Ted Kennedy
Overview
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (February 22, 1932 August 25, 2009) was a United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 and a member of the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history. For many years the most prominent living member of the Kennedy family
Kennedy family
In the United States, the phrase Kennedy family commonly refers to the family descending from the marriage of the Irish-Americans Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald that was prominent in American politics and government. Their political involvement has revolved around the...

, he was the last surviving son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Sr. was a prominent American businessman, investor, and government official....

; the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 and Senator Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

, both victims of assassination, and Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Jr. was an American bomber pilot during World War II. He was the eldest of nine children born to Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., and Rose Elizabeth Kennedy....

, killed in action in World War II; and the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy
Patrick J. Kennedy
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 1995 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes all of Bristol County and Newport County, and parts of Providence County. Kennedy did not seek re-election in 2010.A member of the Kennedy...

.

Kennedy entered the Senate in a November 1962 special election
United States Senate special election in Massachusetts, 1962
The United States Senate special election of 1962 in Massachusetts was held on November 6, 1962.-History:Senator John F. Kennedy resigned the seat to become President of the United States after winning the presidential election in 1960. Benjamin A...

 to fill the seat once held by his brother John.
Quotations

If we set the precedent of limiting the First Amendment, in order to protect the sensibilities of those who are offended by flag burning, what will we say the next time someone is offended by some other minority view, or by some other person's exercise of the freedom the Constitution is supposed to protect?

Constituent letter (1997)

My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here. And nothing — nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight. I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals, and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States.

For me this is a season of hope -- new hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few — new hope. And this is the cause of my life — new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American — north, south, east, west, young, old — will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.

We are told that Barack Obama believes too much in an America of high principle and bold endeavor, but when John F. Kennedy|John Kennedy called of going to the moon, he didn't say, "It's too far to get there. We shouldn't even try." Our people answered his call and rose to the challenge, and today an American flag still marks the surface of the moon.

Encyclopedia
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (February 22, 1932 August 25, 2009) was a United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 and a member of the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history. For many years the most prominent living member of the Kennedy family
Kennedy family
In the United States, the phrase Kennedy family commonly refers to the family descending from the marriage of the Irish-Americans Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald that was prominent in American politics and government. Their political involvement has revolved around the...

, he was the last surviving son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Sr. was a prominent American businessman, investor, and government official....

; the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 and Senator Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

, both victims of assassination, and Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Jr. was an American bomber pilot during World War II. He was the eldest of nine children born to Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., and Rose Elizabeth Kennedy....

, killed in action in World War II; and the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy
Patrick J. Kennedy
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 1995 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes all of Bristol County and Newport County, and parts of Providence County. Kennedy did not seek re-election in 2010.A member of the Kennedy...

.

Kennedy entered the Senate in a November 1962 special election
United States Senate special election in Massachusetts, 1962
The United States Senate special election of 1962 in Massachusetts was held on November 6, 1962.-History:Senator John F. Kennedy resigned the seat to become President of the United States after winning the presidential election in 1960. Benjamin A...

 to fill the seat once held by his brother John. He was elected to a full six-year term in 1964
United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 1964
The United States Senate election of 1964 in Massachusetts was held on November 3, 1964 with the incumbent Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy defeating his challengers...

 and was reelected seven more times before his death. The controversial Chappaquiddick incident on July 18, 1969, resulted in the death of his automobile passenger Mary Jo Kopechne
Mary Jo Kopechne
Mary Jo Kopechne was an American teacher, secretary, and political campaign specialist who died in a car accident in Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts on July 18, 1969, while a passenger in a car being driven by U.S. Senator Edward M...

; Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident, and the incident significantly damaged his chances of ever becoming President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

. His one attempt, in the 1980 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1980
The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent...

, resulted in a Democratic primary campaign loss to incumbent President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

.

Kennedy was known for his charisma and oratorical skills. His 1968 eulogy for his brother Robert and his 1980 rallying cry
1980 Democratic National Convention
The 1980 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party nominated President Jimmy Carter for President and Vice President Walter Mondale for Vice President...

 for modern American liberalism were among his best-known speeches. He became recognized 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. Unabashedly liberal, Kennedy championed an interventionist government emphasizing economic and social justice
Social justice
Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by...

, but was also known for working with Republicans to find compromises between senators with disparate views. Kennedy played a major role in passing many laws, including laws addressing immigration, cancer research, health insurance
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 is a law passed by the U.S. Congress on a reconciliation basis and signed by President Reagan that, among other things, mandates an insurance program giving some employees the ability to continue health insurance coverage after leaving...

, apartheid, disability discrimination
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a law that was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1990. It was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush, and later amended with changes effective January 1, 2009....

, AIDS care, civil rights
Civil Rights Act of 1991
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is a United States statute that was passed in response to a series of United States Supreme Court decisions which limited the rights of employees who had sued their employers for discrimination...

, mental health benefits
Mental Health Parity Act
The Mental Health Parity Act is legislation signed into United States law on September 26, 1996 that requires that annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health benefits be no lower than any such dollar limits for medical and surgical benefits offered by a group health plan or health insurance...

, children's health insurance
State Children's Health Insurance Program
The State Children's Health Insurance Program – later known more simply as the Children's Health Insurance Program – is a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children...

, education
No Child Left Behind Act
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a United States Act of Congress concerning the education of children in public schools.NCLB was originally proposed by the administration of George W. Bush immediately after he took office...

 and volunteering
Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act or Serve America Act was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on March 9, 2009, by Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York. Originally titled the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act , the bill reauthorizes and...

. In the 2000s, he led several unsuccessful immigration reform
Immigration reform
Immigration reform is a term used in political discussion regarding changes to current immigration policy of a country. In its strict definition, "reform " means to change into an improved form or condition, by amending or removing faults or abuses....

 efforts. Over the course of his Senate career and continuing into the Obama administration
Presidency of Barack Obama
The Presidency of Barack Obama began at noon EST on January 20, 2009 when he became the 44th President of the United States. Obama was a United States Senator from Illinois at the time of his victory over Arizona Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election...

, Kennedy continued his efforts to enact universal health care
Universal health care
Universal health care is a term referring to organized health care systems built around the principle of universal coverage for all members of society, combining mechanisms for health financing and service provision.-History:...

, which he called the "cause of my life."

In May 2008, Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant
Malignant
Malignancy is the tendency of a medical condition, especially tumors, to become progressively worse and to potentially result in death. Malignancy in cancers is characterized by anaplasia, invasiveness, and metastasis...

 brain tumor
Brain tumor
A brain tumor is an intracranial solid neoplasm, a tumor within the brain or the central spinal canal.Brain tumors include all tumors inside the cranium or in the central spinal canal...

 which limited his appearances in the Senate. He died on August 25, 2009, in his Hyannis Port, Massachusetts
Hyannis Port, Massachusetts
Hyannis Port is a small residential village located in Barnstable, Massachusetts, and Hyannis, Massachusetts. It is an affluent summer community on Hyannis Harbor 1.4 miles to the south-southwest of Hyannis.-Community:...

 home
Kennedy Compound
The Kennedy Compound or Hyannis Port Historic District is the name given to six acres of waterfront property on Cape Cod along Nantucket Sound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, United States....

. By the time of his death, he had come to be viewed as a major figure and spokesman for American progressivism.

Early life, education, and military service

Kennedy was born in St. Margaret's Hospital on February 22, 1932 in the Dorchester section of Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, the youngest of nine children of Rose Fitzgerald
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
Rose Elizabeth Kennedy was the wife of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and the mother of nine children, among them United States President John F. Kennedy, United States Senator Robert F...

 and Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Sr. was a prominent American businessman, investor, and government official....

, who were members of prominent Irish-American families in Boston and who constituted one of the wealthiest families in the nation. His elder siblings included John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, DSG a member of the Kennedy family, sister to President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Edward Kennedy, was the founder in 1962 of Camp Shriver, and in 1968, the Special Olympics...

. John asked to be the newborn's godfather, a request his parents honored, though they did not agree to his request to name the baby George Washington Kennedy; instead, they named him after Joseph Sr.'s assistant.

Frequently uprooted as a child as his family moved among Bronxville, New York
Bronxville, New York
Bronxville is an affluent village within the town of Eastchester, New York, in the United States. It is a suburb of New York City, located approximately north of midtown Manhattan in southern Westchester County. At the 2010 census, Bronxville had a population of 6,323...

, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts
Hyannis Port, Massachusetts
Hyannis Port is a small residential village located in Barnstable, Massachusetts, and Hyannis, Massachusetts. It is an affluent summer community on Hyannis Harbor 1.4 miles to the south-southwest of Hyannis.-Community:...

, Palm Beach, Florida
Palm Beach, Florida
The Town of Palm Beach is an incorporated town in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The Intracoastal Waterway separates it from the neighboring cities of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth...

, and the Court of St. James's
Court of St. James's
The Court of St James's is the royal court of the United Kingdom. It previously had the same function in the Kingdom of England and in the Kingdom of Great Britain .-Overview:...

 in London, Kennedy attended ten different schools by the age of eleven. At age seven, he received his First Communion
First Communion
The First Communion, or First Holy Communion, is a Catholic Church ceremony. It is the colloquial name for a person's first reception of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Catholics believe this event to be very important, as the Eucharist is one of the central focuses of the Catholic Church...

 from Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

 in the Vatican
Apostolic Palace
The Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the Pope, which is located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Sacred Palace, the Papal Palace and the Palace of the Vatican...

. He spent sixth and seventh grades in the Fessenden School
Fessenden School
The Fessenden School is an independent day and boarding school for boys, founded in 1903 by Frederick J. Fessenden, and located at 250 Waltham Street, West Newton, Massachusetts, United States, on a campus....

, where he was a mediocre student, and eighth grade at Cranwell Preparatory School, both in Massachusetts. His parents were affectionate toward him as the youngest child but also compared him unfavorably with his older brothers. Between the ages of eight and sixteen he suffered the trauma of his sister Rosemary Kennedy
Rosemary Kennedy
Rose Marie "Rosemary" Kennedy was the third child and first daughter of Rose Elizabeth Kennedy née Fitzgerald and Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., born little more than a year after her brother, future U.S. President John F. Kennedy...

's failed lobotomy
Lobotomy
Lobotomy "; τομή – tomē: "cut/slice") is a neurosurgical procedure, a form of psychosurgery, also known as a leukotomy or leucotomy . It consists of cutting the connections to and from the prefrontal cortex, the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain...

 and the deaths of his brother Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Jr. was an American bomber pilot during World War II. He was the eldest of nine children born to Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., and Rose Elizabeth Kennedy....

 in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and sister Kathleen Agnes Kennedy in an airplane crash. An early political and personal influence was his affable maternal grandfather, John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald
John F. Fitzgerald
John Francis "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald was an Irish-American politician and the maternal grandfather of three prominent United States politicians—President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Senators Robert Francis Kennedy and Edward Moore Kennedy.-Early life and family:Fitzgerald was born in...

, a former mayor of Boston and U.S. Representative. Kennedy spent his four high school years at Milton Academy
Milton Academy
Milton Academy is a coeducational, independent preparatory, boarding and day school in Milton, Massachusetts consisting of a grade 9–12 Upper School and a grade K–8 Lower School. Boarding is offered starting in 9th grade...

 prep school, where his grades were ordinary and he did well at football. He also played on the tennis and hockey teams and was in the drama, debate, and glee clubs. He graduated from there in 1950.

Kennedy entered Harvard College
Harvard College
Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of two schools within Harvard University granting undergraduate degrees...

, and in his spring semester was assigned to the athlete-oriented Winthrop House
Winthrop House
John Winthrop House is one of twelve undergraduate residences at Harvard College and home to slightly under 400 students.Commonly referred to as Winthrop House, it consists of two buildings, Standish Hall and Gore Hall. Both were built in 1912 as separate freshman dormitories...

, where his brothers had also lived. He played as a large, fearless offensive and defensive end on the freshman football team. In his first semester, Kennedy and his friends arranged to copy answers from another student during the final examination for a science class. At the end of his second semester, in May 1951, and anxious about maintaining his eligibility for athletics for the next year, he had a friend who was knowledgeable on the subject take his Spanish language
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 examination for him. The two were quickly caught and expelled for cheating, but in a standard Harvard treatment for cases of this kind, they were told they could apply for readmission in a year or two after demonstrating good behavior.

Kennedy enlisted in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 in June 1951 (signing up for an optional four-year term, which was shortened to the minimum two years after his father intervened). Following basic training
United States Army Basic Training
United States Army Basic Training is the program of physical and mental training required in order for an individual to become a soldier in the United States Army, United States Army Reserve, or Army National Guard. It is carried out at several different Army posts around the United States...

 at Fort Dix, he requested assignment to Fort Holabird for Army Intelligence
Military Intelligence Corps (United States Army)
In the United States Armed Forces, Military Intelligence refers specifically to the intelligence components of the United States Army...

 training, but was dropped after a few weeks without explanation. He went to Camp Gordon for training in the Military Police Corps. In June 1952, Kennedy was assigned to the honor guard
Honor guard
An honor guard, or ceremonial guard, is a ceremonial unit, usually military in nature and composed of volunteers who are carefully screened for their physical ability and dexterity...

 at SHAPE
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe
Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe is the central command of NATO military forces. It is located at Casteau, north of the Belgian city of Mons...

 headquarters in Paris. His father's political connections ensured he was not deployed to the ongoing Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. While stationed in Europe he travelled extensively on weekends and climbed the Matterhorn
Matterhorn
The Matterhorn , Monte Cervino or Mont Cervin , is a mountain in the Pennine Alps on the border between Switzerland and Italy. Its summit is 4,478 metres high, making it one of the highest peaks in the Alps. The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points...

. He was discharged in March 1953 as a private first class
Private First Class
Private First Class is a military rank held by junior enlisted persons.- Singapore :The rank of Private First Class in the Singapore Armed Forces lies between the ranks of Private and Lance-Corporal . It is usually held by conscript soldiers midway through their national service term...

.

Kennedy re-entered Harvard in summer 1953 and improved his study habits. He joined The Owl
Owl Club (Harvard)
The Owl Club is a men's only final club at Harvard College, founded in 1896. Its clubhouse is located at 30 Holyoke Street in Cambridge, in close proximity to Lowell House.-The Owl Club:...

 final club
Final club
A final club is an undergraduate social club at Harvard College.- Origins :The historical basis for the name final clubs is that Harvard used to have a variety of clubs for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, with students of different years being in different clubs, and the "final clubs"...

 in 1954; he was also chosen for the Hasty Pudding Club
Hasty Pudding Club
The Hasty Pudding Club is a social club for Harvard students. It was founded by Nymphus Hatch, a junior at Harvard College, in 1770. The club is named for the traditional American dish that the founding members ate at their first meeting...

 and the Pi Eta fraternity. On athletic probation during his sophomore year, Kennedy returned as a second-string two way end for Harvard Crimson football
Harvard Crimson football
The Harvard Crimson football program represents Harvard University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision . Harvard's football program is one of the oldest in the world, having begun competing in the sport in 1873...

 during his junior year and barely missed earning his varsity letter
Varsity letter
A varsity letter is an award earned in the United States for excellence in school activities. A varsity letter signifies that its winner was a qualified varsity team member, awarded after a certain standard was met.- Description :...

. Nevertheless, he received a recruiting feeler from Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are an American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The Packers are the current NFL champions...

 head coach Lisle Blackbourn
Lisle Blackbourn
Lisle "Liz" Blackbourn was an American football coach who was the third head coach of the Green Bay Packers. He coached the Packers from 1954 to 1957....

, asking about his interest in playing professionally. Kennedy demurred, saying he had plans to attend law school and to "go into another contact sport, politics." Kennedy became a starting end on the Harvard Crimson football team in his senior year, working hard to improve his blocking and tackling to complement his 6-foot 2-inch, 200-pound size. In the 1955 Harvard-Yale game, which Yale
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 won 21–7, Kennedy caught Harvard's only touchdown pass. He graduated from Harvard in 1956 with an A.B.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 in history and government.

Kennedy enrolled in the University of Virginia School of Law
University of Virginia School of Law
The University of Virginia School of Law was founded in Charlottesville in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson as one of the original subjects taught at his "academical village," the University of Virginia. The law school maintains an enrollment of approximately 1,100 students in its initial degree program...

 in 1956, and also attended the Hague Academy of International Law
Hague Academy of International Law
The Hague Academy of International Law is a center for high-level education in both public and private international law housed in the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands...

 during 1958. At Virginia he was in the middle of the class ranking but was the winner of the prestigious William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition. While there, his fast automotive habits were curtailed when he was charged with reckless driving and driving without a license. He was officially manager of his brother John's 1958 Senate re-election campaign
United States Senate election, 1958
The U.S. Senate election, 1958 was an election for the United States Senate whichoccurred in the middle of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's second term. As is common in midterm elections, the party in the White House lost seats, but in this year it was on a huge scale, perhaps due to the Recession...

, and Ted's ability to connect to ordinary voters on the street helped bring a record-setting victory margin that gave credibility to John's presidential aspirations. Kennedy graduated from law school in 1959.

Family and early career

While attending law school, Kennedy met Virginia Joan Bennett
Joan Bennett Kennedy
Joan Bennett Kennedy is an American musician, writer, and former model. She is the former wife of U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Edward "Ted" Moore Kennedy.-Early life:...

 while he was delivering a speech at Manhattanville College
Manhattanville College
Manhattanville College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college offering undergraduate and graduate degrees, located in Purchase, New York. Founded in 1841 it was known initially as Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart...

 in October 1957. Bennett was a senior there, had worked as a model and won beauty contests, but was unfamiliar with the world of politics. After their engagement she grew nervous about marrying someone she did not know that well, but his father insisted the wedding not be put off. They were married by Cardinal Francis Spellman on November 29, 1958, at St. Joseph's Church in Bronxville, New York
Bronxville, New York
Bronxville is an affluent village within the town of Eastchester, New York, in the United States. It is a suburb of New York City, located approximately north of midtown Manhattan in southern Westchester County. At the 2010 census, Bronxville had a population of 6,323...

. They had three children together: Kara (February 27, 1960 – September 16, 2011), Ted, Jr. (born September 26, 1961), and Patrick J.
Patrick J. Kennedy
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 1995 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes all of Bristol County and Newport County, and parts of Providence County. Kennedy did not seek re-election in 2010.A member of the Kennedy...

 (born July 14, 1967). By the mid-1960s, their marriage was troubled due to Ted's womanizing and Joan's growing alcoholism.

Kennedy was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1959. In 1960, John ran for President of the United States
United States presidential election, 1960
The United States presidential election of 1960 was the 44th American presidential election, held on November 8, 1960, for the term beginning January 20, 1961, and ending January 20, 1965. The incumbent president, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, was not eligible to run again. The Republican Party...

, and Ted managed his campaign in the Western states. Ted learned to fly, and during the Democratic primary campaign
Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1960
The 1960 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1960 U.S. presidential election. Senator John F...

 he barnstormed around the western states, meeting with delegates and bonding with them by trying his hand at ski jumping
Ski jumping
Ski jumping is a sport in which skiers go down a take-off ramp, jump and attempt to land as far as possible down the hill below. In addition to the length of the jump, judges give points for style. The skis used for ski jumping are wide and long...

 and bronc riding
Bronc riding
Bronc riding, either saddle bronc or bareback bronc competition, is a rodeo event that involves a rodeo participant riding on a horse , that attempts to throw or buck off the rider...

. His seven weeks spent in Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 helped his brother win the first contested primary of the season there, and similar time spent in Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

 was rewarded when a unanimous vote from that state's delegates put his brother over the top at the 1960 Democratic National Convention
1960 Democratic National Convention
The 1960 Democratic National Convention was held in Los Angeles. In the end, the Kennedy-Johnson ticket was assembled and went on to secure an electoral college victory and a narrow popular vote plurality in the fall over the Republican candidates Richard M...

.

Upon his victory in the presidential election, John vacated his seat as U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, and Ted would not be eligible to fill the vacancy until February 22, 1962, when he would turn thirty. Ted initially wanted to stay out West and do something other than run for office right away; he said, "The disadvantage of my position is being constantly compared with two brothers of such superior ability." His brothers were also not in favor of his running immediately, but Ted desired the Senate seat as an accomplishment to match his brothers', and their father overruled them. Thus, the President-elect asked Massachusetts Governor Foster Furcolo
Foster Furcolo
John Foster Furcolo was a member of the Democratic Party who served as the 60th Governor of Massachusetts, a member of the United States House of Representatives, and in other government offices in Massachusetts. He was the first Italian-American governor of Massachusetts.-Life and career:Furcolo...

 to name Kennedy family friend Ben Smith
Benjamin A. Smith II
Benjamin Atwood Smith II was a United States Senator from the state of Massachusetts from December 1960 until November 1962.-Family and education:...

 as interim Senator for John's unexpired term, which he did in December 1960. This kept the seat open for Ted. Meanwhile, Ted began work in February 1961 as an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Suffolk County has no land border with Plymouth County to its southeast, but the two counties share a water boundary in the middle of Massachusetts Bay.-National protected areas:*Boston African American National Historic Site...

 (for which he took a nominal $1 salary), where he first developed a hard-nosed attitude towards crime. He took many overseas trips, billed as fact-finding tours with the goal of improving his foreign policy credentials. On a nine-nation Latin American trip in 1961, FBI reports from the time had Kennedy meeting with Lauchlin Currie
Lauchlin Currie
Lauchlin Bernard Currie was a Canadian-born U.S.economist from New Dublin, Nova Scotia, Canada, and allegedly an agent of espionage for the Soviet Union....

, an alleged former Soviet spy, and with locals in each country whom the reports deemed left-wingers and Communist sympathizers. Reports from the FBI and others had Kennedy renting a brothel and opening up bordellos after hours during the tour. The Latin American trip helped formulate Kennedy's foreign policy views, and in Boston Globe columns written afterward he warned that the region might turn to Communism if the U.S. did not better reach out to it. Kennedy also began speaking to local political clubs and organizations.

In the 1962 U.S. Senate special election in Massachusetts
United States Senate special election in Massachusetts, 1962
The United States Senate special election of 1962 in Massachusetts was held on November 6, 1962.-History:Senator John F. Kennedy resigned the seat to become President of the United States after winning the presidential election in 1960. Benjamin A...

, Kennedy first faced a Democratic Party primary challenge from Edward J. McCormack, Jr.
Edward J. McCormack, Jr.
Edward "Eddy" Joseph McCormack, Jr. was a former Attorney General of Massachusetts.-Personal life and education:...

, the state Attorney General
Massachusetts Attorney General
The Massachusetts Attorney General is an elected executive officer of the Massachusetts Government. The office of Attorney-General was abolished in 1843 and re-established in 1849. The current Attorney General is Martha Coakley....

. Kennedy's slogan was "He can do more for Massachusetts", the same one John had used in his first campaign for the seat ten years earlier. McCormack had the support of many liberals and intellectuals, who thought Kennedy inexperienced and knew of his suspension from Harvard, a fact which later became public during the race. Kennedy also faced the notion that with one brother President and another U.S. Attorney General, "Don't you think that Teddy is one Kennedy too many?" But Kennedy proved to be an effective street-level campaigner. In a televised debate, McCormack said "The office of United States senator should be merited, and not inherited," and said that if his opponent's name was Edward Moore, not Edward Moore Kennedy, his candidacy "would be a joke". Voters thought McCormack's performance overbearing; combined with the family political machine's finally getting fully behind him, Kennedy won the September 1962 primary by a two-to-one margin. In the November special election, Kennedy defeated Republican George Cabot Lodge II, product of another noted Massachusetts political family, gaining 55 percent of the vote.

First years and assassinations of two brothers

Kennedy was sworn in to the Senate on November 7, 1962. He maintained a deferential attitude towards the older, seniority-laden Southern members when he first entered the Senate, avoiding publicity and focusing on committee work and local issues. Compared to his brothers in office, he lacked John's sophistication and Robert's intense, sometimes grating drive, but was more affable than either of them.

On November 22, 1963, while Kennedy was presiding over the Senate
Presiding Officer of the United States Senate
The Presiding Officer is the person who presides over the United States Senate and is charged with maintaining order and decorum, recognizing members to speak, and interpreting the Senate's rules, practices and precedents...

—a task given to junior members—an aide rushed in to tell him that his brother, President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, had been shot
John F. Kennedy assassination
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...

; his brother Robert soon told him that the President was dead. Ted, with one of his sisters, flew to the family home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts
Hyannis Port, Massachusetts
Hyannis Port is a small residential village located in Barnstable, Massachusetts, and Hyannis, Massachusetts. It is an affluent summer community on Hyannis Harbor 1.4 miles to the south-southwest of Hyannis.-Community:...

, to tell his father (afflicted by a stroke suffered in December 1961) the news.
On June 19, 1964, Kennedy was a passenger in a private Aero Commander 680 airplane flying in bad weather from Washington to Massachusetts. It crashed into an apple orchard in the western Massachusetts
Western Massachusetts
Western Massachusetts is a loosely defined geographical region of the U.S. state of Massachusetts which contains the Berkshires, the Pioneer Valley, and some or all of the Swift River Valley. The region is always considered to include Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties, and the...

 town of Southampton
Southampton, Massachusetts
Southampton is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It was established first as a district of Northampton in 1753. It was incorporated in 1753. The name Southampton was given to it during its first town meeting in 1773. Its ZIP code is 01073...

 on the final approach
Final approach (aviation)
A final approach is the last leg in an aircraft's approach to landing. In aviation radio terminology, it is often shortened to "final".In a standard airport landing pattern, which is usually used under visual meteorological conditions , aircraft turn from base leg to final within one to two miles...

 to the Barnes Municipal Airport
Barnes Municipal Airport
Barnes Municipal Airport , also known as Westfield-Barnes Airport, is a tower-controlled joint civil-military public airport located three miles north of the central business district of Westfield, a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. This airport is owned by City of Westfield...

 in Westfield
Westfield, Massachusetts
Westfield is a city in Hampden County, in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 41,094 at the 2010 census. The ZIP Code is 01085 for homes and businesses, 01086 for Westfield State...

 . The pilot and Edward Moss, one of Kennedy's aides, were killed. Kennedy was pulled from the wreckage by fellow Senator Birch E. Bayh II
Birch Bayh
Birch Evans Bayh II is a former United States Senator from Indiana, having served from 1963 to 1981. He was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in the 1976 election, but lost to Jimmy Carter. He is the father of former Indiana Governor and former U.S. Senator Evan Bayh.-Life...

 and spent months in a hospital recovering from a severe back injury, a punctured lung
Pneumothorax
Pneumothorax is a collection of air or gas in the pleural cavity of the chest between the lung and the chest wall. It may occur spontaneously in people without chronic lung conditions as well as in those with lung disease , and many pneumothoraces occur after physical trauma to the chest, blast...

, broken ribs and internal bleeding. He suffered chronic back pain for the rest of his life. Kennedy took advantage of his long convalescence to meet with academics and study issues more closely, and the hospital experience triggered his lifelong interest in the provision of health care
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

 services. His wife Joan did the campaigning for him in the regular 1964 U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts
United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 1964
The United States Senate election of 1964 in Massachusetts was held on November 3, 1964 with the incumbent Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy defeating his challengers...

, and he defeated his Republican opponent by a three-to-one margin.

Kennedy returned to the Senate in January 1965, walking with a cane and employing a stronger and more effective legislative staff. He took on President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 and almost succeeded in amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to explicitly ban the poll tax
Poll tax
A poll tax is a tax of a portioned, fixed amount per individual in accordance with the census . When a corvée is commuted for cash payment, in effect it becomes a poll tax...

 at the state and local level (rather than just directing the Attorney General to challenge its constitutionality there), thereby gaining a reputation for legislative skill. He was a leader in pushing through the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which ended a quota system based upon national origin and which, despite Kennedy's predictions, would have a profound effect on the demographic makeup of the United States. He also played a role in creation of the National Teachers Corps
National Teachers Corps
Teacher Corps was a program established by the United States Congress in the Higher Education Act of 1965 to improve elementary and secondary teaching in predominantly low-income areas. Individual Teacher Corps projects were developed by "institutions of higher education" in partnership with...

.

Following in the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

rior path of his fallen brother, Kennedy initially said he had "no reservations" about the expanding U.S. role in the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, acknowledging that it would be a "long and enduring struggle". Kennedy held hearings on the plight of refugees in the conflict, which revealed that the U.S. government had no coherent policy for refugees. Kennedy also tried to reform "unfair" and "inequitable" aspects of the draft
Conscription in the United States
Conscription in the United States has been employed several times, usually during war but also during the nominal peace of the Cold War...

. By the time of a January 1968 trip to Vietnam, Kennedy was disillusioned by the lack of U.S. progress, and suggested publicly that the U.S. should tell South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

, "Shape up or we're going to ship out."
Ted initially advised his brother Robert against challenging the incumbent President Johnson for the Democratic nomination in the 1968 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1968
The United States presidential election of 1968 was the 46th quadrennial United States presidential election. Coming four years after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won in a historic landslide, it saw Johnson forced out of the race and Republican Richard Nixon elected...

. Once Eugene McCarthy
Eugene McCarthy
Eugene Joseph "Gene" McCarthy was an American politician, poet, and a long-time member of the United States Congress from Minnesota. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1949 to 1959 and the U.S. Senate from 1959 to 1971.In the 1968 presidential election, McCarthy was the first...

's strong showing in the New Hampshire primary
New Hampshire primary
The New Hampshire primary is the first in a series of nationwide political party primary elections held in the United States every four years , as part of the process of choosing the Democratic and Republican nominees for the presidential elections to be held the subsequent November.Although only a...

 led to Robert's presidential campaign
Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign, 1968
Robert F. Kennedy was a U.S. Senator from New York, having won in 1964. In 1968, President Johnson began to run for reelection. In January 1968, faced with what was widely considered an unrealistic race against an incumbent President, Senator Kennedy stated he would not seek the presidency...

 starting in March 1968, Ted recruited political leaders for endorsements to his brother in the Western states. Ted was in San Francisco as his brother Robert won the crucial California primary on June 4, 1968; and then after midnight, Robert was shot in Los Angeles
Robert F. Kennedy assassination
The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, a United States Senator and brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, took place shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, in Los Angeles, California...

 and died a day later. Ted Kennedy was devastated by this death, as he was closest to Robert among those in the Kennedy family; Kennedy aide Frank Mankiewicz
Frank Mankiewicz
Frank Fabian Mankiewicz II is an American journalist.-Biography:He grew up in Beverly Hills, California. His father, screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, co-wrote Citizen Kane, and his uncle, Joseph Mankiewicz, directed such films as All About Eve and Cleopatra.Mankiewicz received a B.A...

 said of seeing Ted at the hospital where Robert lay mortally wounded: "I have never, ever, nor do I expect ever, to see a face more in grief." Ted Kennedy delivered a eulogy
Eulogy
A eulogy is a speech or writing in praise of a person or thing, especially one recently deceased or retired. Eulogies may be given as part of funeral services. However, some denominations either discourage or do not permit eulogies at services to maintain respect for traditions...

 at Robert's funeral, which included the oft-quoted:
At the chaotic 1968 Democratic National Convention
1968 Democratic National Convention
The 1968 Democratic National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois, from August 26 to August 29, 1968. Because Democratic President Lyndon Johnson had announced he would not seek a second term, the purpose of the convention was to...

 in August, Mayor of Chicago Richard J. Daley
Richard J. Daley
Richard Joseph Daley served for 21 years as the mayor and undisputed Democratic boss of Chicago and is considered by historians to be the "last of the big city bosses." He played a major role in the history of the Democratic Party, especially with his support of John F...

 and some other party factions feared that Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

 could not unite the party, and so encouraged Ted Kennedy to make himself available for a draft
Draft (politics)
In elections in the United States, political drafts are used to encourage or pressure a certain person to enter a political race, by demonstrating a significant groundswell of support for the candidate. A write-in campaign may also be considered a draft campaign.-The movement to draft Dwight D....

. 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. Thinking that he was only being seen as a stand-in for his brother and that he was not ready for the job himself, and getting an uncertain reaction from McCarthy and a negative one from Southern delegates, Kennedy rejected any move to place his name before the convention as a candidate for the nomination. He also declined consideration for the vice-presidential spot. George McGovern
George McGovern
George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

 remained the symbolic standard-bearer for Robert's delegates instead.

After the deaths of his brothers, Ted Kennedy took on the role of a surrogate father for his 13 nephews and nieces. By some reports, he also negotiated the October 1968 marital contract between Jacqueline Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis
Aristotle Onassis
Aristotle Sokratis Onassis , commonly called Ari or Aristo Onassis, was a prominent Greek shipping magnate.- Early life :Onassis was born in Karatass, a suburb of Smyrna to Socrates and Penelope Onassis...

.

Following Republican Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

's victory in November, Kennedy was widely assumed to be the front-runner for the 1972 Democratic nomination.
In January 1969, Kennedy defeated Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 Senator Russell B. Long
Russell B. Long
Russell Billiu Long was an American Democratic politician and United States Senator from Louisiana from 1948 until 1987.-Early life:...

 by a 31–26 margin to become Senate Majority Whip
Assistant party leaders of the United States Senate
The Assistant Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate are the second-ranking members of the party leadership of the United States Senate....

, the youngest person to attain that position. While this further boosted his presidential image, he also appeared conflicted by the inevitability of having to run for the position. 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." Indeed, there were a constant series of death threats made against Kennedy for much of the rest of his career.

Chappaquiddick incident

On the night of July 18, 1969, Kennedy was on Martha's Vineyard
Martha's Vineyard
Martha's Vineyard is an island located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, known for being an affluent summer colony....

's Chappaquiddick Island
Chappaquiddick Island
Chappaquiddick Island is a small island off the eastern end of the larger island of Martha's Vineyard and is part of the town of Edgartown, Massachusetts. The island's name became internationally recognized following the July 18, 1969 incident, for which U.S. Senator Edward M...

 at a party he gave for the "Boiler Room Girls
Boiler Room Girls
The "Boiler Room Girls" were the female members of Senator Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign staff. While an American political campaign often makes calls from a phone bank that has much in common with a marketing boiler room, this group actually had desks in space designed as a...

", a group of young women who had worked on his brother Robert's presidential campaign the year before. Kennedy left the party, driving a 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 with one of the women, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne
Mary Jo Kopechne
Mary Jo Kopechne was an American teacher, secretary, and political campaign specialist who died in a car accident in Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts on July 18, 1969, while a passenger in a car being driven by U.S. Senator Edward M...

, and later drove off Dike Bridge into the Poucha Pond inlet, a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island. Kennedy escaped the overturned vehicle, and, by his description, dove below the surface seven or eight times, vainly attempting to reach Kopechne. Ultimately, he swam to shore and left the scene. He contacted authorities the next morning, but Kopechne's body had already been discovered.

On July 25, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a sentence of two months in jail, suspended
Suspended sentence
A suspended sentence is a legal term for a judge's delaying of a defendant's serving of a sentence after they have been found guilty, in order to allow the defendant to perform a period of probation...

. That night, he gave a national broadcast in which he said, "I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately," but denied driving under the influence of alcohol and denied any immoral conduct between him and Kopechne. Kennedy asked the Massachusetts electorate whether he should stay in office and, after getting a favorable response, he did so.

In January 1970, an inquest into Kopechne's death was held in Edgartown, Massachusetts
Edgartown, Massachusetts
Edgartown is a town located on Martha's Vineyard in Dukes County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 3,779 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Dukes County. Edgartown has the largest population and area in the entire Dukes County and Martha's Vineyard.- History :In 1642....

. At the request of Kennedy's lawyers, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is the highest court in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The SJC has the distinction of being the oldest continuously functioning appellate court in the Western Hemisphere.-History:...

 ordered the inquest be conducted in secret. The presiding judge, James A. Boyle, concluded that some aspects of Kennedy's story of that night were not true, and that negligent driving "appears to have contributed to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne". A grand jury
Grand jury
A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will issue. Currently, only the United States retains grand juries, although some other common law jurisdictions formerly employed them, and most other jurisdictions employ some other type of preliminary hearing...

 on Martha's Vineyard conducted a two-day investigation in April 1970 but issued no indictment, after which Boyle made his inquest report public. Kennedy deemed its conclusions "not justified". Questions about the Chappaquiddick incident generated a large number of articles and books over the next several years.

Kennedy easily won re-election to another term
United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 1970
The United States Senate election of 1970 in Massachusetts was held on November 3, 1970. The incumbent Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy defeated his challengers...

 in the Senate in 1970 with 62 percent of the vote against underfunded Republican candidate Josiah Spaulding, although he received about 500,000 fewer votes than in 1964.

1970s

In January 1971, Kennedy lost his position as Senate Majority Whip when he lost the support of several members and was defeated by Senator Robert Byrd
Robert Byrd
Robert Carlyle Byrd was a United States Senator from West Virginia. A member of the Democratic Party, Byrd served as a U.S. Representative from 1953 until 1959 and as a U.S. Senator from 1959 to 2010...

 of West Virginia, 31–24. Kennedy would later tell Byrd that the defeat was a blessing, as it allowed him to focus more on issues and committee work, where his best strengths lay and where he could exert influence independently from the Democratic party apparatus. Kennedy became chair of the Senate subcommittee on health care and played a leading role with Jacob Javits in the creation and passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971.

In October 1971, Kennedy made his first speech about The Troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

 in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

: he said that "Ulster is becoming Britain's Vietnam", demanded that British troops leave the northern counties, called for a united Ireland
United Ireland
A united Ireland is the term used to refer to the idea of a sovereign state which covers all of the thirty-two traditional counties of Ireland. The island of Ireland includes the territory of two independent sovereign states: the Republic of Ireland, which covers 26 counties of the island, and the...

, and declared that Protestants who could not accept this "should be given a decent opportunity to go back to Britain" (a position he backed away from within a couple of years). Kennedy was harshly criticized by the British, and formed a long political relationship with Irish Social Democratic and Labour Party
Social Democratic and Labour Party
The Social Democratic and Labour Party is a social-democratic, Irish nationalist political party in Northern Ireland. Its basic party platform advocates Irish reunification, and the further devolution of powers while Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom...

 founder John Hume
John Hume
John Hume is a former Irish politician from Derry, Northern Ireland. He was a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, and was co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize, with David Trimble....

. In scores of anti-war speeches, Kennedy opposed President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

's policy of Vietnamization
Vietnamization
Vietnamization was a policy of the Richard M. Nixon administration during the Vietnam War, as a result of the Viet Cong's Tet Offensive, to "expand, equip, and train South Vietnam's forces and assign to them an ever-increasing combat role, at the same time steadily reducing the number of U.S....

, calling it "a policy of violence [that] means more and more war." In December 1971, Kennedy strongly criticized the Nixon administration's support for Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and its ignoring of "the brutal and systematic repression of East Bengal by the Pakistani army". He traveled to India and wrote a report on the plight of the 10 million Bengali refugees. In February 1972, Kennedy flew to Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 and delivered a speech at Dhaka University, where a killing rampage
1971 Bangladesh atrocities
Beginning with the start of Operation Searchlight on 25 March 1971 and continuing throughout the Bangladesh Liberation War, there were widespread violations of human rights in East Pakistan perpetrated by the Pakistan Army, with support from local political and religious militias, especially...

 had begun a year earlier.

Chappaquiddick had greatly damaged Kennedy's future presidential prospects and he had declared, shortly after the incident, that he would not be a candidate in the 1972 U.S. presidential election
United States presidential election, 1972
The United States presidential election of 1972 was the 47th quadrennial United States presidential election. It was held on November 7, 1972. The Democratic Party's nomination was eventually won by Senator George McGovern, who ran an anti-war campaign against incumbent Republican President Richard...

. Nevertheless, polls in 1971 suggested he could win the nomination if he tried, and Kennedy gave some thought to running. In May of that year he decided not to, saying he needed "breathing time" to gain more experience and to take care of the children of his brothers and that in sum, "It feels wrong in my gut." Nevertheless, in November 1971, a Gallup Poll still had him in first place in the Democratic nomination race with 28 percent. Once George McGovern
George McGovern
George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

 was near clinching the Democratic nomination in June 1972, various anti-McGovern forces tried to get Kennedy to enter the contest at the last minute, but he declined. At the 1972 Democratic National Convention
1972 Democratic National Convention
The 1972 Democratic National Convention was the presidential nominating convention of the Democratic Party for the 1972 presidential election. It was held at Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida on July 10–13, 1972....

 McGovern repeatedly tried to recruit Kennedy as his vice presidential running mate, but was turned down. When McGovern's choice of Thomas Eagleton
Thomas Eagleton
Thomas Francis Eagleton was a United States Senator from Missouri, serving from 1968–1987. He is best remembered for briefly being the Democratic vice presidential nominee under George McGovern in 1972...

 stepped down soon after the convention, McGovern again tried to get Kennedy to take the nod, again without success. McGovern instead chose Kennedy's brother-in-law Sargent Shriver
Sargent Shriver
Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr., known as Sargent Shriver, R. Sargent Shriver, or, from childhood, Sarge, was an American statesman and activist. As the husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he was part of the Kennedy family, serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations...

.

In 1973, Kennedy's son Edward Kennedy, Jr.
Edward Kennedy, Jr.
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy, Jr. is an American entrepreneur, investment banker and lawyer. He is a co-founder and the president of the , a financial-services firm headquartered in New York City, New York....

, was discovered to have chondrosarcoma
Chondrosarcoma
Chondrosarcoma is a cancer composed of cells derived from transformed cells that produce cartilage. Chondrosarcoma is a member of a category of "soft tissue" malignancies known as sarcomas. About 30% of skeletal system cancers are chondrosarcomas...

; his leg was amputated and he underwent a long, difficult, experimental two-year drug treatment. The case brought international attention both among doctors and in the general media, as did the young Kennedy's return to the ski slopes half a year later. Son Patrick
Patrick J. Kennedy
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 1995 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes all of Bristol County and Newport County, and parts of Providence County. Kennedy did not seek re-election in 2010.A member of the Kennedy...

 was suffering from severe asthma attacks. The pressure of the situation mounted on Joan Kennedy, who several times entered facilities for alcoholism and emotional strain and was arrested for drunk driving after a traffic accident.

Meanwhile, Kennedy renewed his efforts for national health insurance. While proposing a single-payer
Single-payer health care
Single-payer health care is medical care funded from a single insurance pool, run by the state. Under a single-payer system, universal health care for an entire population can be financed from a pool to which many parties employees, employers, and the state have contributed...

 solution favored by organized labor, he also negotiated with the Nixon administration on their preferred employer-based, HMO
Health maintenance organization
A health maintenance organization is an organization that provides managed care for health insurance contracts in the United States as a liaison with health care providers...

-oriented solution. The two sides could not come to agreement, and Kennedy would later regret not seizing upon the Nixon plan. In the wake of the Watergate scandal
Watergate scandal
The Watergate scandal was a political scandal during the 1970s in the United States resulting from the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement...

, Kennedy pushed campaign finance reform; he was a leading force behind passage of the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974, which set contribution limits and established public financing for presidential elections. In April 1974, Kennedy travelled to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, where he met with leader Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Brezhnev
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  – 10 November 1982) was the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , presiding over the country from 1964 until his death in 1982. His eighteen-year term as General Secretary was second only to that of Joseph Stalin in...

 and advocated a full nuclear test ban as well as relaxed emigration, gave a speech at Moscow State University
Moscow State University
Lomonosov Moscow State University , previously known as Lomonosov University or MSU , is the largest university in Russia. Founded in 1755, it also claims to be one of the oldest university in Russia and to have the tallest educational building in the world. Its current rector is Viktor Sadovnichiy...

, met with Soviet dissidents
Soviet dissidents
Soviet dissidents were citizens of the Soviet Union who disagreed with the policies and actions of their government and actively protested against these actions through either violent or non-violent means...

, and secured an exit visa for famed cellist Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, KBE , known to close friends as Slava, was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. He was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. He is widely considered to have been the greatest cellist of the second half of the 20th century, and one of the greatest of...

. Kennedy's Subcommittee on Refugees and Escapees continued to focus on Vietnam, especially after the Fall of Saigon
Fall of Saigon
The Fall of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front on April 30, 1975...

 in 1975.

Kennedy had initially opposed busing schoolchildren across racial lines, but grew to support the practice as it became a focal point of civil rights efforts. After federal judge W. Arthur Garrity ordered the Boston School Committee
Boston Public Schools
Boston Public Schools is a school district serving the city of Boston, Massachusetts, United States.-Leadership:The district is led by a Superintendent, hired by the Boston School Committee, a seven-member school board appointed by the Mayor after approval by a nominating committee of specified...

 in 1974 to racially integrate Boston's public schools via busing, Kennedy made a surprise appearance at a September 1974 anti-busing rally in City Hall Plaza
City Hall Plaza (Boston)
City Hall Plaza in Boston, Massachusetts, is a large, open, unadorned public space in the Government Center area of the city. The architectural firm Kallmann McKinnell & Knowles designed the plaza in 1962 to accompany Boston's new City Hall. The multi-level, irregularly-shaped plaza consists of red...

 to express the need for peaceful dialogue and was met with extreme hostility. 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
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Federal Building is a United States Federal government office building located in the Government Center area of Boston, Massachusetts. It is adjacent to City Hall Plaza and is located diagonally across from Boston City Hall. The firm of Walter Gropius designed the building,...

 and went so far as to push against one of its glass walls and break it.

Kennedy was again much talked about as a contender in the 1976 U.S. presidential election
United States presidential election, 1976
The United States presidential election of 1976 followed the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It pitted incumbent President Gerald Ford, the Republican candidate, against the relatively unknown former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic...

, with no strong front-runners among the other possible Democratic candidates. But Kennedy's concerns about his family were strong, and Chappaquiddick was still in the news, with The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe is an American daily newspaper based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe has been owned by The New York Times Company since 1993...

, The New York Times Magazine
The New York Times Magazine
The New York Times Magazine is a Sunday magazine supplement included with the Sunday edition of The New York Times. It is host to feature articles longer than those typically in the newspaper and has attracted many notable contributors...

, and Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine all reassessing the incident and raising doubts about Kennedy's version of events. In September 1974, Kennedy announced that for family reasons he would not run in the 1976 election, declaring that his decision was "firm, final, and unconditional." The eventual Democratic nominee, Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, built little by way of a relationship with Kennedy during his primary campaign, the convention, or the general election campaign. Kennedy himself was up for Senate re-election in 1976
United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 1976
The United States Senate election of 1976 in Massachusetts was held on November 2, 1976 with the incumbent Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy defeating his challengers.-Democratic:...

; he defeated a primary challenger angry at his support for school busing in Boston, then won the general election with 69 percent of the vote.

The Carter administration years were difficult for Kennedy; he had been the most important Democrat in Washington ever since his brother Robert's death, but now Carter was, and Kennedy at first did not have a committee chairmanship with which to wield influence. Carter in turn sometimes resented Kennedy's status as a political celebrity. Kennedy expressed to reporters that he was content with his congressional role and viewed presidential ambitions as almost far-fetched. Despite generally similar ideologies, their priorities were different. Frustrated by Carter's budgetary concerns and political caution, Kennedy spoke at the Democratic mid-term convention in 1978 and said, "Sometimes a party must sail against the wind." Carter later wrote that the most intense and mounting opposition to his policies came from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, which he attributed to Kennedy's ambition to replace him as president.

Kennedy and his wife Joan separated in 1977, although they still staged joint appearances at some public events.
Kennedy visited China on a goodwill mission in late December 1977, meeting with leader Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 and eventually gaining permission for a number of Mainland Chinese nationals to leave the country; in 1978, he also visited the Soviet Union and Brezhnev and dissidents there again. Kennedy did become chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary is a standing committee of the United States Senate, of the United States Congress. The Judiciary Committee, with 18 members, is charged with conducting hearings prior to the Senate votes on confirmation of federal judges nominated by the...

 in 1978, by which time he had amassed a wide-ranging Senate staff of a hundred.

Carter and Kennedy could not agree on a health care reform plan for the country. Kennedy wanted an ambitious, mixed private-government plan with comprehensive coverage, while Carter thought such a plan far too expensive given the troubled economic times, and instead proposed an incremental plan to be phased in over five to ten years. Neither plan gained any traction in Congress, and the failure to come to agreement represented the final political breach between the two. (Carter wrote in 1982 that Kennedy's disagreements with Carter's proposed approach "ironically" thwarted Carter's efforts to provide a comprehensive health-care system for the country. In turn, Kennedy wrote in 2009 that his relationship with Carter was "unhealthy" and that "Clearly President Carter was a difficult man to convince – of anything.")

1980 presidential campaign

Kennedy finally ran for the Democratic nomination in the 1980 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1980
The United States presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, as well as Republican Congressman John B. Anderson, who ran as an independent...

 by launching an unusual, insurgent campaign against the incumbent Carter, a member of his own party. A midsummer 1978 poll had shown Democrats preferring Kennedy over Carter by a 5-to-3 margin. During spring and summer 1979, as Kennedy deliberated whether to run, Carter was not intimidated despite his 28 percent approval rating, saying publicly: "If Kennedy runs, I'll whip his ass." Carter later asserted that Kennedy's constant criticism of his policies was a strong sign that Kennedy was planning to run for the presidency. Labor unions urged Kennedy to run, as did some Democratic party officials who feared that Carter's unpopularity would lead to bad losses in the 1980 congressional elections. By August 1979, when Kennedy decided to run, polls showed him with a 2-to-1 advantage over Carter, and Carter's approval rating slipped to 19 percent. Kennedy formally announced his campaign on November 7, 1979, at Boston's Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall , located near the waterfront and today's Government Center, in Boston, Massachusetts, has been a marketplace and a meeting hall since 1742. It was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others encouraging independence from Great Britain, and is now part of...

. He had already received substantial negative press from a rambling response to the question "Why do you want to be President?" during an interview with Roger Mudd of CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

 broadcast a few days earlier. The Iranian hostage crisis, which began on November 4, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which began on December 27, caused the electorate to rally around the president, allowed Carter to pursue a Rose Garden strategy of staying at the White House, and knocked Kennedy's campaign out of the headlines.

Kennedy's campaign staff was disorganized and Kennedy was initially an ineffective campaigner. The Chappaquiddick incident became a more significant factor than the staff expected, with several newspaper columnists and editorials criticizing Kennedy's answers on the matter. In the January 1980 Iowa caucuses that began the primaries season, Carter demolished Kennedy by a 59–31 percent margin. Kennedy's fundraising immediately dropped off and his campaign had to downsize, but he remained defiant, saying "[Now] we'll see who is going to whip whose what." Nevertheless, Kennedy lost three New England contests. Kennedy did form a more coherent message about why he was running, saying at Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

: "I believe we must not permit the dream of social progress to be shattered by those whose premises have failed." Continued concern about Chappaquiddick and Kennedy's personal character was preventing him from gaining support of many people who were disillusioned with Carter. In a key March 18 primary in Illinois, Chappaquiddick hurt Kennedy badly among Catholic voters; during a St. Patrick's Day Parade the day before, Kennedy had to wear a bullet-proof vest due to assassination threats as hecklers yelled "Where's Mary Jo?" at him. Carter crushed Kennedy on polling day, winning 155 of 169 delegates.

With little mathematical hope of winning the nomination and polls showing likely defeat in the New York primary, Kennedy prepared to withdraw from the race. But due in part to Jewish voter unhappiness with a U.S. vote at the United Nations against Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Kennedy staged an upset and won the March 25 vote by a 59–41 percent margin. Carter counterattacked by issuing ads that by implication criticized Kennedy on Chappaquiddick, but Kennedy still managed a narrow win in the April 22 Pennsylvania primary. Carter won 11 of 12 primaries held in May, while on the June 3 Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday
In the United States, Super Tuesday, in general, refers to the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party's presidential candidates are officially nominated...

 primaries, Kennedy won California, New Jersey, and three smaller states out of eight contests. Overall, Kennedy had won 10 presidential primaries against Carter, who won 24.

Although Carter now had enough delegates to clinch the nomination, Kennedy carried his campaign on to the 1980 Democratic National Convention
1980 Democratic National Convention
The 1980 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party nominated President Jimmy Carter for President and Vice President Walter Mondale for Vice President...

 in August in New York, hoping to pass a rule there that would free delegates from being bound by primary results and open the convention. This move failed on the first night of the convention, and Kennedy withdrew. On the second night, August 12, Kennedy delivered the most famous speech of his career. Drawing on allusions to and quotes of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Alfred Lord Tennyson to say that American liberalism was not passé, he concluded with the words:

The Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the...

 audience reacted with wild applause and demonstrations for half an hour. On the final night, however, Kennedy arrived late after Carter's acceptance speech, and while he shook Carter's hand, he failed to raise Carter's arm in the traditional show of party unity. Carter's difficulty in securing Kennedy supporters during the general election campaign was one of many causes that led to his defeat in November by Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

.

1980s

The 1980 election saw the Republicans capture not just the presidency but control of the Senate as well, and Kennedy was in the minority party for the first time in his career. Kennedy did not dwell upon his presidential loss, but instead reaffirmed his public commitment to American liberalism. He chose to become the ranking member of the Labor and Public Welfare Committee rather than of the Judiciary Committee, which he would later say was one of the most important decisions of his career. Kennedy became a committed champion of women's issues and of gay rights, and established relationships with select Republican senators to block Reagan's actions and preserve and improve the Voting Rights Act
Voting Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S....

, funding for AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 treatment, and equal funding for women's sports under Title IX
Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a United States law, enacted on June 23, 1972, that amended Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 2002 it was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, in honor of its principal author Congresswoman Mink, but is most...

. To combat being in the minority, he worked long hours and devised a series of hearings-like public forums to which he could invite experts and discuss topics important to him. Kennedy could not hope to stop all of Reagan's reshapings of government, but was often nearly the sole effective
Democrat battling him.

In January 1981, Ted and Joan Kennedy announced they were getting a divorce. The proceedings were generally amicable, and she received a reported $4 million settlement when the divorce was granted in 1982.

Kennedy easily defeated Republican businessman Ray Shamie
Ray Shamie
Raymond Shamie was an American politician from the state of Massachusetts. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he was twice a Massachusetts Republican nominee for the United States Senate, and served as the chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party from 1987 to 1991.In 1982, Shamie, a millionaire...

 to win re-election in 1982
United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 1982
The United States Senate election of 1982 in Massachusetts was held on November 2, 1982 with the incumbent Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy defeating his challengers.-Democratic:...

. Senate leaders granted him a seat on the Armed Services Committee, while allowing him to keep his other major seats despite the traditional limit of two such seats. Kennedy became very visible in opposing aspects of the foreign policy of the Reagan administration
Foreign policy of the Reagan administration
The foreign policy of the Ronald Reagan administration was the foreign policy of the United States from 1981 to 1989. It was characterized by a strategy of "peace through strength" followed by a warming of relations with the Soviet Union, and resulting in an end to the Cold War when Mikhail...

, including U.S. intervention in the Salvadoran Civil War and U.S. support for the Contras
Contras
The contras is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship...

 in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, and in opposing Reagan-supported weapons systems, including the B-1 bomber, the MX missile, and the Strategic Defense Initiative
Strategic Defense Initiative
The Strategic Defense Initiative was proposed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983 to use ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. The initiative focused on strategic defense rather than the prior strategic...

. Kennedy became the Senate's leading advocate for a nuclear freeze and was a critic of Reagan's confrontational policies toward the Soviet Union. A 1983 memorandum from KGB Chairman Viktor Chebrikov
Viktor Chebrikov
Viktor Mikhailovich Chebrikov ) was a Soviet Union public official and security administrator and head of the KGB from December 1982 to October 1988....

 to General Secretary Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

 noted this stance and asserted that Kennedy, through former Senator John Tunney's discussions with Soviet contacts, had suggested that U.S.-Soviet relations might be improved if Kennedy and Andropov could meet in person to discuss arms control issues and if top Soviet officials, via Kennedy's help, were able to address the American public through the U.S. news media. Andropov was unimpressed by the idea.

Kennedy's staff drew up detailed plans for a candidacy in the 1984 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1984
The United States presidential election of 1984 was a contest between the incumbent President Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate, and former Vice President Walter Mondale, the Democratic candidate. Reagan was helped by a strong economic recovery from the deep recession of 1981–1982...

 that he considered, but with his family opposed and his realization that the Senate was a fully satisfying career, in late 1982 he decided not to run. Kennedy campaigned hard for Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale
Walter Mondale
Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale is an American Democratic Party politician, who served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States , under President Jimmy Carter, and as a United States Senator for Minnesota...

 and defended vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro
Geraldine Ferraro
Geraldine Anne Ferraro was an American attorney, a Democratic Party politician, and a member of the United States House of Representatives. She was the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major American political party....

 from criticism over being a pro-choice Catholic, but Reagan was re-elected in a landslide.

Kennedy staged a tiring, dangerous, and high-profile trip to South Africa in January 1985. He defied both the apartheid government's wishes and militant anti-white AZAPO demonstrators by spending a night in the Soweto
Soweto
Soweto is a lower-class-populated urban area of the city of Johannesburg in Gauteng, South Africa, bordering the city's mining belt in the south. Its name is an English syllabic abbreviation for South Western Townships...

 home of Bishop Desmond Tutu and also visited Winnie Mandela, wife of imprisoned black leader Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

. Upon returning, Kennedy became a leader in the push for economic sanctions against South Africa; collaborating with Senator Lowell Weicker, he secured Senate passage, and the overriding of Reagan's veto, of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. Despite their many political differences, Kennedy and Reagan had a good personal relationship, and with the administration's approval Kennedy traveled to the Soviet Union in 1986 to act as a go-between in arms control negotiations with reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

. The discussions were productive, and Kennedy also helped gain the release of a number of Soviet Jewish refuseniks
Refusenik
Refusenik originally referred to citizens of the former Soviet Union who were refused permission to emigrate.Refusenik or refusnik may also refer to:*An Israeli conscientious objector, see Refusal to serve in the Israeli military...

, including Anatoly Shcharansky.

Although Kennedy was an accomplished legislator, his personal life was troubled during this time. His weight fluctuated wildly, he drank heavily at times – although not when it would interfere with his Senate duties – and his cheeks became blotchy. Kennedy later acknowledged, "I went through a lot of difficult times over a period in my life where [drinking] may have been somewhat of a factor or force." He chased women frequently, and also was in a series of more serious romantic relationships but did not want to commit to anything long-term. He often caroused with fellow Senator Chris Dodd; twice in 1985 they were in drunken incidents in Washington restaurants, with one involving unwelcome physical contact with a waitress. In 1987 Kennedy and a young female lobbyist were surprised in the back room of a restaurant in a state of partial undress.

After again considering a candidacy for the 1988 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1988
The United States presidential election of 1988 featured no incumbent president, as President Ronald Reagan was unable to seek re-election after serving the maximum two terms allowed by the Twenty-second Amendment. Reagan's Vice President, George H. W. Bush, won the Republican nomination, while the...

, influenced by his personal difficulties and family concerns, and content with remaining in the Senate, in December 1985 Kennedy publicly cut short any talk that he might run. He added: "I know this decision means I may never be president. But the pursuit of the presidency is not my life. Public service is." Kennedy used his legislative skills to get passed the COBRA Act
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 is a law passed by the U.S. Congress on a reconciliation basis and signed by President Reagan that, among other things, mandates an insurance program giving some employees the ability to continue health insurance coverage after leaving...

, which extended employer-based health benefits after leaving a job. Following the 1986 congressional elections
United States Senate elections, 1986
The U.S. Senate election, 1986 was an election for the United States Senate in the middle of Ronald Reagan's second presidential term. As in most midterm elections, the opposition Democratic Party held the usual advantage...

, the Democrats regained control of the Senate and Kennedy became chair of the Labor and Public Welfare Committee. By now Kennedy had become what colleague Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

 termed "the best strategist in the Senate," who always knew when best to move legislation. Kennedy continued his close working relationship with ranking Republican Senator Orrin Hatch
Orrin Hatch
Orrin Grant Hatch is the senior United States Senator for Utah and is a member of the Republican Party. Hatch served as the chairman or ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1993 to 2005...

, and they were close allies on many health-related measures.

One of Kennedy's biggest battles in the Senate came with Reagan's July 1987 nomination
Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination
The Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination refers to the 1987 nomination by President Ronald Reagan of Judge Robert Bork to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The U.S. Senate rejected his nomination.-Nomination:...

 of Judge Robert Bork
Robert Bork
Robert Heron Bork is an American legal scholar who has advocated the judicial philosophy of originalism. Bork formerly served as Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit...

 to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kennedy saw a possible Bork appointment as leading to a dismantling of civil rights law that he had helped put into place, and feared Bork's originalist judicial philosophy. Kennedy's staff had researched Bork's writings and record, and within an hour of the nomination – which was initially expected to succeed – Kennedy went on the Senate floor to announce his opposition:

The incendiary rhetoric of what became known as the "Robert Bork's America" speech enraged Bork supporters, who considered it slanderous, and worried some Democrats as well. But the Reagan administration was unprepared for the assault, and the speech froze some Democrats from supporting the nomination and gave Kennedy and other Bork opponents time to prepare the case against him. When the September 1987 Judiciary Committee hearings began, Kennedy challenged Bork forcefully on civil rights, privacy, women's rights, and other issues. Bork's own demeanor hurt him, and the nomination was defeated both in committee and the full Senate. The tone of the Bork battle changed the way Washington worked – with controversial nominees or candidates now experiencing all-out war waged against them – and the ramifications of it were still being felt two decades later.

In the 1988 presidential election, Kennedy supported the eventual Democratic nominee, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis
Michael Dukakis
Michael Stanley Dukakis served as the 65th and 67th Governor of Massachusetts from 1975–1979 and from 1983–1991, and was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. He was born to Greek immigrants in Brookline, Massachusetts, also the birthplace of John F. Kennedy, and was the longest serving...

, from the start of the campaign. In the fall, Dukakis fell to George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, but Kennedy won re-election to the Senate
United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 1988
The United States Senate election of 1988 in Massachusetts was held on November 1, 1988. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy won re-election.-Democratic:...

 over Republican Joseph D. Malone
Joseph D. Malone
Joseph Daniel "Joe" Malone is an American businessman, former Treasurer and Receiver-General of Massachusetts, and a member of the Republican Party...

 in the easiest race of his career. Kennedy remained a powerful force in the Senate; after prolonged negotiations during 1989 with Bush chief of staff John H. Sununu
John H. Sununu
John Henry Sununu is a former Governor of New Hampshire and former White House Chief of Staff under President George H. W. Bush. He is the father of John E. Sununu, a former senator from New Hampshire, and formerly a U.S. Representative...

 and Attorney General Richard Thornburgh to secure Bush's approval, he directed passage of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a law that was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1990. It was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush, and later amended with changes effective January 1, 2009....

. Kennedy had personal interest in the bill due to his sister Rosemary's condition and his son's lost leg, and he considered its enactment one of the most important successes of his career. In the late 1980s Kennedy and Hatch staged a prolonged battle against Senator Jesse Helms
Jesse Helms
Jesse Alexander Helms, Jr. was a five-term Republican United States Senator from North Carolina who served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1995 to 2001...

 to provide funding to combat the AIDS epidemic and provide treatment for low-income people affected; this would culminate in passage of the Ryan White Care Act
Ryan White Care Act
The Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act was an Act of the U.S. Congress named in honor of Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who contracted AIDS through a tainted hemophilia treatment in 1984, and was expelled from school because of the disease...

. In late November 1989, Kennedy traveled to see first-hand the newly fallen Berlin Wall; he spoke at John-F.-Kennedy-Platz
John-F.-Kennedy-Platz
John-F.-Kennedy-Platz , formerly Rudolph-Wilde-Platz, in Berlin-Schöneberg is the square in front of the former city hall of West Berlin . It was here that US President John F. Kennedy gave his famous speech to the Berliners, in which he stated: "Ich bin ein Berliner"...

, site of the famous "Ich bin ein Berliner
Ich bin ein Berliner
"Ich bin ein Berliner" is a quotation from a June 26, 1963, speech by U.S. President John F. Kennedy in West Berlin. He was underlining the support of the United States for West Germany 22 months after the Soviet-supported East Germany erected the Berlin Wall as a barrier to prevent movement...

" speech in 1963, and said "Emotionally, I just wish my brother could have seen it."

Fall and rise

Kennedy's personal life came to dominate his image. In 1989 the European paparazzi
Paparazzi
Paparazzi is an Italian term used to refer to photojournalists who specialize in candid photography of celebrities, politicians, and other prominent people...

 stalked him on a vacation there and photographed him having sex on a motorboat. In February 1990, Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly (editor)
Michael Thomas Kelly was an American journalist, a columnist for The Washington Post, and an editor at The New Republic, National Journal, and The Atlantic. He came to prominence via his reporting on the first Gulf War, but suffered professional embarrassment for his role in the Stephen Glass...

 published his long, thorough profile "Ted Kennedy on the Rocks" in GQ magazine. It captured Kennedy as "an aging Irish boyo clutching a bottle and diddling a blonde," portrayed him as an out-of-control Regency
English Regency
The Regency era in the United Kingdom is the period between 1811—when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, the Prince of Wales, ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent—and 1820, when the Prince Regent became George IV on the death of his father....

 rake
Rake (character)
A rake, short for rakehell, is a historic term applied to a man who is habituated to immoral conduct, frequently a heartless womanizer. Often a rake was a man who wasted his fortune on gambling, wine, women and song, incurring lavish debts in the process...

, and brought his behavior to the forefront of public attention. The death from cancer of brother-in-law Stephen Edward Smith
Stephen Edward Smith
Stephen Edward Smith was the husband of Jean Ann Kennedy. He was a financial analyst and political strategist in the 1960 United States Presidential campaign of his brother-in-law, John F. Kennedy.-Biography:...

 in August 1990 left Kennedy emotionally bereft at the loss of a close family member and troubleshooter. Kennedy pushed on, but even his legislative successes, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1991
Civil Rights Act of 1991
The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is a United States statute that was passed in response to a series of United States Supreme Court decisions which limited the rights of employees who had sued their employers for discrimination...

, which expanded employee rights in discrimination cases, came at the cost of being criticized for compromising with Republicans and Southern Democrats.

On Easter weekend 1991, Kennedy was at a get-together at the family's Palm Beach, Florida
Palm Beach, Florida
The Town of Palm Beach is an incorporated town in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The Intracoastal Waterway separates it from the neighboring cities of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth...

 estate when, restless and maudlin after reminiscing about his brother-in-law, he left for a late-night visit to a local bar, getting his son Patrick
Patrick J. Kennedy
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 1995 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes all of Bristol County and Newport County, and parts of Providence County. Kennedy did not seek re-election in 2010.A member of the Kennedy...

 and nephew William Kennedy Smith
William Kennedy Smith
William Kennedy Smith is an American physician whose work focuses on landmines and the rehabilitation of people disabled by them....

 to accompany him. Patrick Kennedy and Smith returned with women they met there, Michelle Cassone and Patricia Bowman. Cassone said that Ted Kennedy subsequently walked in on her and Patrick, dressed only in a nightshirt and with a weird look on his face. Smith and Bowman went out on the beach, where they had sex that he said was consensual and she said was rape. The local police made a delayed investigation; soon Kennedy sources were feeding the press with negative information about Bowman's background and several mainstream newspapers broke a taboo by publishing her name. The case quickly became a media frenzy. While not directly implicated in the case, Kennedy became the frequent butt of jokes on The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show is an American late-night talk show that has aired on NBC since 1954. It is the longest currently running regularly scheduled entertainment program in the United States, and the third longest-running show on NBC, after Meet the Press and Today.The Tonight Show has been hosted by...

 and other late-night television programs. Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine said Kennedy was being perceived as a "Palm Beach boozer, lout and tabloid grotesque" while Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

 said Kennedy was "the living symbol of the family flaws."

Along with Bork, the other most contentious Supreme Court nomination in United States history has been the one for Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Succeeding Thurgood Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to serve on the Court....

. When the Thomas hearings began
Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination
On July 1, 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court of the United States to replace Thurgood Marshall, who had announced his retirement...

 in September 1991, Kennedy pressed Thomas on his unwillingness to express an opinion about Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade, , was a controversial landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion,...

, but the nomination appeared headed for success. But when the sexual harassment charges by Anita Hill
Anita Hill
Anita Faye Hill is an American attorney and academic—presently a professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She became a national figure in 1991 when she alleged that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had...

 broke the following month, and the nomination battle dominated public discourse, Kennedy was hamstrung by his past reputation and the ongoing developments in the William Kennedy Smith case. He said almost nothing until the third day of the Thomas–Hill hearings, and when he did it was criticized by Hill supporters for being too little, too late.

Biographer Adam Clymer
Adam Clymer
Adam Clymer is an American journalist.-Career:He was with The New York Times from 1977 until July, 2003, and served as its national political correspondent for the 1980 presidential election, polling editor from 1983 to 1990, political editor for George H. W...

 rates Kennedy's silence during the Thomas hearings as the worst moment of his Senate career. Writer Anna Quindlen
Anna Quindlen
Anna Marie Quindlen is an American author, journalist, and opinion columnist whose New York Times column, Public and Private, won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1992. She began her journalism career in 1974 as a reporter for the New York Post...

 said "[Kennedy] let us down because he had to; he was muzzled by the facts of his life." On the day before the full Senate vote, Kennedy gave an impassioned speech against Thomas, declaring that the treatment of Hill had been "shameful" and that "[t]o give the benefit of the doubt to Judge Thomas is to say that Judge Thomas is more important than the Supreme Court." He then voted against the nomination. Thomas was confirmed by a 52–48 margin, the narrowest ever for a successful nomination.

Due to the Palm Beach media attention and the Thomas hearings, Kennedy's public image suffered. A Gallup Poll gave Kennedy a very low 22 percent national approval rating. A Boston Herald
Boston Herald
The Boston Herald is a daily newspaper that serves Boston, Massachusetts, United States, and its surrounding area. It was started in 1846 and is one of the oldest daily newspapers in the United States...

/WCVB-TV
WCVB-TV
WCVB-TV, channel 5, is a television station located in Boston, Massachusetts, owned by Hearst Television and affiliated with the ABC Television Network. WCVB-TV's studios and transmitter are co-located in Needham, Massachusetts. WCVB is also one of six Boston television stations seen in Canada by...

 poll found that 62 percent of Massachusetts citizens thought Kennedy should not run for reelection, by a 2-to-1 margin thought Kennedy has misled authorities in the Palm Beach investigation, and had Kennedy losing a hypothetical Senate race to Governor William Weld
William Weld
William Floyd Weld is a former governor of the US state of Massachusetts. He served as that state's 68th governor from 1991 to 1997. From 1981 to 1988, he was a federal prosecutor in the United States Justice Department...

 by 25 points.
Meanwhile, at a June 17, 1991 dinner party, Kennedy saw Victoria Anne Reggie
Victoria Reggie Kennedy
Victoria Reggie "Vicki" Kennedy is an American lawyer and the widow of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy.-Early life and education:...

, a Washington lawyer at Keck, Mahin & Cate
Keck, Mahin & Cate
Keck, Mahin & Cate was a law firm based in Chicago, Illinois that was founded in 1886 and stopped operations in 1997.The firm worked in general practice, banking and bankruptcy law, corporate finances, mergers and acquisitions, and the like. By 1985, it employed 95 lawyers.The firm had branches in...

, a divorced mother of two, and the daughter of an old Kennedy family ally, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 judge Edmund Reggie
Edmund Reggie
Edmund M. Reggie, Sr. , is a Democratic politician and former city judge from Louisiana. Reggie is originally from the rice-growing city of Crowley, the seat of Acadia Parish, but resides in Lafayette. He still claims that he maintains the record of being the youngest person to serve as a judge in...

. They began dating and by September were in a serious relationship. In a late October speech at the John F. Kennedy School of Government
John F. Kennedy School of Government
The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University is a public policy and public administration school, and one of Harvard's graduate and professional schools...

, Kennedy sought to begin a political recovery, saying: "I am painfully aware that the criticism directed at me in recent months involves far more than disagreements with my positions ... [It] involves the disappointment of friends and many others who rely on me to fight the good fight. To them I say, I recognize my own shortcomings — the faults in the conduct of my private life. I realize that I alone am responsible for them, and I am the one who must confront them." In December 1991, the William Kennedy Smith rape trial was held; it was nationally televised and the most watched until the O. J. Simpson murder case
O. J. Simpson murder case
The O. J. Simpson murder case was a criminal trial held in Los Angeles County, California Superior Court from January 29 to October 3, 1995. Former American football star and actor O. J...

 several years later. Kennedy's testimony at the trial seemed relaxed, confident, and forthcoming, and helped convince the public that his involvement had been peripheral and unintended. Smith was acquitted.

Kennedy and Reggie continued their relationship and he was devoted to her two children, Curran and Caroline. They became engaged in March 1992, and were married by Judge A. David Mazzone
A. David Mazzone
A. David Mazzone was a lawyer, Massachusetts assistant districtattorney, assistant United States attorney, Massachusetts Superior court judge...

 on July 3, 1992, in a civil ceremony at Kennedy's home in McLean, Virginia
McLean, Virginia
McLean is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia. The community had a total population of 48,115 as of the 2010 census....

. She would gain credit with stabilizing his personal life and helping him resume a productive career in the Senate.

With no presidential ambitions left, Kennedy formed a good relationship with Democratic President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 upon the latter taking office in 1993, despite his having initially backed former fellow Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas
Paul Tsongas
Paul Efthemios Tsongas was a United States Senator from Massachusetts from 1979 to 1985. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 1992 presidential election. He previously served as a U.S...

 in the 1992 Democratic presidential primaries
Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 1992
The 1992 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1992 U.S. presidential election...

. Kennedy floor managed successful passage of Clinton's National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 that created the AmeriCorps
AmeriCorps
AmeriCorps is a U.S. federal government program that was created under President Bill Clinton by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 and later expanded by 50 percent under President George W. Bush...

 program, and despite reservations supported the president on the North American Free Trade Agreement
North American Free Trade Agreement
The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement...

 (NAFTA). On the issue Kennedy cared most about, national health insurance, he supported but was not much involved in formation of the Clinton health care plan, which was run by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

 and others. It failed badly and damaged the prospects for such legislation for years to come. In 1994, Kennedy's strong recommendation of his former Judiciary Committee staffer Stephen Breyer
Stephen Breyer
Stephen Gerald Breyer is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, and known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law, Breyer is generally associated with the more liberal side of the Court....

 played a role in Clinton appointing Breyer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the 1994 U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts
United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 1994
The 1994 United States Senate election in Massachusetts was held on November 8, 1994. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy won re-election.- Candidates :* Mitt Romney, CEO of Bain Capital and son of former Michigan Governor George W...

, Kennedy faced his first serious challenger, the young, telegenic, and very well-funded Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney
Willard Mitt Romney is an American businessman and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.The son of George W...

. 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. By mid-September 1994, polls showed the race to be even. Kennedy's campaign ran short on money, and belying his image as endlessly wealthy, he was forced to take out a second mortgage
Second mortgage
A second mortgage typically refers to a secured loan that is subordinate to another loan against the same property.In real estate, a property can have multiple loans or liens against it. The loan which is registered with county or city registry first is called the first mortgage or first position...

 on his Virginia home. Kennedy responded with a series of attack ad
Attack ad
In political campaigns, an attack ad is an advertisement whose message is meant as a personal attack against another candidate or political party...

s, which focused both on Romney's shifting political views and on the treatment of workers at a paper products plant owned by Romney's Bain Capital
Bain Capital
Bain Capital LLC is a Boston-based private equity firm founded in 1984 by partners from the consulting firm Bain & Company. Originally conceived as an early-stage, growth-oriented investment fund, Bain Capital today manages approximately $65 billion in assets, and its strategies include private...

. Kennedy's new wife Vicki proved to be a strong asset in campaigning. Kennedy and Romney held a widely watched late October debate without a clear winner, but by then Kennedy had pulled ahead in polls and stayed ahead afterward. In the November election, despite a very bad outcome for the Democratic Party nationally
Republican Revolution
The Republican Revolution or Revolution of '94 is what the media dubbed Republican Party success in the 1994 U.S. midterm elections, which resulted in a net gain of 54 seats in the House of Representatives, and a pickup of eight seats in the Senate...

, Kennedy won re-election by a 58 percent to 41 percent margin, the closest re-election race of his career.

Kennedy's mother Rose died in January 1995. Kennedy intensified practice of his Catholicism from then on, often attending Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 several times a week.

Carrying on

Kennedy's role as a liberal lion in the Senate came to the fore in 1995, when the Republican Revolution
Republican Revolution
The Republican Revolution or Revolution of '94 is what the media dubbed Republican Party success in the 1994 U.S. midterm elections, which resulted in a net gain of 54 seats in the House of Representatives, and a pickup of eight seats in the Senate...

 took control and legislation intending to fulfill the Contract with America
Contract with America
The Contract with America was a document released by the United States Republican Party during the 1994 Congressional election campaign. Written by Larry Hunter, who was aided by Newt Gingrich, Robert Walker, Richard Armey, Bill Paxon, Tom DeLay, John Boehner and Jim Nussle, and in part using text...

 was coming from Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich
Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich is a U.S. Republican Party politician who served as the House Minority Whip from 1989 to 1995 and as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999....

's House of Representatives. Many Democrats in the Senate and the country overall were depressed, but Kennedy rallied forces to combat the Republicans. By the beginning of 1996, the Republicans had overreached; most of the Contract had failed to pass the Senate; and the Democrats could once again move forward with legislation, almost all of it coming out of Kennedy's staff.

In 1996, Kennedy secured an increase in the minimum wage law
Minimum wage in the United States
, the federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour. Some states and municipalities have set minimum wages higher than the federal level , with the highest state minimum wage being $8.67 in Washington. Some U.S. territories are exempt...

, a favorite issue of his; there would not be another increase for ten years. Following the failure of the Clinton health care plan, Kennedy went against his past strategy and sought incremental measures instead. Kennedy worked with Republican Senator Nancy Kassebaum to create and pass the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. It was originally sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy and Sen. Nancy Kassebaum . Title I of HIPAA protects health insurance coverage for workers and their...

 in 1996, which set new marks for portability of insurance and confidentiality of records. The same year, Kennedy's Mental Health Parity Act
Mental Health Parity Act
The Mental Health Parity Act is legislation signed into United States law on September 26, 1996 that requires that annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health benefits be no lower than any such dollar limits for medical and surgical benefits offered by a group health plan or health insurance...

 forced insurance companies to treat mental health payments the same as others with respect to limits reached. In 1997, Kennedy was the prime mover behind the State Children's Health Insurance Program
State Children's Health Insurance Program
The State Children's Health Insurance Program – later known more simply as the Children's Health Insurance Program – is a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children...

, which used increased tobacco taxes to fund the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded health insurance coverage for children in the U.S. since Medicaid
Medicaid
Medicaid is the United States health program for certain people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states. People served by Medicaid are U.S. citizens or legal permanent...

 began in the 1960s. Senator Hatch and First Lady
First Lady of the United States
First Lady of the United States is the title of the hostess of the White House. Because this position is traditionally filled by the wife of the president of the United States, the title is most often applied to the wife of a sitting president. The current first lady is Michelle Obama.-Current:The...

 Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

 also played major roles in SCHIP passing.

Kennedy was a stalwart backer of President Clinton during the 1998 Lewinsky scandal
Lewinsky scandal
The Lewinsky scandal was a political sex scandal emerging in 1998 from a sexual relationship between United States President Bill Clinton and a 25-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. The news of this extra-marital affair and the resulting investigation eventually led to the impeachment of...

, often trying to cheer up the president when he was gloomiest and getting him to add past Kennedy staffer Greg Craig
Greg Craig
Gregory Bestor "Greg" Craig is a Washington-based lawyer and former White House Counsel under President Barack Obama. He has represented numerous high-profile clients, including John W. Hinckley, Jr., who was acquitted of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan by reason of insanity, and, in...

 to his defense team, which helped improve the president's fortunes. In the trial after the 1999 Impeachment of Bill Clinton
Impeachment of Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, President of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice on December 19, 1998, but acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of...

, Kennedy voted to acquit Clinton on both charges, saying "Republicans in the House of Representatives, in their partisan vendetta against the President, have wielded the impeachment power in precisely the way the framers rejected, recklessly and without regard for the Constitution or the will of the American people."

On July 16, 1999, tragedy struck the Kennedy family again when a Piper Saratoga light aircraft crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha's Vineyard
Martha's Vineyard
Martha's Vineyard is an island located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, known for being an affluent summer colony....

. The accident killed its pilot John F. Kennedy, Jr.
John F. Kennedy, Jr.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr. , often referred to as John F. Kennedy, Jr., JFK Jr., John Jr. or John-John, was an American socialite, magazine publisher, lawyer, and pilot. The elder son of U.S. President John F...

, and also his wife
Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy
Carolyn Jeanne Bessette-Kennedy was the wife of John F. Kennedy, Jr., the son of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.-Early life:...

 and sister-in-law. As patriarch, Ted consoled his extended family along with President Clinton at the public memorial service. He paraphrased William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms...

 by saying of his nephew: "We dared to think, in that other Irish phrase, that this John Kennedy would live to comb gray hair, with his beloved Carolyn by his side. But like his father, he had every gift but length of years." Ted now served as a role model for Maria Shriver
Maria Shriver
Maria Owings Shriver is an American journalist and author of six best-selling books. She has received a Peabody Award, and was co-anchor for NBC's Emmy-winning coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics. As executive producer of The Alzheimer's Project, Shriver earned two Emmy Awards and an Academy of...

, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Robert Francis Kennedy, Jr. is an American radio host, activist, and attorney specializing in environmental law. He is the third of eleven children born to Ethel Skakel Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and is the nephew of John F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy...

, Joseph Patrick Kennedy II
Joseph Patrick Kennedy II
Joseph Patrick Kennedy II is an American businessman and Democratic politician.He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the 8th congressional district of Massachusetts from 1987 to 1999. In 1979 he founded and led until election to the U.S...

, and other family members. The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe is an American daily newspaper based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe has been owned by The New York Times Company since 1993...

 wrote of the changed role: "It underscored the evolution that surprised so many people who knew the Kennedys: Teddy, the baby of the family, who had grown into a man who could sometimes be dissolute and reckless, had become the steady, indispensable patriarch, the one the family turned to in good times and bad."

2000s

Kennedy had an easy time with his re-election to the Senate in 2000
United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 2000
The 2000 United States Senate election in Massachusetts was held on November 7, 2000. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy won re-election to a sixth full term.-Democratic:* Ted Kennedy, incumbent U.S. Senator first elected in 1962-Republican:...

, as Republican lawyer and entrepreneur Jack E. Robinson III
Jack E. Robinson III
Jack E. Robinson III is an African-American Republican politician from Massachusetts. He ran for the United States Senate in 2000 against Ted Kennedy and Carla Howell , losing to Kennedy. He ran for Secretary of the Commonwealth in 2002 losing to William F...

 was sufficiently damaged by his past personal record that Republican state party officials refused to endorse him. Kennedy got 73 percent of the general election vote, with Robinson splitting the rest with Libertarian Carla Howell
Carla Howell
Carla A. Howell is an American political activist and small government advocate. She is President of the Center For Small Government. She is most known for organizing tax cut initiative petitions, called ballot measures in other states...

. During the long, disputed post-presidential election battle in Florida in 2000
United States presidential election in Florida, 2000
The 2000 United States presidential election in Florida took place on November 7, 2000 as it did in the other 49 states and D.C., which was part of the 2000 United States presidential election...

, Kennedy supported Vice President Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

's legal actions. After the bitter contest was over, many Democrats in Congress did not want to work with incoming President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. Kennedy, however, saw Bush as genuinely interested in a major overhaul of elementary and secondary education, Bush saw Kennedy as a potential major ally in the Senate, and the two partnered together on the legislation. Kennedy accepted provisions governing mandatory student testing and teacher accountability that other Democrats and the National Education Association
National Education Association
The National Education Association is the largest professional organization and largest labor union in the United States, representing public school teachers and other support personnel, faculty and staffers at colleges and universities, retired educators, and college students preparing to become...

 did not like, in return for increased funding levels for education. The No Child Left Behind Act
No Child Left Behind Act
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a United States Act of Congress concerning the education of children in public schools.NCLB was originally proposed by the administration of George W. Bush immediately after he took office...

 was passed by Congress in May and June 2001 and signed into law by Bush in January 2002. Kennedy soon became disenchanted with the implementation of the act, however, saying for 2003 that it was $9 billion short of the $29 billion authorized. Kennedy said, "The tragedy is that these long overdue reforms are finally in place, but the funds are not," and accused Bush of not living up to his personal word on the matter. Other Democrats concluded that Kennedy's penchant for cross-party deals had gotten the better of him. The White House defended its spending levels given the context of two wars going on.

Kennedy was in his Senate offices meeting with First Lady Laura Bush
Laura Bush
Laura Lane Welch Bush is the wife of the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush. She was the First Lady of the United States from January 20, 2001, to January 20, 2009. She has held a love of books and reading since childhood and her life and education have reflected that interest...

 when the September 11, 2001, attacks took place. Two of the airplanes involved had taken off from Boston, and in the following weeks, Kennedy telephoned each of the 177 Massachusetts families who had lost members in the attacks. He pushed through legislation that provided healthcare and grief counseling benefits for the families, and recommended the appointment of his former chief of staff Kenneth Feinberg
Kenneth Feinberg
Kenneth Feinberg is an American attorney, specializing in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. Feinberg was appointed Special Master of the U.S...

 as Special Master of the government's September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was created by an Act of Congress, the AirTransportation Safety and System Stabilization Act , shortly after 9/11 to compensate the victims of the attack in exchange for their agreement not to sue the airline corporations involved...

. Kennedy maintained an ongoing bond with the Massachusetts 9/11 families in subsequent years.

In reaction to the attacks, Kennedy was a supporter of the American-led 2001 overthrow
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 of the Taliban government in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. However, Kennedy strongly opposed the Iraq War from the start, and was one of 23 senators voting against the Iraq War Resolution in October 2002. As the Iraqi insurgency
Iraqi insurgency
The Iraqi Resistance is composed of a diverse mix of militias, foreign fighters, all-Iraqi units or mixtures opposing the United States-led multinational force in Iraq and the post-2003 Iraqi government...

 grew in subsequent years, Kennedy pronounced that the conflict was "Bush's Vietnam." In response to losses of Massachusetts service personnel to roadside bombs, Kennedy became vocal on the issue of Humvee vulnerability, and co-sponsored enacted 2005 legislation that sped up production and Army procurement of up-armored Humvees.

Despite the strained relationship between Kennedy and Bush over No Child Left Behind spending, the two attempted to work together again on extending Medicare
Medicare (United States)
Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over; to those who are under 65 and are permanently physically disabled or who have a congenital physical disability; or to those who meet other...

 to cover prescription drug benefits. Kennedy's strategy was again doubted by other Democrats, but he saw the proposed $400 billion program as an opportunity that should not be missed. However, when the final formulation of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act
Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act
The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act is a federal law of the United States, enacted in 2003. It produced the largest overhaul of Medicare in the public health program's 38-year history.The MMA was signed by President George W...

 contained provisions to steer seniors towards private plans, Kennedy switched to opposing it. It passed in late 2003, and led Kennedy to again say he had been betrayed by the Bush administration.

In the 2004 Democratic Party presidential primaries
Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2004
The 2004 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 U.S. presidential election...

, Kennedy campaigned heavily for fellow Massachusetts Senator John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

. and lent his chief of staff, Mary Beth Cahill
Mary Beth Cahill
Mary Beth Cahill is an American political figure, who served as the campaign manager of Senator John Kerry's campaign for the Democratic nomination for President...

, to the Kerry campaign. Kennedy's appeal was effective among blue collar and minority voters, and helped Kerry stage a come-from-behind win in the Iowa caucuses that propelled him on to the Democratic nomination.

After Bush won a second term in the 2004 general election
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

, Kennedy continued to oppose him on Iraq and many other issues. However, Kennedy sought to partner with Republicans again on the matter of immigration reform
Immigration reform
Immigration reform is a term used in political discussion regarding changes to current immigration policy of a country. In its strict definition, "reform " means to change into an improved form or condition, by amending or removing faults or abuses....

 in the context of the ongoing United States immigration debate. 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
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 on the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act
Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act
Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act was an immigration reform bill introduced in the United States Senate on May 12, 2005 by Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy...

. The "McCain-Kennedy bill" did not reach a Senate vote, but provided a template for further attempts at dealing comprehensively with legalization, guest worker program
Guest worker program
The Guest Worker Program is a program that has been proposed many times, including by U.S. President George W. Bush's administration as a way to permit U.S. employers to sponsor non-U.S. citizens as laborers for approximately three years, to be deported afterwards if they have not yet obtained a...

s, and border enforcement components. Kennedy returned again with the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, or, in its full name, the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 was a bill discussed in the 110th United States Congress that would have provided legal status and a path to citizenship for the approximately 12 to...

, which was sponsored by an ideologically diverse, bipartisan group of senators and having strong support from the Bush administration. The bill aroused furious grassroots opposition among talk radio
Talk radio
Talk radio is a radio format containing discussion about topical issues. Most shows are regularly hosted by a single individual, and often feature interviews with a number of different guests. Talk radio typically includes an element of listener participation, usually by broadcasting live...

 listeners and others as an "amnesty" program, and despite Kennedy's last-minute attempts to salvage it, failed a cloture vote in the Senate. Kennedy was philosophical about the defeat, saying that often took several attempts across multiple Congresses for this type of legislation to build enough momentum for passage.

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.

Kennedy again easily won re-election to the Senate in 2006
United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 2006
The 2006 United States Senate election in Massachusetts was held on November 7, 2006 with the incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy winning over little-known Republican challenger Kenneth Chase. Kennedy captured every county in the state, winning at least 62% in each region...

, winning 69 percent of the vote against Republican language school owner Kenneth Chase, who suffered from very poor name recognition.

Illness and a new president


Kennedy initially stated that he would support John Kerry again should he run for president in 2008, but in January 2007, Kerry said he would not. Kennedy then remained neutral as the 2008 Democratic nomination battle
Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
The 2008 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election...

 between Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

 and Senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 intensified, as his friend Chris Dodd was also running. After the initial caucuses and primaries had been split between the two and Dodd had withdrawn, Kennedy became dissatisfied with the tone of the Clinton campaign and what he saw as racially tinged remarks by Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

. Kennedy gave an endorsement to Obama on January 28, 2008, despite appeals by both Clintons not to do so. In a move that was seen as a symbolic passing of the torch, Kennedy said that it was "time again for a new generation of leadership," and compared Obama's ability to inspire with that of his fallen brothers. In return Kennedy gained a commitment from Obama to make universal health care a top priority of his administration if elected. Kennedy's endorsement was considered among the most influential that any Democrat could get, and raised the possibility of improving Obama's vote-getting among unions, Hispanics, and traditional base Democrats. It dominated the political news, and gave national exposure to a candidate who was still not well known in much of the country, as the Super Tuesday primaries
Super Tuesday, 2008
Super Tuesday 2008, Super Duper Tuesday, Mega Tuesday, Giga Tuesday, Tsunami Tuesday, and The Tuesday of Destiny are names for February 5, 2008, the day on which the largest simultaneous number of state U.S. presidential primary elections in the history of U.S. primaries were held...

 across the nation approached.

On May 17, 2008, Kennedy suffered a seizure
Seizure
An epileptic seizure, occasionally referred to as a fit, is defined as a transient symptom of "abnormal excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain". The outward effect can be as dramatic as a wild thrashing movement or as mild as a brief loss of awareness...

, and then another one as he was rushed from the Kennedy Compound
Kennedy Compound
The Kennedy Compound or Hyannis Port Historic District is the name given to six acres of waterfront property on Cape Cod along Nantucket Sound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, United States....

 to Cape Cod Hospital
Cape Cod Hospital
Cape Cod Hospital is a not-for-profit regional medical center located in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Founded in 1920, as of 2011 it is the largest hospital on Cape Cod. The current administration is headed by CEO Michael K. Lauf....

 and then by helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital is a teaching hospital and biomedical research facility in the West End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts...

 in Boston. Within days, doctors announced that Kennedy had a malignant
Malignant
Malignancy is the tendency of a medical condition, especially tumors, to become progressively worse and to potentially result in death. Malignancy in cancers is characterized by anaplasia, invasiveness, and metastasis...

 glioma
Glioma
A glioma is a type of tumor that starts in the brain or spine. It is called a glioma because it arises from glial cells. The most common site of gliomas is the brain.-By type of cell:...

, a type of cancerous brain tumor
Brain tumor
A brain tumor is an intracranial solid neoplasm, a tumor within the brain or the central spinal canal.Brain tumors include all tumors inside the cranium or in the central spinal canal...

. The grim diagnosis brought reactions of shock and prayer from many senators of both parties and from President Bush.

Doctors initially told Kennedy the tumor was inoperable, but he looked around for other opinions and decided on the most aggressive and exhausting course of treatment possible. On June 2, 2008, Kennedy underwent brain surgery at Duke University Medical Center
Duke University Hospital
Duke University Medical Center is a 924-bed academic tertiary care facility located in Durham, North Carolina. Since its establishment in 1930, the hospital has grown from a small regional hospital to an academic medical center...

 in an attempt to remove as much of the tumor as possible. The 3½-hour operation, conducted by Dr. Allan Friedman
Allan Friedman
Allan Howard Friedman is the Guy L. Odom Professor of Neurological Surgery at Duke University Medical Center, specializing in tumor and vascular neurosurgery. He has been on the Duke faculty since 1981....

 while Kennedy was conscious to minimize any permanent neurological effects, was deemed successful in its goals. Kennedy left the hospital a week later to begin a course of chemotherapy
Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with an antineoplastic drug or with a combination of such drugs into a standardized treatment regimen....

 and radiation treatment. Opinions varied regarding Kennedy's prognosis: the surgery typically only extended survival time by a matter of months, but sometimes people lived for years.

The operation and follow-up treatments left Kennedy thinner, prone to seizures, weak and short on energy, and hurt his balance.
Kennedy made his first post-illness public appearance on July 9, when he surprised the Senate by showing up to supply the added vote to break a Republican filibuster against a bill to preserve Medicare
Medicare (United States)
Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over; to those who are under 65 and are permanently physically disabled or who have a congenital physical disability; or to those who meet other...

 fees for doctors. Though additionally ill from an attack of kidney stone
Kidney stone
A kidney stone, also known as a renal calculus is a solid concretion or crystal aggregation formed in the kidneys from dietary minerals in the urine...

s and against the advice of some associates, Kennedy insisted on appearing during the first night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention
2008 Democratic National Convention
The United States 2008 Democratic National Convention was a quadrennial presidential nominating convention of the Democratic Party where it adopted its national platform and officially nominated its candidates for President and Vice President of the United States. The convention was held in Denver,...

 on August 25, 2008, where a video tribute to him was played. Introduced by his niece, Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Bouvier Kennedy is an American author and attorney. She is a member of the influential Kennedy family and the only surviving child of U.S. President John F...

, the senator said, "It is so wonderful to be here. Nothing – nothing – is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight." He then delivered a speech to the delegates (which he had to memorize, as his impaired vision left him unable to read a teleprompter) in which, reminiscent of his speech at the 1980 Democratic National Convention
1980 Democratic National Convention
The 1980 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party nominated President Jimmy Carter for President and Vice President Walter Mondale for Vice President...

, he said, "this November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans. So, with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on." The dramatic appearance and speech electrified the convention audience, as Kennedy vowed that he would be present to see Obama inaugurated.

On September 26, 2008, Kennedy suffered a mild seizure while at his home in Hyannis Port, for which he was examined and released from hospital on the same day. Doctors believed that a change in his medication triggered the seizure. Kennedy relocated to Florida for the winter, continuing his treatments, sailing a lot, and staying in touch with legislative matters via telephone. In his absence, many senators wore blue "Tedstrong" bracelets
Gel bracelet
Gel bracelets, or jelly bracelets are an inexpensive type of wristband. They come in a variety of colors, and several can be worn on each arm. They have been popular in waves throughout the Western world and elsewhere since the 1980s...

.

On January 20, 2009, Kennedy attended Barack Obama's presidential inauguration in Washington, but then suffered a seizure at the luncheon immediately afterwards. He was taken via wheelchair from the Capitol building and then by ambulance to Washington Hospital Center
Washington Hospital Center
Washington Hospital Center is the largest private hospital in Washington, D.C.. It serves as a teaching hospital for Georgetown University School of Medicine....

. The following morning, he was released from the hospital to his home in Washington, as doctors attributed the episode to "simple fatigue".
As the 111th Congress began, Kennedy dropped his spot on the Senate Judiciary Committee to focus all his attentions on health care issues, which he regarded as "the cause of my life". He saw the characteristics of the Obama administration and the Democratic majorities in Congress as representing the third and best great chance for universal health care, following the lost 1971 Nixon and 1993 Clinton opportunities, and as his last big legislative battle. Kennedy made another surprise appearance in the Senate to break a Republican filibuster against the Obama stimulus package. As spring arrived, Kennedy appeared on Capitol Hill more frequently, although staffers often did not announce his attendance at committee meetings until they were sure Kennedy was well enough to appear. On March 4, 2009, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown
James Gordon Brown is a British Labour Party politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. He previously served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007...

 announced that Kennedy had been granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 for his work in the Northern Ireland peace process
Northern Ireland peace process
The peace process, when discussing the history of Northern Ireland, is often considered to cover the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army ceasefire, the end of most of the violence of the Troubles, the Belfast Agreement, and subsequent political developments.-Towards a...

, and for his contribution to UK–US relations, although the move caused some controversy in the UK due to his connections with Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams is an Irish republican politician and Teachta Dála for the constituency of Louth. From 1983 to 1992 and from 1997 to 2011, he was an abstentionist Westminster Member of Parliament for Belfast West. He is the president of Sinn Féin, the second largest political party in Northern...

 of the Irish republican political party Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

. Later in March, a bill reauthorizing and expanding the AmeriCorps
AmeriCorps
AmeriCorps is a U.S. federal government program that was created under President Bill Clinton by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 and later expanded by 50 percent under President George W. Bush...

 program was renamed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act
The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act or Serve America Act was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on March 9, 2009, by Representative Carolyn McCarthy of New York. Originally titled the Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act , the bill reauthorizes and...

 by Senator Hatch in Kennedy's honor. Kennedy threw the ceremonial first pitch
Ceremonial first pitch
The ceremonial first ball is a longstanding ritual of American baseball in which a guest of honor throws a ball to mark the end of pregame festivities and the start of the game. Originally, the guest threw a ball from his/her place in the grandstand to the pitcher or catcher of the home team...

 at Fenway Park
Fenway Park
Fenway Park is a baseball park near Kenmore Square in Boston, Massachusetts. Located at 4 Yawkey Way, it has served as the home ballpark of the Boston Red Sox baseball club since it opened in 1912, and is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium currently in use. It is one of two "classic"...

 before the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

 season opener in April, echoing what his grandfather "Honey Fitz" – a member of the Royal Rooters
Royal Rooters
The original Royal Rooters were a fan club for the Boston Red Sox in the early 20th century. They were led by Michael T. McGreevy, who owned a Boston saloon called "3rd Base". While M.T. "Nuf Ced" McGreevy was certainly the spiritual leader of the Royal Rooters, Boston Mayor John F. Fitzgerald,...

 – had done to open the park in 1912. Even when his illness prevented him from being a major factor in health plan deliberations, his symbolic presence still made him one of the key senators involved.

However, by spring 2009, Kennedy's tumor had spread and treatments clearly were not going to cure it, although this was not disclosed publicly. By June 2009 Kennedy had not cast a Senate vote in three months, and his health had forced him to retreat to Massachusetts where he was undergoing another round of chemotherapy. In his absence, premature release of his health committee's expansive plan resulted in a poor public reception. Kennedy's friend Chris Dodd had taken over his role on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, but Republican senators and other observers said that the lack of Kennedy's physical presence had resulted in less consultation with them and was making successful negotiation more difficult. Democrats also missed Kennedy's ability to smooth divisions on the health proposals. Kennedy did cut a television commercial for Dodd, who was struggling early on in his 2010 re-election bid
United States Senate election in Connecticut, 2010
The 2010 United States Senate election in Connecticut was a midterm election which took place on November 2, 2010 to decide a Class III Senator from the State of Connecticut to join the 112th United States Congress. Incumbent Democratic U.S...

. In July, HBO began showing a documentary tribute to Kennedy's life, Teddy: In His Own Words. A health care reform bill was voted out of the committee with content Kennedy favored, but still faced a long, difficult process before having a chance at becoming law. At the end of July 2009, Kennedy was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

. He could not attend the ceremony to receive this medal, and attended a private service but not the public funeral when his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, DSG a member of the Kennedy family, sister to President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Edward Kennedy, was the founder in 1962 of Camp Shriver, and in 1968, the Special Olympics...

 died in mid-August. By the end, Kennedy was in a wheelchair and had difficulty speaking, but consistently said that "I've had a wonderful life."

Death

Kennedy died of brain cancer on Tuesday, August 25, 2009, at his home in Hyannis Port, two weeks after the death of his sister Eunice
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, DSG a member of the Kennedy family, sister to President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Edward Kennedy, was the founder in 1962 of Camp Shriver, and in 1968, the Special Olympics...

. He was survived by his wife Victoria, his sister Jean Kennedy Smith
Jean Kennedy Smith
Jean Ann Kennedy Smith is an American diplomat and a former United States Ambassador to Ireland. She is the eighth of nine children born to Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald and is their last surviving child. She is the sister of the 35th U.S. President, John F. Kennedy,...

, his three children, two stepchildren and four grandchildren. In a statement, Kennedy's family thanked "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".

Reaction

President Obama said that Kennedy's death marked the "passing of an extraordinary leader" and that he and First Lady Michelle Obama were "heartbroken" to learn of Kennedy's death, while Vice President Biden said "today we lost a truly remarkable man," and that Kennedy "changed the circumstances of tens of millions of Americans". Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney
Willard Mitt Romney is an American businessman and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.The son of George W...

, former Massachusetts Governor and Kennedy's opponent in the 1994 senate race, called Kennedy "the kind of man you could like even if he was your adversary" and former First Lady Nancy Reagan
Nancy Reagan
Nancy Davis Reagan is the widow of former United States President Ronald Reagan and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989....

 said she was "terribly saddened." She went on: "Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised how close Ronnie [Ronald Reagan] and I have been to the Kennedy family. ... I will miss him." Senator Robert Byrd
Robert Byrd
Robert Carlyle Byrd was a United States Senator from West Virginia. A member of the Democratic Party, Byrd served as a U.S. Representative from 1953 until 1959 and as a U.S. Senator from 1959 to 2010...

 of West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

, the President pro tempore of the Senate
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
The President pro tempore is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate. The United States Constitution states that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate and the highest-ranking official of the Senate despite not being a member of the body...

, issued a statement on Kennedy's death in which he said "My heart and soul weeps at the loss of my best friend in the Senate, my beloved friend, Ted Kennedy". (Byrd had broken down on the Senate floor and cried uncontrollably when Kennedy's cancer diagnosis was made public the previous year.) Upon his death, his sister Jean Kennedy Smith
Jean Kennedy Smith
Jean Ann Kennedy Smith is an American diplomat and a former United States Ambassador to Ireland. She is the eighth of nine children born to Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald and is their last surviving child. She is the sister of the 35th U.S. President, John F. Kennedy,...

 is the only surviving child of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Kennedy.

There were also tributes from outside politics as well, including a moment of peace in the fierce rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox as both teams observed a moment of silence. Flags at Fenway Park
Fenway Park
Fenway Park is a baseball park near Kenmore Square in Boston, Massachusetts. Located at 4 Yawkey Way, it has served as the home ballpark of the Boston Red Sox baseball club since it opened in 1912, and is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium currently in use. It is one of two "classic"...

 were flown at half-staff and "Taps
Taps
"Taps" is a musical piece sounded by the U.S. military nightly to indicate that it is "lights out". The tune is also sometimes known as "Butterfields Lullaby", or by the lyrics of its second verse, "Day is Done". It is also played during flag ceremonies and funerals, generally on bugle or trumpet...

" was performed as players stood along the baselines before a Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

 game. The Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

 observed a moment of silence for Kennedy before a game at Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium was a stadium located in The Bronx in New York City, New York. It was the home ballpark of the New York Yankees from 1923 to 1973 and from 1976 to 2008. The stadium hosted 6,581 Yankees regular season home games during its 85-year history. It was also the former home of the New York...

 as well.

Funeral services

Kennedy's body traveled a 70 miles (112.7 km) journey from the Kennedy Compound
Kennedy Compound
The Kennedy Compound or Hyannis Port Historic District is the name given to six acres of waterfront property on Cape Cod along Nantucket Sound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, United States....

 in Hyannis Port, past numerous landmarks named after his family, to the John F. Kennedy Library
John F. Kennedy Library
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is the presidential library and museum of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. It is located on Columbia Point in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, next to the Boston campus of the University of...

 in Boston, Massachusetts, where it lay in repose and where over 50,000 members of the public filed by to pay their respects. On Saturday, August 29, a procession traveled from the library to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Boston, for a funeral Mass. Present at the funeral service were President Obama and former Presidents Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 and George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 (also representing his father, former President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, who declined to attend), along with Vice President Biden, three former Vice Presidents, 58 senators, 21 former senators, many members of the House of Representatives, and several foreign dignitaries. President Obama delivered the eulogy
Eulogy
A eulogy is a speech or writing in praise of a person or thing, especially one recently deceased or retired. Eulogies may be given as part of funeral services. However, some denominations either discourage or do not permit eulogies at services to maintain respect for traditions...

.

The funeral service also drew celebrities and other notables from outside politics from Boston, Washington, and across the United States, including singers Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett is an American singer of popular music, standards, show tunes, and jazz....

 and Placido Domingo
Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo KBE , born José Plácido Domingo Embil, is a Spanish tenor and conductor known for his versatile and strong voice, possessing a ringing and dramatic tone throughout its range...

, actors Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
John Joseph "Jack" Nicholson is an American actor, film director, producer and writer. He is renowned for his often dark portrayals of neurotic characters. Nicholson has been nominated for an Academy Award twelve times, and has won the Academy Award for Best Actor twice: for One Flew Over the...

 and Brian Stokes Mitchell
Brian Stokes Mitchell
Brian Stokes Mitchell is an American stage, film and television actor. A powerful baritone, he has been one of the central leading men of the Broadway theatre since the early 1990s...

, cellist Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma is an American cellist, virtuoso, and orchestral composer. He has received multiple Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts in 2001 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011...

, actress Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks.She first emerged as leading lady in the Humphrey Bogart film To Have And Have Not and continued on in the film noir genre, with appearances in The Big Sleep and Dark Passage ,...

, presidents and chancellors of Boston-area colleges and universities including Harvard University President
President of Harvard University
The President of Harvard University is the chief administrator of the university. Ex officio the chairman of the Harvard Corporation, he or she is appointed by and is responsible to the other members of that body, who delegate to him or her the day-to-day running of the university...

 Drew G. Faust
Drew Gilpin Faust
Catherine Drew Gilpin Faust is an American historian, college administrator, and the president of Harvard University. Faust is the first woman to serve as Harvard's president and the university's 28th president overall. Faust is the fifth woman to serve as president of an Ivy League university, and...

 and UMass
University of Massachusetts
This article relates to the statewide university system. For the flagship campus often referred to as "UMass", see University of Massachusetts Amherst...

 President Jack M. Wilson
Jack M. Wilson
Jack M. Wilson was the 25th President of the five-campus, 60,000-student University of Massachusetts System, serving from September 2, 2003 to June 30, 2011. During his career, he has served various institutions as Professor of Physics, Department Chair, Research Center Director, Dean, Vice...

, and sports figures including Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

 legend Bill Russell
Bill Russell
William Felton "Bill" Russell is a retired American professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association...

 and the top management of the Red Sox.

Kennedy's body was returned to Washington, D.C. for burial at Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

 near the graves of his brothers. Kennedy's grave marker is identical to his brother Robert's: a white oak cross and a marble white foot marker bearing his full name, year of birth and death.

Aftermath

True Compass, the memoir that Kennedy worked on throughout his illness, was published three weeks after his death. It debuted atop the New York Times Best Seller list
New York Times Best Seller list
The New York Times Best Seller list is widely considered the preeminent list of best-selling books in the United States. It is published weekly in The New York Times Book Review magazine, which is published in the Sunday edition of The New York Times and as a stand-alone publication...

 and by mid-December 2009 had total sales of some 400,000 copies.

A special election
United States Senate special election in Massachusetts, 2010
The 2010 United States Senate special election in Massachusetts was a special election held on January 19, 2010, in order to fill the Massachusetts Class I United States Senate seat for the remainder of the term ending January 3, 2013...

 was scheduled for January 19, 2010, for the U.S. Senate seat from Massachusetts left vacant by Kennedy's passing. Shortly before his death, Kennedy had written to Democratic Governor of Massachusetts
Governor of Massachusetts
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the executive magistrate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, United States. The current governor is Democrat Deval Patrick.-Constitutional role:...

 Deval Patrick
Deval Patrick
Deval Laurdine Patrick is the 71st and current Governor of Massachusetts. A member of the Democratic Party, Patrick served as an Assistant United States Attorney General under President Bill Clinton...

 and the Massachusetts legislature to change state law to allow an appointee to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy, for a term expiring upon the special election. (Kennedy had been instrumental in the prior 2004 alteration of this law to prevent Governor Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney
Willard Mitt Romney is an American businessman and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.The son of George W...

 from appointing a Republican senator should John Kerry's presidential campaign succeed.) The law was amended, and on September 24, 2009, Paul G. Kirk, former Democratic National Committee
Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day to day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support...

 chairman, and former aide to Kennedy, was appointed to occupy the Senate seat until the completion of the special election. Kirk announced that he would not be a candidate in the special election. In that election, Republican State Senator Scott Brown
Scott Brown
Scott Brown is a United States senator.Scott Brown may also refer to:-Sportsmen:*Scott Brown , American college football coach of Kentucky State...

 won the seat in a stunning upset, ending Democratic control of it going back to 1953.

The defeat cost Democrats their 60-vote supermajority in the Senate and appeared to spell the end for health care reform legislation. But Democrats rallied and passed the measure; Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi is the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives and served as the 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011...

, who was instrumental in doing so, credited Kennedy's life work in her final remarks on the House floor before the final vote. Kennedy's widow, Victoria Kennedy
Victoria Reggie Kennedy
Victoria Reggie "Vicki" Kennedy is an American lawyer and the widow of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy.-Early life and education:...

, attended the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The law is the principal health care reform legislation of the 111th United States Congress...

, at which both she and President Obama wore blue "Tedstrong" bracelets. Congressman Patrick Kennedy
Patrick J. Kennedy
Patrick Joseph Kennedy II is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 1995 until 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes all of Bristol County and Newport County, and parts of Providence County. Kennedy did not seek re-election in 2010.A member of the Kennedy...

 – whose decision a month earlier not to seek re-election meant that in January 2011, a 64-year streak of a Kennedy holding elective office in Washington would come to an end – brought a copy of a national health insurance bill his father had introduced in 1970 as a gift for the president. Patrick Kennedy then laid a note on his father's grave that said, "Dad, the unfinished business is done."

Political positions

Political scientists gauge ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 in part by comparing the annual ratings by the Americans for Democratic Action
Americans for Democratic Action
Americans for Democratic Action is an American political organization advocating progressive policies. ADA works for social and economic justice through lobbying, grassroots organizing, research and supporting progressive candidates.-History:...

 (ADA) with the ratings by the American Conservative Union
American Conservative Union
The American Conservative Union is an American political organization advocating conservative policies, and is the oldest such conservative lobbying organization in the country.-Organization:...

 (ACU). Kennedy had a lifetime liberal 90 percent score from the ADA through 2004, while the ACU awarded Kennedy a lifetime conservative
American conservatism
Conservatism in the United States has played an important role in American politics since the 1950s. Historian Gregory Schneider identifies several constants in American conservatism: respect for tradition, support of republicanism, preservation of "the rule of law and the Christian religion", and...

 rating of 2 percent through 2008.
Using another metric, Kennedy had a lifetime average liberal score of 88.7 percent, according to a National Journal
National Journal
National Journal is a nonpartisan American weekly magazine that reports on the current political environment and emerging political and policy trends. National Journal was first published in 1969. Times Mirror owned the magazine from 1986 to 1997, when it was purchased by David G. Bradley...

 analysis that places him ideologically as the third-most liberal senator of all those in office in 2009.
A 2004 analysis by political scientists Joshua D. Clinton of Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 and Simon Jackman and Doug Rivers of Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

 examined some of the difficulties in making this kind of analysis, and found Kennedy likely to be the 8th-to-15th-most liberal Senator during the 108th Congress.
The Almanac of American Politics rates congressional votes as liberal or conservative on the political spectrum
Political spectrum
A political spectrum is a way of modeling different political positions by placing them upon one or more geometric axes symbolizing independent political dimensions....

, in three policy areas: economic, social, and foreign. For 2005–2006, Kennedy's average ratings were as follows: the economic rating was 91 percent liberal and 0 percent conservative, the social rating was 89 percent liberal and 5 percent conservative, and the foreign rating was 96 percent liberal and 0 percent conservative.

Various interest groups gave Kennedy scores or grades as to how well his votes aligned with the positions of each group.
The American Civil Liberties Union
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

 gave him an 84 percent lifetime score as of 2009.
During the 1990s and 2000s, NARAL Pro-Choice America
NARAL Pro-Choice America
NARAL Pro-Choice America , formerly the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, then National Abortion Rights Action League, and later National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, is an organization in the United States that engages in political action to oppose...

 and Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood Federation of America , commonly shortened to Planned Parenthood, is the U.S. affiliate of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and one of its larger members. PPFA is a non-profit organization providing reproductive health and maternal and child health services. The...

 typically gave Kennedy ratings of 100 percent, while the National Right to Life Committee
National Right to Life Committee
The National Right to Life Committee is the oldest and largest pro-life organization in the United States with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. The group works through legislation and education to work against abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted...

 typically gave him a rating of less than 10 percent.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gave Kennedy a lifetime rating of 100 percent through 2002, while National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association
The National Rifle Association of America is an American non-profit 501 civil rights organization which advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights and the promotion of firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection...

 gave Kennedy a lifetime grade of 'F' (failing) as of 2006.

Cultural and political image

When he died, Kennedy was the second most senior member of the Senate, after President pro tempore
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
The President pro tempore is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate. The United States Constitution states that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate and the highest-ranking official of the Senate despite not being a member of the body...

 Robert Byrd
Robert Byrd
Robert Carlyle Byrd was a United States Senator from West Virginia. A member of the Democratic Party, Byrd served as a U.S. Representative from 1953 until 1959 and as a U.S. Senator from 1959 to 2010...

 of West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

, and the third-longest serving senator of all time, behind Byrd and Strom Thurmond
Strom Thurmond
James Strom Thurmond was an American politician who served as a United States Senator. He also ran for the Presidency of the United States in 1948 as the segregationist States Rights Democratic Party candidate, receiving 2.4% of the popular vote and 39 electoral votes...

 of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 (he was passed later in 2009 by Daniel Inouye
Daniel Inouye
Daniel Ken "Dan" Inouye is the senior United States Senator from Hawaii, a member of the Democratic Party, and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate making him the highest-ranking Asian American politician in American history. Inouye is the chairman of the United States Senate...

).

Following his presidential bid, Kennedy became one of the most recognizable and influential members of the party, and was sometimes called a "Democratic icon" as well as "The Lion of the Senate". Kennedy and his Senate staff wrote about 2,500 bills, of which more than 300 were enacted into law. Kennedy co-sponsored another 550 bills that became law after 1973. Kennedy was known for his effectiveness in dealing with Republican senators and administrations, sometimes to the irritation of Democrats. During the 101st Congress
101st United States Congress
The One Hundred First United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1989 to January 3, 1991, during the first two...

 under President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, fully half of the successful proposals put forward by the Senate Democratic policy makers
Democratic Policy Committee Chairman of the United States Senate
The United States Senate Democratic Policy Committee is responsible for the creation of new United States Democratic Party policy proposals, supporting Democratic senators with legislative research, developing reports on legislation and policy, conducting oversight hearings, monitoring roll call...

 came out of Kennedy's Labor and Human Resources Committee. During the 2000s, almost every bipartisan bill signed during the George W. Bush administration
George W. Bush administration
The presidency of George W. Bush began on January 20, 2001, when he was inaugurated as the 43rd President of the United States of America. The oldest son of former president George H. W. Bush, George W...

 had significant involvement from Kennedy. A late 2000s survey of Republican senators ranked Kennedy first among Democrats in bipartisanship. Kennedy strongly believed in the principle "never let the perfect be the enemy of the good," and would agree to pass legislation he viewed as incomplete or imperfect with the goal of improving it down the road. In April 2006, Kennedy was selected by Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 as one of "America's 10 Best Senators"; the magazine noted that he had "amassed a titanic record of legislation affecting the lives of virtually every man, woman and child in the country" and that "by the late 1990s, the liberal icon had become such a prodigious cross-aisle dealer that Republican leaders began pressuring party colleagues not to sponsor bills with him". In May 2008, soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 said, "[Kennedy] is a legendary lawmaker and I have the highest respect for him. When we have worked together, he has been a skillful, fair and generous partner." Republican Governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

 and Kennedy relative Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

 described "Uncle Teddy" as "a liberal icon, a warrior for the less fortunate, a fierce advocate for health-care reform, a champion of social justice here and abroad" and "the rock of his family". At the time of Kennedy's death, sociologist and Nation
The Nation
The Nation is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States. The periodical, devoted to politics and culture, is self-described as "the flagship of the left." Founded on July 6, 1865, It is published by The Nation Company, L.P., at 33 Irving Place, New York City.The Nation...

 board member Norman Birnbaum
Norman Birnbaum
Norman Birnbaum is an American sociologist. He is an emeritus professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, and a member of the editorial board of The Nation. He was educated in New York City's public schools, at Williams College, and has a doctorate in sociology from Harvard University...

 wrote that Kennedy had come to be viewed as the "voice" and "conscience" of American progressivism.

Despite his bipartisan legislative practices, for many years Kennedy was a polarizing symbol of American liberalism. Republican and conservative groups long often viewed Kennedy as a reliable "bogeyman
Bogeyman
A bogeyman is an amorphous imaginary being used by adults to frighten children into compliant behaviour...

" to mention in fundraising letters, on a par with Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

 and similar to Democratic and liberal appeals mentioning Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich
Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich is a U.S. Republican Party politician who served as the House Minority Whip from 1989 to 1995 and as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999....

. The famous racially motivated "Hands" negative ad used in North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms
Jesse Helms
Jesse Alexander Helms, Jr. was a five-term Republican United States Senator from North Carolina who served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1995 to 2001...

's 1990 re-election campaign against Harvey Gantt
Harvey Gantt
Harvey Bernard Gantt is an American architect and Democratic politician active in North Carolina. He was Mayor of Charlotte from 1983 to 1987, and ran twice for the United States Senate....

 accused Gantt of supporting "Ted Kennedy's racial quota law". University of California, San Diego
University of California, San Diego
The University of California, San Diego, commonly known as UCSD or UC San Diego, is a public research university located in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, United States...

 political science professor Gary Jacobson
Gary Jacobson
Gary C. Jacobson is a Professor of Politics and the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the University of California, San Diego, where he has been since 1979....

's 2006 study of partisan polarization found that in a state-by-state survey of job approval ratings of the state's senators, Kennedy had the largest partisan difference of any senator, with a 57 percentage point difference in approval between Massachusetts's Democrats and Republicans. The Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 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."

Ted Kennedy was, from 1968 on, the most prominent living member of the Kennedy family
Kennedy family
In the United States, the phrase Kennedy family commonly refers to the family descending from the marriage of the Irish-Americans Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald that was prominent in American politics and government. Their political involvement has revolved around the...

, and was the last surviving son of Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. 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. And if Bobby died, Teddy would take over for him." Kennedy was, however, never able to carry on the "Camelot" mystique the same way his fallen brothers had, with much of it disappearing during his failed 1980 presidential bid. The loss of life at Chappaquiddick and Kennedy's well-documented later personal problems further tarnished his image in relation to the Kennedy name, and Chappaquiddick significantly damaged Kennedy's chances of ever becoming president. The Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 wrote that, "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." But Kennedy's legislative accomplishments remained, and as The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe is an American daily newspaper based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe has been owned by The New York Times Company since 1993...

 wrote, "By the early 21st century, the achievements of the younger brother would be enough to rival those of many presidents." With his death came the public realization that the "Camelot era" was truly over. Kennedy's New York Times obituary described him via a character sketch
Character sketch
A character sketch is an abbreviated portrayal of a particular characteristic of people. The term originates in portraiture, where the character sketch is a common academic exercise. Following the translation of Theophrastus's Characters into English, a number of British and American painters...

: "He was a Rabelaisian
François Rabelais
François Rabelais was a major French Renaissance writer, doctor, Renaissance humanist, monk and Greek scholar. He has historically been regarded as a writer of fantasy, satire, the grotesque, bawdy jokes and songs...

 figure in the Senate and in life, instantly recognizable by his shock of white hair, his florid, oversize face, his booming Boston brogue, his powerful but pained stride. He was a celebrity, sometimes a self-parody, a hearty friend, an implacable foe, a man of large faith and large flaws, a melancholy character who persevered, drank deeply and sang loudly. He was a Kennedy."

Awards and honors

Senator Kennedy received many awards and honors over the years. These include an honorary knighthood bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, the Order of the Aztec Eagle
Order of the Aztec Eagle
The Order of the Aztec Eagle is a Mexican order and is the highest decoration awarded to foreigners in the country.It was created by decree on December 29, 1933 by President Abelardo L. Rodríguez as a reward to services given to Mexico or humankind by foreigners...

 from Mexico, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom
Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with thecomparable Congressional Gold Medal bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award in the United States...

, the Order of the Merit of Chile
Order of the Merit of Chile
The Order of the Merit of Chile is a Chilean military decoration and was created in 1929. Succeeding the Medal of the Merit, it was created during the term of the President Germán Riesco through the Minister of War decree No. 1350 on September 4, 1906...

, and honorary degrees from a number of institutions including Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

.

See also

  • Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
    Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
    The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate will be a non-profit educational institution instigated by and named after Senator Edward M. Kennedy...

  • How Democracy Works Now: Twelve Stories

External links

Official sites

Kennedy in his own words

Nonpartisan information


Media related
  • Remembering Senator Edward M. Kennedy slideshow from whitehouse.gov
    Whitehouse.gov
    Whitehouse.gov is the official website of the White House and is owned by the United States government. Launched in October 1994, it contains general American history information, as well as current news pertaining to the President, press briefings, proclamations, executive orders, and any speeches...

  • Ted Kennedy: His Life and Times photo galleries from LIFE
    Life
    Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased , or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate...

  • Edward Kennedy collected news and commentary from The New York Times
    The New York Times
    The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

  • Edward M. Kennedy collected commentary from The Boston Globe
    The Boston Globe
    The Boston Globe is an American daily newspaper based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe has been owned by The New York Times Company since 1993...

    s Jeff Jacoby
  • Edward Kennedy collected news and commentary from The Guardian
    The Guardian
    The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

  • Ted Kennedy's Life and Legacy slide show by The Nation
    The Nation
    The Nation is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States. The periodical, devoted to politics and culture, is self-described as "the flagship of the left." Founded on July 6, 1865, It is published by The Nation Company, L.P., at 33 Irving Place, New York City.The Nation...

  • Ted Kennedy collected news and commentary from The Daily Beast
    The Daily Beast
    The Daily Beast is an American news reporting and opinion website founded and published by Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker as well as the short-lived Talk Magazine. The Daily Beast was launched on October 6, 2008, and is owned by IAC...

  • Ted Kennedy: Last Man Standing life story from Marie Claire Australia
    Marie Claire
    Marie Claire is a monthly women's magazine first published in France but also distributed in other countries with editions specific to them and in their languages. While each country shares its own special voice with its audience, the United States edition focuses on women around the world and...

  • Edward M. Kennedy profile from SourceWatch
    SourceWatch
    SourceWatch is an internet wiki site that is a collaborative project of the liberal Center for Media and Democracy...

     Congresspedia
    Congresspedia
    Congresspedia was a wiki that ran from April 2006 to March 2009, designed to hold information on the workings of the U.S. Congress. It was fully contained within SourceWatch, a larger wiki meant to document the people, organizations and issues shaping the public agenda. The Congresspedia portion of...

  • Ted Kennedy: A Life in Politics and Ted Kennedy Obituary in The Boston Globe
    The Boston Globe
    The Boston Globe is an American daily newspaper based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe has been owned by The New York Times Company since 1993...

  • Worldwide Tributes Honor Sen. Ted Kennedy - video report by Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...

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