A memoir by the late Senator Ted Kennedy is set to hit bookstore shelves on September 14th. But The New York Times obtained an advance copy, much to the chagrine of the Kennedy family, and printed excerpts in Thursday's edition of the paper. Kennedy does not shy away from the controversies in his life, as well as opening up about his famous family. Here are some highlights:
On the 1969 crash at Chappaquiddick that killed Mary Jo Kopechne:
Kennedy writes that his behavior after the accident was "inexcusable," and that he "made terrible decisions" that fateful night. He also said that he hardly knew Kopechne, who had been an aide to his late brother Robert, and that he had had no romantic relationship with her.
On feelings of inadequacy to his brothers:
“Competition, of course, is the route to achievement in America. As I think back to my three brothers, and about what they had accomplished before I was even out of my childhood, it sometimes has occurred to me that my entire life has been a constant state of catching up.”
On "boundaries" that existed in his close family:
“For example, I had no idea of how serious Jack’s health problems were while he was alive. It would never have occurred to us to discuss such private things with each other.”
On his indulgences:
“I have enjoyed the company of women. I have enjoyed a stiff drink or two or three, and I’ve relished the smooth taste of a good wine. At times, I’ve enjoyed these pleasures too much. I’ve heard the tales about my exploits as a hell-raiser — some accurate, some with a wisp of truth to them and some so outrageous that I can’t imagine how anyone could really believe them.”
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On President Carter, to whom Kennedy lost the 1980 Democratic Presidential nomination:
“Clearly President Carter was a difficult man to convince -- of anything. One reason for this was that he did not really listen.”
On President Reagan, who got distracted talking about shoes during a meeting about shoe and textile imports:
“Several of us began conspicuously to glance at our watches. And it was over! No one got a word in about shoe or textile quota legislation.”
On scrutinizing the private lives of public officials:
“But do I think it tells the whole story of character? No I truly do not. Some people make mistakes and try to learn from them and do better. Our sins don’t define the whole picture of who we are.”