75 Facts About Ted Kennedy


Edward Moore Kennedy was an American lawyer and politician who served as a United States senator from Massachusetts for almost 47 years, from 1962 until his death in 2009.

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Unabashedly liberal, Ted Kennedy championed an interventionist government that emphasized economic and social justice, but he was known for working with Republicans to find compromises.

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Between the ages of eight and sixteen, Ted Kennedy suffered the traumas of his sister Rosemary's failed lobotomy and the deaths of two siblings: Joseph Jr.

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In June 1951, Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army and signed up for an optional four-year term that was shortened to the minimum of two years after his father intervened.

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In June 1952, Ted Kennedy was assigned to the honor guard at SHAPE headquarters in Paris, France.

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Academically, Ted Kennedy received mediocre grades for his first three years, improved to a B average for his senior year, and finished barely in the top half of his class.

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That acceptance was controversial among faculty and alumni, who judged Ted Kennedy's past cheating episodes at Harvard to be incompatible with the University of Virginia's honor code; it took a full faculty vote to admit him.

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At Virginia, Ted Kennedy felt that he had to study "four times as hard and four times as long" as other students to keep up with them.

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In October 1957, Kennedy met Joan Bennett at Manhattanville College; they were introduced after a dedication speech for a gymnasium that his family had donated at the campus.

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Meanwhile, Ted Kennedy started work in February 1961 as an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, where he first developed a hard-nosed attitude towards crime.

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Reports from the FBI and other sources had Ted Kennedy renting a brothel and opening up bordellos after hours during the tour.

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Voters thought McCormack's performance overbearing, and with the family political machine's finally getting fully behind him, Ted Kennedy won the September 1962 primary by a two-to-one margin.

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Vice President Lyndon Johnson, despite his feuds with John and Robert Kennedy, liked Ted and told close aides that he “had the potential to be the best politician in the whole family.

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On November 22, 1963, Ted Kennedy was presiding over the Senate—a task given to junior members—when an aide rushed in to tell him that his brother, President Ted Kennedy, had been shot.

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On June 19, 1964, Ted Kennedy was a passenger in a private Aero Commander 680 airplane that was flying in bad weather from Washington to Massachusetts.

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Once Eugene McCarthy's strong showing in the New Hampshire primary led to Robert's presidential campaign starting in March 1968, Ted Kennedy recruited political leaders for endorsements to his brother in the western states.

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The 36-year-old Kennedy was seen as the natural heir to his brothers, and "Draft Ted" movements sprang up from various quarters and among delegates.

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The reluctance was in part due to the danger; Kennedy reportedly observed, "I know that I'm going to get my ass shot off one day, and I don't want to.

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Week after the incident, Ted Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a suspended sentence of two months in jail.

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In October 1971, Kennedy made his first speech about The Troubles in Northern Ireland: he said that "Ulster is becoming Britain's Vietnam", advocating for the withdrawal of British troops from the six northern counties, called for a united Ireland, and declared that Ulster Unionists who could not accept this "should be given a decent opportunity to go back to Britain".

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In scores of anti-war speeches, Ted Kennedy opposed President Richard Nixon's policy of Vietnamization, calling it "a policy of violence [that] means more and more war".

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In December 1971, Ted Kennedy strongly criticized the Nixon administration's support for Pakistan and its ignoring of "the brutal and systematic repression of East Bengal by the Pakistani army".

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In February 1972, Ted Kennedy flew to Bangladesh and delivered a speech at the University of Dhaka, where a killing rampage had begun a year earlier.

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George McGovern was close to clinching the Democratic nomination in June 1972, when various anti-McGovern forces tried to get Ted Kennedy to enter the contest at the last minute, but he declined.

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The predominantly white crowd yelled insults about his children and hurled tomatoes and eggs at him as he retreated into the John F Kennedy Federal Building and went so far as to push against one of its glass walls and break it.

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In September 1974, Ted Kennedy announced that for family reasons he would not run in the 1976 election, declaring that his decision was "firm, final, and unconditional.

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Carter administration years were difficult for Ted Kennedy; he had been the most important Democrat in Washington ever since his brother Robert's death, but now Carter was, and Ted Kennedy at first did not have a full committee chairmanship with which to wield influence.

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Frustrated by Carter's budgetary concerns and political caution, in a December 1978 speech on national health insurance at the Democratic midterm convention, Kennedy said regarding liberal goals overall that "sometimes a party must sail against the wind" and in particular should provide health care as "a basic right for all, not just an expensive privilege for the few.

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In May 1979, Kennedy proposed a new bipartisan universal national health insurance bill—choice of competing federally regulated private health insurance plans with no cost sharing financed by income-based premiums via an employer mandate and individual mandate, replacement of Medicaid by government payment of premiums to private insurers, and enhancement of Medicare by adding prescription drug coverage and eliminating premiums and cost sharing.

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Labor unions urged Ted Kennedy to run, as did some Democratic party officials who feared that Carter's unpopularity could result in heavy losses in the 1980 congressional elections.

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Later that year, Kennedy created the Friends of Ireland organization with Senator Daniel Moynihan and House Speaker Tip O'Neill to support initiatives for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

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Chebrikov wrote that Ted Kennedy was "'very troubled by the current state of Soviet-American relations'" and believed that the "'only real threats to Reagan [were] problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations'".

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Former Reagan administration negotiator Max Kampelman has asserted that Kennedy did engage in back-channel communications with the Soviet Union, but added that he "'learned that the senator never acted or received information without informing the appropriate United States agency or official'".

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The discussions were productive, and Ted Kennedy helped gain the release of a number of Soviet Jewish refuseniks, including Anatoly Shcharansky.

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Female Senate staffers from the late 1980s and early 1990s recalled that Ted Kennedy was on an informal list of male Senators who were known for harassing women regularly, such as while alone in elevators.

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Bush, but Kennedy won re-election to the Senate over Republican Joseph D Malone in the easiest race of his career.

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In 1988 Kennedy co-sponsored an amendment to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibits discrimination in the rental, sale, marketing, and financing of the nation's housing; the amendment strengthened the ability of the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity to enforce the Act and expanded the protected classes to include disabled persons and families with children.

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In late November 1989, Ted Kennedy traveled to see first-hand the newly fallen Berlin Wall; he spoke at John-F.

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On Easter weekend 1991, Ted Kennedy was at a get-together at the family's Palm Beach, Florida, estate.

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Cassone said that Ted Kennedy subsequently walked in on her and Patrick, who was dressed only in a nightshirt and had a weird look on his face.

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The local police made a delayed investigation; Ted Kennedy sources were soon feeding the press with negative information about Bowman's background, and several mainstream newspapers broke an unwritten rule by publishing her name.

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Time magazine said Ted Kennedy was being perceived as a "Palm Beach boozer, lout and tabloid grotesque" while Newsweek said Ted Kennedy was "the living symbol of the family flaws".

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Writer Anna Quindlen said "[Ted Kennedy] let us down because he had to; he was muzzled by the facts of his life".

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Romney ran as a successful entrepreneur and Washington outsider with a strong family image and moderate stands on social issues, while Kennedy was saddled not only with his recent past but the 25th anniversary of Chappaquiddick and his first wife Joan seeking a renegotiated divorce settlement.

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In 1996, Ted Kennedy secured an increase in the minimum wage, which was one of his favorite issues; there would not be another increase for ten years.

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In 1997, Kennedy was the prime mover behind the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which used increased tobacco taxes to fund the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded health insurance coverage for children in the U S since Medicaid began in the 1960s.

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Two of the airplanes involved had taken off from Boston, and in the following weeks, Ted Kennedy telephoned each of the 177 Massachusetts families who had lost members in the attacks.

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In reaction to the attacks, Ted Kennedy was a supporter of the American-led 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

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However, Ted Kennedy strongly opposed the Iraq War from the start, and was one of 23 senators voting against the Iraq War Resolution in October 2002.

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However, Kennedy sought to partner with Republicans again on the matter of immigration reform in the context of the ongoing United States immigration debate.

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Kennedy was chair of the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Refugees, and in 2005, Kennedy teamed with Republican Senator John McCain on the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act.

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The "McCain-Ted Kennedy bill" did not reach a Senate vote, but provided a template for further attempts at dealing comprehensively with legalization, guest worker programs, and border enforcement components.

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In 2006, Kennedy released a children's book from the view of his dog Splash, My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington, D C Also in 2006, Kennedy released a political history entitled America Back on Track.

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In 2006, a Cessna Citation 550 in which Kennedy was flying lost electrical power after being struck by lightning and had to be diverted.

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When Dodd withdrew from the race, Ted Kennedy became dissatisfied with the tone of the Clinton campaign and what he saw as racially tinged remarks by Bill Clinton.

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In return, Kennedy gained a commitment from Obama to make universal health care a top priority of his administration if he were elected.

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On May 17, 2008, Ted Kennedy suffered a seizure, which was followed by a second seizure as he was being rushed from the Ted Kennedy Compound to Cape Cod Hospital and then by helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

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On June 2, 2008, Ted Kennedy underwent brain surgery at Duke University Medical Center in an attempt to remove as much of the tumor as possible.

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The 3½-hour operation—conducted by Dr Allan Friedman while Kennedy was conscious to minimize any permanent neurological effects—was deemed successful in its goals.

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On September 26, 2008, Ted Kennedy suffered a mild seizure while at home in Hyannis Port; he immediately went to the hospital, was examined and released later that same day.

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On January 20, 2009, Ted Kennedy attended Barack Obama's presidential inauguration, but then suffered a seizure at the luncheon immediately afterwards.

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When spring arrived, Ted Kennedy appeared on Capitol Hill more frequently, although staffers often did not announce his attendance at committee meetings until they were sure Ted Kennedy was well enough to appear.

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On March 4, 2009, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown announced that Kennedy had been granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for his work in the Northern Ireland peace process, and for his contribution to UK–US relations, although the move caused some controversy in the UK due to his connections with Gerry Adams of the Irish republican political party Sinn Fein.

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However, Ted Kennedy's tumor had spread by spring 2009 and treatments for it were no longer effective; this information was not disclosed to the public.

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Fifteen months after he was initially diagnosed with brain cancer, Ted Kennedy succumbed to the disease on August 25, 2009, at age 77 at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

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President Obama said that Ted Kennedy's death marked the "passing of an extraordinary leader" and that he and First Lady Michelle Obama were "heartbroken" to learn of his passing, while Vice President Biden said "today we lost a truly remarkable man, " and that Ted Kennedy "changed the circumstances of tens of millions of Americans".

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True Compass, the memoir that Ted Kennedy worked on throughout his illness, was published three weeks after his death.

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Shortly before his death, Kennedy had written to Democratic Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts legislature, asking them to change state law to allow an appointee to fill a U S Senate vacancy for a term expiring upon the special election.

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Congressman Patrick Ted Kennedy brought a copy of a national health insurance bill his father had introduced in 1970 as a gift for the president.

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Patrick Ted Kennedy then laid a note on his father's grave that said, "Dad, the unfinished business is done.

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When Ted Kennedy died in August 2009, he was the second-most senior member of the Senate and the third longest-serving senator of all time, behind Byrd and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.

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In May 2008, soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee John McCain said, "[Ted Kennedy] is a legendary lawmaker and I have the highest respect for him.

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The Associated Press wrote that, "Perhaps because it was impossible, Kennedy never tried to shake his image as a liberal titan to admirers and a left-wing caricature to detractors.

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John F Kennedy had said in 1957, "Just as I went into politics because Joe died, if anything happened to me tomorrow, my brother Bobby would run for my seat in the Senate.

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The Associated Press wrote, "Unlike his brothers, Edward M Kennedy has grown old in public, his victories, defeats and human contradictions played out across the decades in the public glare.

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