Friday, August 28, 2009

Kennedy Never Worked a Day in His Life

[This profile of Ted Kennedy originally appeared in the September 1968 issue of Esquire.]

26 August 2009

The Last Kennedy

By Burton Hersh

[...] One September evening in 1962, having just proposed to open his political career as the Junior Senator from Massachusetts, Kennedy glanced up from his prepared remarks to hear the issue of his candidacy itself being laid open savagely by his upset opponent. "What are your qualifications for the United States Senate?" Edward J. McCormack was intoning across a South Boston auditorium platform. "You graduated from law school three years ago. You never worked for a living. You have never run for or held elective office." [...]

Kennedy himself, as things worked out, profited immediately and measurably from an enormous sympathy backlash. He sensed the effect a couple of days afterward when, as he was campaigning at the door of a factory at quitting time, a seasoned old laborer asked suddenly, "Is it true, like I heard, that you never worked a day in your life, Kennedy?"

The candidate mumbled something to the effect that he hadn't worked much with his hands, really...

"Well let me tell ya somethin', kid," the seasoned old laborer said, "ya sure ain't missed a hell of a lot."

From that instant, Kennedy realized, he had his seat in the Senate. [...]

Boston Herald
27 August 2009

Ted Kennedy’s legacy not as heroic as some might think

By Howie Carr

[...] There’s a story, perhaps apocryphal, that in his first Senate campaign in 1962, Kennedy was shaking hands at a factory-gate during a shift change. A haggard worker began berating him about how he’d never worked a day in his life. According to the legend, at that point another salt-of-the-earth blue-collar type leaned in and told Kennedy, “Never worked a day in your life, kid? You ain’t missed a thing.” [...]