Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Senator Kennedy Will Now Get A Second Chance To Explain Chappaquiddick

Embedded below is a 4 minute selection from then-youthful Senator Ted Kennedy's 1969 televised explanation of the Chappaquiddick incident to the people of Massachusetts. In the wake of this event, he was in deep political trouble at home and this was his "Checkers" speech.

This video begins with a real gem, "there is no truth whatever to the widely circulated suspicions of immoral conduct that have been levelled at my behavior." He makes this assertion despite the fact that he was then a 37 year old US Senator and Mary Jo Kopechne was a 28 year-old former campaign aide to his brother, and that they were in a car together at 11:30 PM after a party, driving along a deserted, unlit road for reasons never explained.

He then goes on to add at the 0:18 second mark that, "there has never been any private relationship between us at any time," phraseology that sounds eerily Clintonian to the modern ear. "Nor was I driving under the influence of liquor," he asserts at the 0:34 second mark, despite having told the police that he had had "two" beers.

At the 1:42 mark he impliedly blames a "cerebral concussion" for why he did not call the police for over 10 hours after the accident. (He instead swam back to his hotel room in Edgartown, changed out of his wet clothes and went to bed. Back at his hotel, Kennedy complained at 2:55 am to the hotel owner that he had been awoken by a noisy party. By 7:30 am the next morning he was reportedly talking "casually" to the winner of the previous day's sailing race, with no indication that anything was amiss.)

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