again” (yes, even the Boston Globe, the Kennedys’ hometown newspaper)

“ABC News Can’t Keep Their Kennedys Straight” (apparently, NBC News can’t either.)

 

NOTE: For those reading this article who might have, by some remote possibility, been living under the same rock with Matt Lauer for 40 years, RFK Jr’s father, Senator Robert Kennedy, was assassinated in 1968.

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Sen. Kennedy Introduces National Service Initiative

still working despite brain tumor

Senator Ted Kennedy: still working despite brain tumor

 

KENNEDY CALLS FOR MORE AMERICANS TO ENTER PUBLIC SERVICE

From the Boston Globe

September 12, 2008

NEW YORK – Senator Edward M. Kennedy, sidelined from the Senate as he undergoes treatment for a malignant brain tumor, plans to introduce a sweeping new national service bill today to recruit 175,000 Americans of all ages to do service work in health, education, environmental protection and anti-poverty programs, with their work partly subsidized by the federal government.

The plan, meant to build on national service initiatives that began under former President John F. Kennedy and expanded under former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, would provide an estimated $5 billion over five years to encourage citizens from kindergarteners to retirees to get involved in community organizations – including faith-based groups – on a series of programs targeted at national problems.

The new corps members would be paid modest salaries to spend a year working on specific national problems. Employers would be eligible for tax cuts for giving workers time off to do community service, while a new venture capital fund would also be created to boost the creation of new service organizations.

The measure is the first major piece of legislation the ailing Massachusetts lawmaker has presented since being diagnosed with a brain tumor in May. While the senator does not plan to return to Washington full-time until January, staff and colleagues say he has been working assiduously from his home in Cape Cod, following legislation, talking to fellow senators, and sponsoring amendments to bills.

The service plan – crafted by Kennedy over the past eight months with Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah – is meant to marry the two parties’ often competing approaches to community service, encouraging the volunteerism advocated by many Republicans while providing federal financial assistance requested by some Democrats.

“What this bill is saying is, we need both,” said Alan Khazei, co-founder of City Year, a Boston-based youth community service group and a chief advocate of the new bill.

The measure will be unveiled in concert with a national symposium on national service in New York. Former President Bush – who initiated a “1,000 Points of Light” program to encourage volunteerism – and former President Clinton, who helped create AmeriCorps, a federally funded program to encourage national service – are set to appear in videos touting the benefits of community work. Caroline Kennedy, daughter of President Kennedy, is scheduled to be at the event along with Queen Noor of Jordan, dozens of military officials and numerous members of Congress and community activists.

Current national service programs are working well, Kennedy staffers said, and the new plan would build on them. The Peace Corps, President Kennedy’s program to help developing countries with basic needs, would also be expanded.

But the new plan, staffers said on condition of anonymity, would be aimed at people of all ages. While many volunteer programs now attract young college graduates willing to work for low salaries before settling into better-paid job, the Kennedy-Hatch plan would give older Baby Boomers an opportunity to take time off for community service, perhaps transitioning into a second career.

Retired people generally not sought out by community service organizations would be encouraged to get involved and eligible for an “Encore Fellowship” to extend their tenures beyond one year. Schoolchildren, meanwhile, would be taught to incorporate a “lifetime of service” into their lives, starting with smaller efforts such as food drives, aides said.

Kennedy has been absent from Washington since May, except for a single appearance to cast a dramatic, determinate vote on a measure to block scheduled cuts in Medicare payments to doctors. The Massachusetts lawmaker also made a powerful speech at the Democratic National Convention last month in Denver.

But Kennedy has continued to work despite his illness, issuing dozens of statements and signing onto several bills and amendments since he became ill.

Khazei said Kennedy has been working on the national service plan consistently since January.

“He hasn’t missed a day. He gets more done from the Cape than most of us do in a week,” Khazei said. “He’s a hero.”

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RFK Honored at Democratic Convention

ROBERT F. KENNEDY MEMORIAL 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IN DENVER

* Those of you who weren’t fortunate enough to make it to Denver for the DNC, here’s what you missed Wednesday. The Kennedy family, friends, and longtime supporters gathered at the Brown Palace Hotel to remember RFK and celebrate his legacy.

We bring you coverage of this star-studded event from local and national sources below. According to all accounts we’ve heard so far, RFK Jr. was the star of the show!

The New York Daily News certainly thought so…check out this glowing review:

Bobby Kennedy Jr. politely dodged questions about his political future now that Hillary Clinton won’t be vacating her U.S. Senate seat. But he gave such a rousing speech at a Denver benefit for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial on Wednesday that admirers urged him to run for something soon.

Building on the emotional appearance of Uncle Ted at the Democratic convention two days earlier, Kennedy departed from his usual environmental concerns to connect his father’s mission with the state of America today.

“When I was 13, I went on a trip to Europe with my father and mother,” he recalled. “We went to Czechoslovakia and Poland and Germany. We were greeted by hundreds of thousands of people, who came to hear an American politician. It wasn’t because [President Kennedy] had been martyred three years before. Even when Eisenhower went to Kabul and Tehran, he was met by thousands of Muslims who carried American flags.

“It took 230 years of discipline and restrained leadership by Republican and Democratic Presidents to build up a reservoir of love for the U.S. In the last seven years, through incompetence, we have drained those reservoirs dry.”

Kennedy went on to indict the Bush administration for “torture, suspending habeas corpus and eavesdropping on hundreds of thousands of people.”

Naturally, the call to arms was cheered by the Democratic crowd, who included New York Gov. David Patterson, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Rev. Al Sharpton, Fran Drescher, Aisha Taylor, Gloria Rubin and Giancarlo Esposito.

Though Ted Kennedy was back in Massachusetts continuing his cancer treatment, 80-year-old Ethel Kennedy came with a flock of children and grandchildren. Her daughter Kerry, who’s been at the front of the RFK Memorial’s human rights crusade, told us she’s thought about running, “but I’m divorced with three kids. Right now, I want to be a mother.”

What about rumors that her increasingly visible cousin, Caroline Kennedy, might run for office?

“I don’t know,” said Kerry, “but she’d be so great. She really has the capacity to bring people together.” Bobby agreed: “We’d all be delighted to see her [run].”

Meanwhile, Gov. Patterson confirmed that the Triborough Bridge would be officially renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge on Nov. 19.

* Here’s what the local Denver CBS affiliate had to say of the RFK Memorial event:

A special tribute to Senator Robert F Kennedy in Denver

A special tribute to Senator Robert F Kennedy in Denver

DENVER (CBS4) ― The Democrats are celebrating their historic nomination this week as Barack Obama becomes the first African American candidate from a major party to run for president. But the party is also celebrating its heritage and the Kennedy family has been the focus of several events.

Many of the Kennedys joined other dignitaries to honor the legacy of another member of the family, Robert F. Kennedy, on Wednesday.

There were Kennedys everywhere: Ethel, Patrick, Robert Jr., Kathleen and Max were all at the event. Also on hand were the Clintons, Gov. Paterson of New York and Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter.

“The life he lived was based on hope and bringing the people together,” Max said. “If you look just at that one photograph of my dad with Cesar Chavez breaking bread together … I think that encapsulates the idea of the United States coming together for the first time.”

“He was also one that stepped outside the establishment,” Rev. Al Sharpton said. “To oppose the war in Vietnam he showed courage, he showed vision and ultimately it cost him his life.”

The event was held by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, an organization that focuses on human rights and social justice.

VIDEO of the event is available on the CBS4Denver website…the link probably won’t be active for long, so check it out while you can!

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