Part 1: Living History: Ted Kennedy, Remembered.
In November 1960, John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon for president by two-tenths of a percentage point in the popular vote, one of the slimmest victories in U.S. history. Upon assuming office, Jack immediately appointed his brother Robert as attorney general, though he declined to give Ted the State Department job he had asked for. At his father’s urging, Ted would run for the Senate in 1962 (after he had reached the required age of 30). But before he could take on the state’s formidable attorney general, Edward McCormack, for the Democratic nomination, his family would need to deal with speculation about why he had been expelled from Harvard in 1951.
Phil Johnston, former state Democratic Party chairman: One brother is the president of the United States, the other one is attorney general—and then, by the way, I have a third one who’s a war hero, and a sister who started this international organization for the disabled. It’s a wonderful thing to have relatives you look up to, and it’s a burden in that you might feel that you’re not successful if you’re not president by the time you’re 45.
Tuck: When Ted first announced he was going to run for the Senate, both Jack and Bobby didn’t think it was a very good idea. Their father, who really kind of ran things, said, “You guys got yours. He’s gonna get his.”
Robert Healy, former Boston Globe Washington bureau chief: The rumors [that Ted had cheated on an exam] were widespread at Harvard. Those days, you didn’t go into print unless you could verify it, and Harvard wouldn’t touch it.
Abrams: Ted and the person who took the test for him were friends of mine. I knew they had a problem…[but] I never knew the details of what happened until they were publicized in the campaign.
Healy: I got a call from the treasurer of the Democratic Party. He said, “Can you come down and meet me?” So I did. “What do you know about Teddy and Harvard?” I said, “I know he got bounced out of there.” He went in the other room and made a call to the White House. President Kennedy got on the phone and [asked me to come down]. I met him in the Oval Office and the one point I made was, “Look, he’s gonna have to deal with this. Eddie McCormack will hit him with it.” The president turned to [an adviser] and said, “We’re having more problems with this than we had with the Bay of Pigs.” So they just gave me the whole story, including the records from Harvard that I needed. There was nothing left out, I might add, except the name of the guy who took the exam.
Anne Frate, wife of William Frate, who took a Spanish exam for Kennedy at Harvard: Ted and Bill were both young. It was a two-way street, of course, but I’m pretty sure Ted [apologized] in more than one way. We remained close friends.
Abrams: Ted once came to a class function at Harvard, and one or two classmates went after him pretty hard for even running. People felt Ted was running because his brothers were in powerful positions, and they had set this spot for him.
Gerard Doherty, campaign manager: He had very little what you would call liberal support. Strangely enough, two of the consistent picketers against us were [then Harvard student] Barney Frank and [then state legislator] Michael Dukakis.
Barney Frank, U.S. congressman: My first impressions of him were negative. I was dismissive.
Michael Dukakis, former Massachusetts governor: We thought McCormack had earned it and that Ted should start his political career a little lower on the totem pole.
Doherty: At 7 o’clock one morning we were greeting people outside the Charlestown Navy Yard. We see this guy coming along; he obviously wasn’t a very happy guy. He saw Teddy and he said, “Kennedy, they say you haven’t worked a day in your life.” Teddy and I looked at each other. The guy said, “Let me tell you, you haven’t missed a goddamn thing.”
Milton Gwirtzman, campaign aide: Bobby was running Ted through preparation for the debate. He said, “Tell them why you want to serve the public. Tell them why you don’t want to be sitting on your ass in an office in New York.” Which, of course, was what their father had done.
Donald Dowd, campaign aide: [At the debate] McCormack said, “If your name wasn’t Edward Kennedy, you wouldn’t be sitting here.” Kennedy just listened to it, which was so good because people watching on TV switched and said, “You know, he’s picking on this young Kennedy.”
Gwirtzman: The people in Massachusetts had very good experiences with members of the Kennedy family. There was a tremendous amount of goodwill toward him.
John Kerry, U.S. senator: I had volunteered [on his campaign]…I was intrigued by the energy and idealism President Kennedy had brought to politics. And Teddy was this young, charismatic candidate.
Lily Tomlin, actress: The mother of a friend of mine had been in Boston politics all her life. Her mother used to say you always vote for the Italian—unless it’s a Kennedy.