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June 29, 2009
Sen. Edward Kennedy
Chappaquiddick was a bonanza for the Kennedy-hating Nixon, who tried many tactics to catch Ted Kennedy in an extra-marital affair in order to derail his anticipated 1972 presidential bid.
by Don Fulsom
In the summer of 1969, President Richard Nixon was licking his chops to discover just what had really happened to Edward Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts. He speedily dispatched two undercover White House investigators to the scene of the suspicious watery car crash that took the life of Kopechne, Kennedy’s companion. Nixon told top aide Bob Haldeman he didn’t want Kennedy to get away with anything. Haldeman wrote a diary entry saying the President believed Kennedy “was drunk, escaped from the car, let (Mary Jo) drown, said nothing until police got to him. Shows fatal flaw in his character, cheated at school (Kennedy was expelled from Harvard for cheating), ran from accident”
When the senator went on TV to tell his version of what happened, Nixon privately noted many “gaps and contradictions,” adding: “I could not help thinking if anyone other than a Kennedy had been involved and had given such a patently unacceptable explanation, the media and the public would not have allowed him to survive in public life.”