Kennedy 'joked about Chappaquiddick'
Biographer reveals deadly incident was a 'favorite topic of humor'
One of Sen. Ted Kennedy's favorite topics of humor was the incident at
Chappaquiddick Island, Mass., in 1969 in which he drove off a bridge
and left behind a 28-year-old woman who drowned, according to a
biographer who reminisced about the iconic Democrat on a Washington,
D.C., talk show this morning.
Edward Klein, speaking to WAMU guest host Katty Kay, said one of
Kennedy's "favorite topics of humor was, indeed, Chappaquiddick."
"He would ask people, 'Have you heard any new jokes about
Chappaquiddick?'" said Klein, a former Newsweek foreign editor and
former editor in chief of the New York Times Magazine.
Klein's revelation on the "Diane Rehm Show" can be heard here:
Kennedy died late Tuesday night at age 77 after battling brain cancer.
Klein, the author of a biography published this year, "Ted Kennedy:
The Dream That Never Died," immediately tried to put his remarks in
"I mean, that is just the most amazing thing," he said. "Not that he
didn't feel remorse about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne but that he
still always saw the other side of everything and the ridiculous side
of things, too."
Kopechne, a former campaign worker for the late Sen. Bobby Kennedy,
was one of six single women at a party with the married Ted Kennedy
and several other married men. Kennedy said he was taking Kopechne
back to the ferry landing for a return trip to Martha's Vineyard when
he took a wrong turn and drove off a bridge. He managed to escape but
left Kopechne behind and didn't report the accident until the next day
when he saw police had discovered the body.
After huddling with advisers, Kennedy made a televised statement that
saved his Senate seat, but the incident is widely believed to have
been a major factor in his failure to win the presidency.