August 26th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

America's fascination with Kennedy brothers for more than 50 years?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The death of Ted Kennedy marks the passing of an era.

The senator from Massachusetts was the last of the four Kennedy brothers to die - all of them serving their country. Joe Jr. died as a World War II pilot. John was a congressman, senator and president before being assassinated. Bobby, a U.S. attorney general, senator from New York and a presidential candidate at the time of his assassination.

Robert F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy and John F. Kennedy are pictured on Jan.1, 1962

Ted Kennedy, the youngest of nine siblings, is the only brother to live past the age of 50; and many believe that as the survivor, he will be the one who leaves the most significant impact on this country. Kennedy - who served 46 years in the Senate - was a staunch liberal but also known for reaching out across the aisle. He was a champion for issues like civil rights, health care, education, voting rights and labor.

The Kennedy family has been an endless source of fascination for the American people for decades. To many - the Kennedys are the closest thing to royalty we have. And the family has offered glamour, the "Camelot" mystique, hope and idealism.

But along with high political ambitions and success for the Kennedys has also come great low points, tragedies and untimely deaths: the two assassinations, Ted Kennedy's nearly fatal plane crash along with his infamous incident at Chappaquiddick, John Jr.'s fatal plane crash... and numerous substance abuse and marital problems.

Here’s my question to you: Why did America remain fascinated with the Kennedy brothers for more than 50 years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Sean from Canada writes:
I'd have to say because the Kennedys were the all-American boys who could do no wrong. They were young boys out to lead America with hope for the future. Everyone knew them: they were the boys who lived down the street in the big house with the red door and white picket fence, and the one whose oldest brother went off to war and died for America… I'm 24 years old and live in Canada and, heck, feel like they were my friends when I was a kid.

Lee writes:
They were rich, famous and good-looking and all they really cared about was helping people who were less fortunate. I think this made them very appealing to everyone. Not only did Ted take care of his own children, but he helped to take care of his brothers' children, when their fathers were taken away from them in such a horrific way.

Mageen from Virginia writes:
Just the brothers? That's way too little. What Rose Kennedy taught her kids about having so much and giving back I also heard at home. Consequently I knew who all the Kennedys were. It was like we were related, even if by memorandum. Thanks to Jack's presidential campaign, I got active in politics and still am.

Judy writes:
Maybe the fascination for the Kennedy brothers endured because they didn't just talk the talk, they walked the walk. They dedicated their entire lives to helping out the underdog. Who was it that said, "To whom much is given, much is expected"?

Lisa from California writes:
In this country, absent real dynasties and monarchies that still exist elsewhere, we had the next-best-thing: a family that spanned generations with the kind of stuff that makes a fine film or Pulitzer prize winning novel: Good looks, wealth, greed, ambition, lust and style. Politics was the thread that wove all these qualities together. We simply couldn't, nor will ever be able to get enough.

Ronald writes:
Jack, This is an easy one: They gave more than most for this country and asked for little for themselves.

Filed under: Government • United States
soundoff (270 Responses)
  1. Donald in CA

    Even though from enormous wealth, they were truly concerned with those less fortunate and walked the walk. America can learn a lot from the tone the Kennedys set. Look at all the mean spiritness going on across the country now and you would think we havent learned any thing.

    August 26, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  2. Jackie in Dallas

    Because those in power ALWAYS fascinate, and in doesn't matter what country you live in. That's why there is such fascination in the royals in England, why the Perons were both heros and villains in Argentina, and why the Kennedy family represents both the best and worst of American politics.

    The Kennedys were a paradox: a family of wealth who believed in service to others and giving back to the country that granted them the opportunity to make that wealth. The three, John, Robert, and Ted were almost bigger than life, in both their aspirations and accomplishments, and their failures.

    August 26, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  3. Kyle Irvine, CA

    Because of what happened to John and Robert. I always felt so sorry for the Kennedy family. They seemed like they had it all, but in the end all Kennedy's die young. My prayers go out to the Kennedy family during this difficult time.

    August 26, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  4. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    Don't forget Joe's death in wartime. The fascination would have likely ebbed without Teddy on the scene, followed by numerous relatives in public life. We watch them because they do things, kind of like the Bushes (although of all the Bushes, I like Billy best).

    August 26, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  5. Wilhelm von Nord Bock

    plain and simple they are America's version of the British "Royals", Jack.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  6. Matt

    Because despite their personal lives they publicly stood for the downtrodden who had no political voice. While it is not my place to forgive their personal transgressions they were a voice of hope and reason for our country. They stood for something and they would not kow tow to popular opinion. Our elected officials could learn a lot from their political lives.

    Rockford, IL

    August 26, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  7. Melissa

    Because they gave people hope and continued to do it even after death.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  8. Jack Kramer in California

    It is a lot of hype. JFK and RFK died as perceived martyrs. Ted got to ride on their popularity. I am sorry he is dead, and I wish him well in heaven, but I was not in any way a fan or admirer of him. I thought he was terrible for the country.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  9. Richard, Brooklyn NY

    Its very simple, in the business of politics everyone spouts off the same unfeeling B.S. whenever they are asked to make a speech. The Kennedy's were always original and you got the impression they actually believed the things they were saying. This was a rare characteristic in the politics of the JFK days and remains so in the world of current politics.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  10. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Simple Jack,

    Regardless of the fact that they were born into a life of privelige, they all chose to serve their country & try to make it a better place for all, not just for aristocrats as is the case with that "that other" political party.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  11. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Wealth, power, beauty, sex, triumph, tragedy – all the things that made Dallas and Dynasty the most popular prime time soap operas of all time. Except the Kennedy’s did it in real life.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  12. Shirley H. Martin, Charlotte C.H., VA

    Mr. Cafferty, I have great admiration for what you do! I would hope CNN has the courtesy to not have the death and investigation of Michael Jackson overshadow the passing of our deemed Senator Edward Kennedy. CNN chose to overshadow the death of another entertainer, Farrah Fawcett, and may I remind the media, Michael Jackson WAS an entertainer . . . not a Saint!

    August 26, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  13. Jayne

    The Kennedy brothers had a choice in life: enjoy their wealth like young princes might or serve the country they loved. All chose the latter and 3 died prematurely as a result. This country owes them so much, but I'm sure the Kennedy brothers would disagree and believe they are the ones indebted.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  14. John in Santa Barbara

    Dynamic, Charasmatic, Handsome, Wealthy, Intelligent, and willing to serve their country in order to assist the less fortunate. Then there's Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  15. Marjorie (in) Maryland

    The Kennedys were young, dynamic and interesting. They broke the mold of politicians as old balding men in suits. They had boyish smiles, beutiful wives, and played touch football. All that aside,
    Ted's legacy is an admirable one and an extensive one. Aside from the personal scandal associated with the Chapaquidick [sic] incident, however, people seem to forget that he helped Ronald Reagan to become president in 1980 by tossing his own hat into the ring against an incumbent Democratic president. I doubt former President Carter feels quite so poignantly about him.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  16. David of Alexandria VA

    They are largewr than life celebrities which we always follow. Rich kids who could have philandered their way around the world on their yachts and instead chose to serve their country, all of them dying in the saddle. Good copy, good examples.

    I had enormous admiration ofr Kennedy's commitment and service, although I didn't sgreed with a lot of his politics. I can only hope that the press gives Ted's life and death as much air play as they did for Michael Jackson. I only hope the world has a reflective moment about who are the real heros of our generation.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  17. Steve

    Because they represented hope. Something that is sorely missing in modern America.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  18. Susan Frost

    The Kennedy brothers could have chosen to live long and extremely comfortable lives in a rarified environment insulated from the suffering of others. Instead, they freely chose to take risks and make sacrifices – for Joe, Jack, and Bobby the ultimate sacrifice – in an effort to make the world a better place for others. Despite their human failings – which we all have but which most of us manage to keep on the down-low while theirs were smeared across the tabloid covers for all to see – they never lost sight of the values of courage, compassion and duty and managed to pass those values along to their offspring.
    It's sad that in this day and age, putting the needs of others ahead of self-interest is so "fascinating" when it should be the norm.
    Rest in peace, Teddy, and give our love to your brothers and sisters.

    Tuscaloosa AL

    August 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  19. Kirven Dunham

    No. President Obama just laid the ground work for the rest of his first term. He and all of America now knows that the republicans will not work with him. Now he can work with just his party and ignore the gop all together.

    Kirven Dunham
    Rancho Cordova, Ca

    August 26, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  20. Esther massillon ohio

    this channel has turned into something I hate you are gossip and trash talk getting to be as bad as Glenn Beck, Jack and I thought I would never say something like that about you but again news people only do what the puppet master bids them do and you are just like all the rest.

    Kennedy's served us in a great capacity than you will ever know. service to this country you just turning a buck with your books and bad talk. all of your news is filth and just spewing of racist and unlike what you were for the campaigne of our president. I am watching msnbc rather play hardball with chris than listen to you and your bunch of spew

    August 26, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  21. Paul Austin, Texas

    The Kennedy brothers were reality TV before we had reality TV. They were able to stay in political power even with their personal faults. They were real people with real faults and whatever they did we all knew. The Kennedy stories will be in the news for a long time to come and they should be remembered for the good they did and not their faults.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  22. Tom from Philly

    well. the ones shot down in their prime, duh, any family subject to multiple assassinations would be a curiosity. But Ted was like OJ, did he or didnt he, but for about 5 decades it was a morbid curiosity

    August 26, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  23. Terry, Chandler AZ

    America would not have been so fascinated had the media not given the Kennedy's so much attention. Most of the attention may have been earned, but the media over did it somewhat. And Americans I am sorry to say play into the hands of the media. Look at the crap that Americans watch on television!

    August 26, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  24. David in San Diego

    Could it be that they were effective, responsible public servants who put the country's best interests first? Or is that too simple an explanation in our media- and celebrity-crazed times?

    August 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  25. Tina Tx

    I think because even though they were among the wealthy they were not the typical all for me and to hell with you rich. They were crusaders for the poor and the down trodden. Teddy will be missed.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  26. Ed from California

    The Kennedy's were this family out of Massachusetts that put family and country, first! What we didn't understand is they thought of all us as part of their family. You look at their family legacy it's all about helping the common man. We lost a great leader, that's going to be hard to fill. May God bless you, Mr. Kennedy.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  27. Mark

    The reason is the same as why millions of people watch NASCAR, for the great wrecks. It was advantageous that the paparazzi and internet did not exist at the creation of the Kennedy’s dynasty, or it would never experienced the crash as an intoxicated Teddy liberated his car from the roadway. As a nation, we could not believe that a lone gunman could assassinate our President; nevertheless, we enjoy terrific accidents as long as they do not happen to us and increase our insurance rates (home, auto, and health) or put a loved one into a hospital or grave. As long as a Kennedy family member stays in the public eye, we will continue watching for the deterioration of this family.

    Mark Edgcomb
    Utica, Illinois

    August 26, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  28. Gregory Miami Beach, FL

    The Kennedy bros. whose remarkable lives unfolded before us in triumph and tradgedy is a novel that has come to it's end. The brothers are once again together and that thought gives me a smile! In my lifetime, I finally feel how truly sad it is to lose a Kennedy, the last of the Kennedy's who gave their very lives in service to America! They were all so irreplacable and we will always feel their void!

    August 26, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  29. Gene Juillet

    The Rich, The Political, the Powerful, and the Troubled.
    Americans have watched it on TV, and lived along side of it,
    our whole lives. I'm sure this show will never end.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  30. el

    hello Jack

    I think the world was fasinated w/ the Kennedy family and the brothers that seemed to be pushed into the limelight because of their Father, Joe.
    Regardless, the life and turmoil associated with the Kennedy clan, was heartbreaking to watch. We cried when their lives were so innocently lost, tragically, at a young age. They were taken far too soon. I hope Ted's family finds solace in the fact he lived a long and dedicated political life, fighting for those less fortunate.
    We will remember the Kennedy Brothers for what they gave us, their legacy will live on. May they all be happy now that they are together.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  31. Steve Gaydos

    Any number of reasons: memories, love, respect, jealousy, mystery, awe, looks, dress, hate, understanding, compassion, history ..............

    Randolph N.J.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  32. Rod - Allentown PA

    First of all; how dare you compare him to Royalty? Are all men created equal unless they are a Kennedy? Money from Bootlegging hootch from Canada to the U.S during prohabition makes the family saintly somehow I suppose. Although the biased news media would have you suddenly believe he was a Saint of sorts, lets get the facts straight about this Kennedy.
    Expelled from Harvard for cheating once and paying someone to cheat after that. Kept from serving in Korea by family influence and although of supposed high education, never made it past private? Reckless driving and intoxication while attending Law School in Virginia, Plane crash with intoxication involved and the infamous party night of July 19 1969 and a dead girl he drove into a pond and left for dead. Royalty my butt!
    How about all of those years as a Senator. Not real inspiring contributions for nearly 5 decades. Around Washington, he was known to be loud, a drunk and a womanizer.
    I guess any fascination with the Kennedy's is to see what type of trouble the family was in and how they would weasel out of it. Moderators, have a field day with this., it will never make the air or website anyway.

    August 26, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  33. All good things must end.

    A moving force in American government. Will be missed by all on both sides of the aisle.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  34. Ken in Pinon Hills, California

    My fascination has been three rich brothers who cared about us and those of lesser means and those poor who didn't mean much to most of the wealthy. We would have become the United States of Utopia if those of wealth cared like the Kennedy's.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  35. Michael M Phoenix AZ

    People may or may not care for the Kennedy Clan, but somehow, Joe and Rose Kennedy seemed to instill in them, with all the wealth they have, to somehow take the side of those much less endowed. They took the side of the "little guy" numerous times....When did any Republican ever do that? Certainly not my Senators from Arizona who are both dead set against any type of national health care. But they sure love their plan don't they? Hypocrites aren't they!

    August 26, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  36. Teri K

    Because they defined the meaning of the word 'Liberals' – if you agreed with them and their message of what you and your country could live up to, you followed them with admiration. If you deplored that meaning then you spent your days (and years) trashing them. To quote JFK regarding what being a Liberal means:

    ....someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people–their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties–someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."

    Palm Coast FL

    August 26, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  37. Albert K.. L.A, CA

    It is no wonder why America remains fascinated with these brothers. When speaking of Ted Kennedy today, Joe Biden said, “It was never about him. It was always about you.” That applies to all the Kennedy brothers as does hope, idealism, civil rights, health care, education, voting rights and labor. Caring for people is fascinating in a town otherwise run by the Corporation, Oil, Insurance and Military-Industrial Complex.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  38. Bert

    How about the fascination that he was a drunk and ran women and the scandals washed under the carpet years ago.Have so many forgotten that?

    August 26, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  39. Jan Davis, Knoxville, TN

    I think the fascination is that these brothers, though very wealthy, had a real concern for the average person. As a Catholic and Yellow Dog Democrat, I especially appreciate the legacy of the Kennedys. Ted Kennedy is among the greats in the U.S. Senate, the likes of which we will probably never see again. I hope Congress will follow through on his effort of many years to get health care legislation through along with a public option.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  40. Dave

    Jack, Ted Kennedy was one the best people God put on this earth. He wasn't the perfect but he was the good. God Bless you Ted we will miss you and thanks for all your sacrifices.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  41. brian

    the kennedy's were servants of the people, not lobbyist pretending to be servants.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  42. Jackie Rawlings

    Yes as a young black teenager I loved President Kennedy he was so cute and smart. He formed my interest in my country and made me realize I had a responsbility to my country. Bobby and Ted continued the mission to help those who needed it most. After hearing so many Republican Law Makers attack Senator Kennedy during his illness now I suspect we'll hear nothing but positive remarks. Ted gave his life to help those that most never cared about. God will be pleased and welcome him home. I learned to understand why the Bush Family was so jealous of the Kennedy Family because they helped those in need as the Bush Family is all about Greed and Lying.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  43. Bill Davis

    I've too have been thinking about our national "obsession" with Kennedys. It really comes down to their sense of duty to the citizens of this country. It's kind of like when commoners look back upon kings as "good kings" or "bad kings." The Kennedys used their power, prestige, money, and influence to try to make life better for the rest of us. Other leaders from "dynasty" families have been more interested in lining their own pockets, taking care of their friends, increasing their power all the while doing nothing (or as little as possible) for the rest of us. I think, as a family, the Kennedys know how far they've come and realize they have more in common with the rest of us than meets the eye.

    Bill D
    Champaign, IL

    August 26, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  44. JWC in Atlanta

    The Kennedy family began a rich life when poppa Joe traded insider deals on the stock market and set the family on a priviledged path in Massachusetts. This family's priviledges as political insiders were expanded and once on the national scene, coupled with a memorable Presidential (Nixon) debate, a telegenic presence, a challenge to explore the moon, a romanticized existence, a beautiful wife ,an averted Cuban Crisis, followed by a bizzarre assassination of John, then a murder of Bobby, along with Ted's Chappaquiddick misadventure pretty much forced regular people to look the Kennedy's direction their entire existence. Throw in a Schwarzennegger, a murder acquittal, a few drunken escapades, and who the heck wouldn't find this family moderately interesting at the very least.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  45. Paul S. New Port Richey, Fl

    This Camelot rubbish was created by a doting, fawning, and liberal press. It never went away because the truth about this family was secondary to the fantasies of the rich and infamous. The final judgement of them looms large. I'm glad I'm not one of them because, in the end, no one gets away with murder.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  46. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    Jack, Bobby and Teddy at their intrduction to the national political scene were young, handsome and talented. They appeared to lead storybook lives. The fact that their father was one of the most notorius bootleggers during prohibition didn't matter. Their father became a U.S. Ambassador and passed along his knowledge of making a deal to his sons. If Hollywood rumor is to believed, the majority of them had affairs with America's Dream Girl, Marilyn Monroe.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  47. Richard McKinney, Texas

    America loves an underdog. Even if it is only a perceived underdog. The Kennedy's family has a history of alcohol and drug abuse yet America elected them time and time again. It may be because Americans saw them as movers or shakers or it could also have been that they saw them as fallible and in being fallible people could relate to them. Either way America kept electing them to some of the highest offices in the land. I lost all faith in Ted Kennedy back in 1969 when he left Mary Jo Kopechne trapped in the car that he had been driving and had escaped from after he drove it into Dike Bridge into the Poucha Pond inlet. Ted Kennedy knowing she was down there never calling anyone to help until after her body was found the next day in his car. This man was re-elected time and time again by the American people. His judgment day has come and now he has to answer for it. While some praise him others like myself detest him. This was no man. This was a coward too afraid to summon help.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  48. Tony from Torrington

    Having been raised in a Democrat household as a boy, I voted in my first election for John F. Kennedy. His charisma and appeal was electric and though he was a Catholic, the people felt his presence and he went on to win the White House. Bobby was also a great man and I had the pleasure of shaking his hand when he campaigned in New York. The Kennedy brothers used their wealth and power to help Americans.

    Teddy leaned a bit more to the left and I was starting to lean more to the right. When he opposed Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito so obnoxiously, that was the last straw. I believe that the old Democrat party of my father has become the left wing socialist party and it's a shame that John F. Kennedy's Democrats are gone.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  49. Chad from Los Angeles

    They were strong leaders with no fear of anyone, including the people who assissinated 2 of them. They showed greatness yet vulnerability, which inspired Americans becuase it gives hope to the rest of us that we can be great yet be flawed at the same time.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  50. carrie snider

    While the brothers all struggled with lifes vices and temptation they still represented an evolved male ideal. Out of the dark conservatism of the fifties came these compassionate white males. Using their power to pull women, blacks, the poor up rather than keeping their boots to the necks of the downtrodden and ill-represented. As had been the accepted norm for decades prior. They were just kind, historical giants who fought for the little people. Thanks Ted, RIP
    Carrie Snider, Charlotte, NC

    August 26, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  51. Greg, Ontario

    I'm not American but I found them fascinating because although JFK figured out a way to avert a world nuclear war his country still murdered him. Bobby wanted more civil rights and attacks on organized crime and his country murdered him. Even with all that moral backbone and material wealth the human weakness was still there to see as well in the whole family and they never seemed to hide it. They used the media to talk to the people without giving the media any power over them and that will always be fascinating stuff to the everyday person struggling to get by.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  52. Willow, Iowa

    This was a family that believed that helping people was their reason to be. They had a lot of money, could have stood around a country club, headed up companies with lots of stocks, but instead saw a need in public office. All three in politics have changed the world.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  53. Ruie - Brownstown, MI

    Dear Jack: Two words Jack: Dream and Hope.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  54. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Because they were good/bad boys, we loved them. In their lives they accomplished much and also sullied their own names. I can't remember a time in my life until now, with Ted Kennedy's death, that there wasn't a major player from the family on the political scene. Someone in the clan will have to step into the limelight again and take up the big, important causes.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  55. Don Berghuis

    I think most of us admired the family ability, especially in Ted Kennedy, to rise above problems personal, legal, and private and attain greatness. Many of us would have decided to "pack it in" if these things happened in our own lives. Ted and his brothers didn't. That is the fascination I feel

    August 26, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  56. Denis Duffy

    I'm 65. For my generation, JFK gave us a glimpse of what we thought could be. When that was taken away, RFK gave us another chance. Right or wrong, as we look back, it was a dream we hoped for. Joe was gone before we knew him. Ted was a foot note for the Kennedy dynasty. All he could never be. His legacy will outlast his brothers and I do not mean to demean his accomplishments. He worked through many demons in his quest for all of us. He could not replace JFK or RFK, but he did a hell of a job trying. Something died inside me today. Ted Kennedy put his brothers to rest and now he will be put to rest. He may not be the brightest star in the heavins, but he outshines all of us. God Bless.

    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  57. alice voorhies

    While the Kennedys were flawed, as we all are, they made me believe in the greatness of this nation. I was too young to vote for Jack but, because of him, I've had a lifetime of interest in politics and in this country. They paid a heavy price for the United States and we owe the family a debt of gratitude.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  58. Martyn Bignell

    As a Brit living and working in America, my view from the outside is, the Kennedy's have been the closest thing have you had to royality since you kicked us out.

    Martyn Bignell, Fort Lauderdale.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  59. Phil, Georgia

    The Kennedy's epitomizes what our fore-fathers invisioned America to be. They fought for those Rights and Policies that would continually enhance life. Also, they showed how to have great wealth, status and to use these things to help others. They embody poor, middle and rich class. We have to honor our great leaders, learn what made them truly great, and nurture those who are following in there footsteps like our President.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  60. Maria

    The Kennedys came on the poilical scene through their father's "take no prisoners"acumen, his political conections and Ethel's money. With good looking children they became the closest to royaty we had in this country, A war hero, 2 assinated brothers, the death of John Jr,. an eccentric mother, a noble sister, spouses with drinking probelms and hot conections to Hollywood, infidelities, murder, the horrendous treatment by the father Joseph, of their mentally disabled sister Elizabeth. Now Caroline is in the political wings. It's been lives writ large and viewed large, And there are so manny Kennedy cousins, there wil be another 50 years of obsessive interest.


    August 26, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  61. Michael Odegard

    Image was everything, to the superficial, irresponsible and vain generation which set popular trends over the last 50 years. The Kennedy brothers had a great image, when you overlooked their profound shortcomings as statesmen.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  62. Jennifer - Winnipeg

    Jack, the Kennedy brothers never did anything 'in the background'. They were always right out there 'in your face'. Not for egotistical reasons, but for the love of serving their country. The Kennedy's have had more than their share of tragedies and America, not to mention the world, suffered right along with them. Who wouldn't be fascinated with a family like that? My sympathies go out to Ted Kennedy's family and all who held him dear to their hearts.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  63. Dolores Wolfe

    The fascination has much to do with the fact that they understood so well – & lived their lives accordingly – that to those who are given much must also give much. Unlike too many of the present day politicians who deem themselves as so much more worthy than the "common" man – and therefore try their best to make sure that those "common" people are not allowed to share the bounty.....the GOP have perfected that edict to a degree I have not seen in my lifetime (& I rue the days that I too was a Republican). Perhaps – just perhaps – some of those shallow, hypocritical parasites will do the right thing by honoring Ted Kennedy with passage of health reform. We can only hope!

    New York

    August 26, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  64. LEN - IL.

    Because the Kennedy's were concerned with helping the people in need. The other party helps the rich and act like we are dirt under their feet. The Kennedy's may have had marital problems etc. but tell me one President or Congress person, except for Carter, that hasn't had the same thing the Kennedy's have had? Very good people.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  65. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    When Jack Kennedy became president he was the youngest president to ever take office. He had a beautiful wife and two young children. He came from wealth and a well known family. People were fascinated with his charm and the way he handled himself. After his assassination the interest in the Kennedy family especially Bobby and Ted only grew. There was always something happening with the Kennedys. Bobby was assassinated and Ted and the bridge at Chappaquiddick plus the many other sudden deaths in the family especially John F. Kennedy Jr. All this led many to believe there was a curse on the family. People could not get enough of the Kennedys. I think with the passing of Ted Kennedy the interest in the family will fade. I think Ted left the biggest shoes to fill. I am just a ordinary working stiff from Pennsylvania and felt Senator Kennedy represented people like me more than any other senator.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  66. paul coke

    A true dynasty at play. I had the privilage of meeting the senator a couple of times dicussing labor and social justice issues, and, he had a positive message and really a real "Yes we Can person," In todays politics is there still room for artful politicians?

    August 26, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  67. david doherty

    One of the things that most impressed me about Sen. Ted Kennedy was when some of our soldiers were returning from Iraq on leave, the flight landed in Indianapolis, IN. and the troops were heading to Massachusetts well the government (bush era) refused to fly them any further and was going to bus them the rest of the way. Well Sen. Kennedy, out of his own pocket leased a aircraft to fly them the rest of the way. Now that’s an American! As a former airline employee I can tell ya, that ain’t cheap.

    Dave from NH.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  68. Bernie from Tarpon Springs, FL


    The Kennedy's were America's answer to a Greek Tragedy. There was power, money, sex scandals, great victories and inglorious defeats. There will never be another family like then in America!

    August 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  69. Jackie in Dallas

    Because those in power ALWAYS fascinate especially when they appear bigger than life, as in the Kennedy brothers. It doesn’t matter what country you live in. That’s why there is such fascination in the royals in England, why the Perons were both heros and villains in Argentina, and why the Kennedy family represents both the best and worst of American politics.

    The Kennedys were a paradox: a family of wealth who believed in service to others and giving back to the country that granted them the opportunity to make that wealth. The three brothers, John, Robert, and Ted, were noteworthy, in both their aspirations and accomplishments, and their failures.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  70. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Shakespeare's epitaph for Henry V aptly and concisely explains our fascination with each of the Kennedy's..

    "Small time, but in that small greatly lived this Star...."

    And though Ted would have insisted Eunice or his brothers should stand before, yet he was that rarest of beings. A public servant in whom cool moderation, genuine fellow feeling, and breadth of judgment are combined with resolute action. He pursued and defended a middle way with that constancy and determination usually only given to fanatics. History has marked him for greatness.

    Arlington Texas

    August 26, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  71. Anne -- Sulphur, LA

    Because no matter how rich the late Senators family became, they never completely forgot what the working public had to go through. In addition to that, they never pretended to be better than the rest of us. Warts and all the late Senator and his brothers embodied the American Dream for many of us and made us believe in ourselves again.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  72. Gordin Edheh

    I caught my fascination for the Kennedies from my father. I read books by Arthur Schlesinger on the family and those alive I followed faithfully.
    Honey Fritz the father of Rose Kennedy whom JFK was named after was quite a character in Boston politics.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  73. Joe in VA

    John Kennedy inspired may of us baby boomer in our youth and his assassination fundamentally changed America, as we saw it, forever. Then came the assassination of his brother and later the true story of all the good and bad about the Kennedy clan, the mistique of the Kennedy curse, and an understanding of father Joe Kennedy's unrelenting rise to power. It is a true story better than any novel that could be written. That's why the public has remained fascinated with the Kennedy's, halos, warts and all.

    Chatham, VA

    August 26, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  74. Katiec Pekin, IL

    We shared in their happiness and their tragedies. Unfortunately,
    this family seemed to have an overbundance of tragedies
    concerning their loved ones. People felt for and were supportive of
    Senator Ted Kennedy was a true representive for and supporter of
    middle class America, the poor and the unfortunate. He made
    improvements possible for all of us in his role as a senator.
    He will be greatly missed.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  75. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Any" fascination" with the Kennedy's for the most part died with Robert. The media trailed John Kennedy until the plane crash. As for Ted, 30 years ago it became evident to all that Ted would only visit the White House. As for the number of Kennedy offspring, none in politics made a dent in the system. In short, the "Kennedy phenomena" was media driven.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  76. Katiec Pekin, IL

    If heath care reform is delayed, than the American people are the
    victims. It will be a continuation of big business raping the American people.
    We cannot allow this to happen.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  77. Sean from Canada

    I'd have to say because the Kennedy’s were the all American boys who could do no wrong. They were young boys out to lead America with hope for the future. Everyone knew them, they were the boys who lived down the street in the big house with the red door and white picket fence, and the one whose oldest brother went off to war and died for America… I'm 24 years old live in Canada and heck feel like they were my friends when I was a kid.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  78. Alice Zyetz

    Dear Jack,
    it's ironic that today on the morning I was listening to stories about Ted Kennedy, I discovered that the $1145.00 bill I received from a hospital was for my regular medicines that were administered to me while I was a patient 'under observation" for two days and were not covered by Medicare. Of course I was prohibited from bringing in my own supply.

    They had the chutzpah to charge $266 each for a generic drug, Diltiazim"!!!!!!!!!! When I complained, they said "Don't worry, your Part D will pay for it." This is just one piece of evidence that shows how outrageous the charges are–that it's okay to charge that if "someone else" will pay. Of course, that someone else is all of us–plus it will put me in the dreaded "doughhnut hole."

    Jack, I'm sending this to you because I know you're a fighter and I don't know how to make this public in any other way. I don't want Ted Kennedy to have died in vain for his health care dream.

    Thank you,
    Alice Zyetz

    August 26, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  79. Michael Odegard

    America remained fascinated with the Kennedy brothers for 50 years because America has been trapped in denial that long. The denial is this: Americans want some politician to fix all the problems for them. They don't seem to understand that change has to begin with the American people and then the politicians carry out the popular will. The Kennedy brothers, like Obama, presented a false king like image that people wanted to believe in.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  80. Kerry Florida

    I think it's because throughout their history during the tragedies and triumphs they remained strong and in the center of the largest issues this country has faced during and since WWII.

    The wealth the Kennedy family accumulated was utilized in accomplishing some of the most important achievements this country has seen and even with some would call the Kennedy curse they remained determined to help mold and change this country.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  81. Janice from Collingswood NJ

    The Kennedy Family was a dynesty of service to the world and I do not think we shall ever see that again. It grieves me to think that it may be over. BTW, for those who wondered why Obama wanted to get the Healthcare Bill done so quickly, now you know. It was to give Teddy the peace in knowing that the one thing he fought his whole career for, was finally done, so to give him rest.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  82. bobwhite in Kansas

    The facination by Americans for the Kennedy brothers over 50 odd years has been due to the contradiction of their lives. We Americans envy power and powerful people. And the Kennedy's had several forms of power. But our facination is the fact that unlike typical American power mongers, the Kennedy's exercised their power to a large extent for and in behalf of those who did not have power of their own; the disadvantaged, challenged, working-class, poor, common, etc. Not only atypical and unusual, all together facinating!

    August 26, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  83. Sam Tighiouart

    I hope this answers your question. To this generation he was a living legend. To the future he will be a legendary icon who served not only the State of Massachusetts, but our Country as well as other Countries. His leadership knew no boundaries nor did the respect that his leadership garnered him.

    Our generation will carry his memory in our hearts and minds forever, for generations to come, he will forever be penned in the books of history, woven into the very pages that bare his name and deeds.

    He was beyond iconic, he was a human with a cause that transcended boundaries, that encouraged us to do more for others and to be better for ourselves, he captured hearts and our imagination.

    He will be missed but never forgotten.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  84. Jay in Texas

    Americans have been fascinated with the Kennedy brothers, I believe, because here were 3 men who were born in a wealthy and priviledged family and yet they fought for the poor and underpriviledged their entire adult lives.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 26, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  85. Mark in OKC

    Because we were so drawn to the promise of a young and vigorous leader like JFK. When JFK was killed, our hopes were dashed and then crushed again when Robert was killed. Ever since, we have been waiting for someone in the Kennedy family to pick up the fallen crest of JFK and lead us to greatness once again. Sadly, it seems that day may never come.

    Oklahoma City

    August 26, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  86. Anne/Seattle

    The Kennedys remained fascinating to America because, in spite of faults or strengths, they are charismatic and have demonstrated the American dream for three generations. For all those who looked to the Kennedys to lead, they saw the family as hope for the strength and success of the United States.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  87. george

    There is one reason, and one reason only. They were all people's people, doing things that other polititians promise to do, but never do. It was a love affair that will last through the centuries, now talk about legacies, the Kennedy's have one. The sad part is that they did not live long enough to do the most good for the people, but their hopes and wishes live on in the hearts of the people. Don't ever believe for one second that if, and when the people speak, they will be heard. Isn't it a wonderful country that we live in, and the Kennedy's had a great deal to do with it...

    August 26, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  88. bill rupert

    I think you nailed it Jack when you said they were the closest thing to Royalty we have. Not unlike the fascination with hollywood and celebrity in general. I guess it's human nature.
    Money, good lucks, intelligence and Irish wit – and Joe Seniors rise to wealth and fame during the 1920's and 30's. It's made for PRIME TIME BABY!
    I've heard it said that when any of the boys walked into a room something special was going on. You can't teach that. You either have it or you don't. Frankly, I don't think we have seen an equal to Jack Kennedy's carisma since his death – and, we may never see it again.... people yearn for the Kennedy type leadership cause they were born to do it..... Warts and all.... It's our royal family after all.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  89. Mageen in Northern Virginia

    Just the brothers? Thats way too little. What Rose Kennedy taught her kids about having so much and giving back I also heard at home. Consequently I knew who all the Kennedys were. It was like we were related, even if by memorandum. Thanks to Jack's presidential campaign I got active in politics and still am. Something I will never forget about Teddy is his incredible jump off a ski run during Jack's campaign. Yes, he skied a little but he was never the Olympic type yet by gosh he did it! Liked that a lot! And as long as I can remember and talk about what they achieved they are for me still alive.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  90. bill rupert

    The Kennedy Mystique! I think a lot of people still yearn for a Kennedy in the White House because that were born to it Jack. Warts and all!
    You said it....It's our Royal family.
    Money, Influence, Good looks, smarts and oh – that Kennedy Charisma.
    You can't teach. You either have it or you don't and I think we miss it and may never see it again. Not like that.

    Bud/Reston, VA

    August 26, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  91. Karen, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Hi Jack,

    We all loved Camelot–it was like a fairy tale with Jack and Jackie as King and Queen. Robert Kennedy was appealing because of his honest ideals and foreward looking ideas. The rest of the Kennedys were just there–in the background–including Ted, who lost a lot of his appeal after the accident from which he tried to run and hide. The Kennedys have been in the limelight for 50 years because the press loved them and wouldn't let them die–sort of the all American dynasty.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  92. william fitzwater

    The country has always looked to people of big stature ( the Kennedy clan were giants). These people are now part of both our national history & mythology. Both of good & personal failings. However their legacy will live on...

    August 26, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  93. Leslie

    I think that we were in love with this family because they were a becon of hope to the not so fortunate of us. The first catholic president. The frist president to date a starlet ect. Americans will be in love with the Obamas and the Clintons just the same.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  94. Mary Lyles

    The comment made earlier comparing the reaction of people to the death of MJ and Teddy Kennedy is STRAIGHT UP UNFAIR! BOTH contributed to this world as well as the black community in their own fashion. Cafferty come on man be fair not bias! -Granny
    P.S (the gran kid still loves you and agrees with you.) =D

    August 26, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  95. Ronald Holst

    jack this is an easy one they gave more than most for this country and asked for little for them selves .

    August 26, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  96. j/NJ

    Why did America remain fascinated with the Kennedy brothers for more than 50 years?

    JFK's presidency and untimely death not only shocked the world but forecast among other things an enduring Kennedy legacy...the heart wrenching assassination of RFK underscoring a period of widespread social upheaval was no less shattering...had he lived and been elected president in 1968, America and the world would be much better places in very significant ways than either are presently...by contrast Ted Kennedy's destiny distinguished him as one of America's most exemplary and accomplished legislators...we hoped he would recover from his illness, he is truly an American icon and will be missed no less substantively than his brothers...

    August 26, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  97. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Because they were three brothers all with the same dream THE THREE MUSKETERS one for all and all for one heroes all of them.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  98. Vinnie Vino


    The Kennedy's in the eyes of many of us lived a storybook life with chapther after chapther of heartbreaking tribulations that left them devastated and time after time they would go on to fight for equal rights and affordable public services for every one of us, they truly did live the American dream. God rest your soul Teddy...

    Vinnie Vino
    Central Islip, New York

    August 26, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  99. Liz in Los Angeles, CA

    America stayed "fascinated" with the Kennedy family because the press stayed fascinated with the Kennedy family. I wonder how the Kopechne family feels after all these years; they lost a daughter because of Ted Kennedy, but were they remembered? No they weren't.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  100. Brian


    I'm only 27, so I missed most of the Kennedy reign. But from this perspective, it is clear they were immensely charismatic people, and in this country, that's really all it takes. Americans also love known quanitities, so once the first Kennedy became a household name, the rest were a shoe-in. It turned out they all had the brains and charisma that could probably be officially coined as "Kennedy Charm," which led America to endear them like we would an embattled hero in a television drama, sometimes flawed but still the hero nonetheless.

    The Kennedy legacy of my lifetime is one shaped more by the "curse" than the "blessings." I haven't seen the rise of a single Kennedy...only the unfortunate deaths of several of them, along with the partisan hatred of Teddy in my home state of Republican Idaho. Yet, as a testament to their mystical influence on America, I have always been aware of their legacy.


    August 26, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  101. Alveta, Maryland

    Because all the Kennedy Brothers were involved in Politics, and they were pretty good at there jobs. It's rare to get four brother's in politics that cared about the American People.
    My God Bless the Kennedy Family.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  102. John from Alabama

    Jack: The Kennedy's were young with a mission of service to this nation. We got older, but John and Robert are still young heroes to this nation. Teddy worked tirelessly for health care reform. They were men of ideas with a passion to get things done the right way. We new they came from a wealth family, but they made America feel like the Kennedy's live across the street. They did let their positions go to their heads. Fifty years seems to have been a blink of eye, but to most it has been our lifetime. We grew up with the Kennedy's.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  103. Ron Temecula

    Hello Jack:

    I am deeply saddened, it's the end of an era. The Kennedy's were true representatives of the American people. They were a team. They abttled injustice against the American people. And for that effort two were murdered. Ted was the last of an era. Pride in the American way of life. Truth and juctice.

    I can only encourage the young Kennedy's to follow in the footsteps of John Sr. "President Kennedy", Bobby, John's "Attorney General" and Presidential Candidate. Both murdered. And now Ted. Follow their aexample amd make America what it was so many years ago. Strong, Proud, and Free.

    My deeoest Sympathy to the Kennedy family..

    God Bless to All,
    Ron Kepics. Temecula, Ca

    August 26, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  104. Richard McKinney, Texas

    I would agree with Bill Rupert with one exception Jack and that is murder. Your not born into that either. Every one is giving Kennedy a pass on Mary Jo and what I don't understand about all of this is that he did nothing to help. That makes him the worst kind of human. Even a drunk can repent or call for help. A coward too afraid for what it might do to his career will always be a coward.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  105. Ron Temecula

    Hello Jack:

    I am deeply saddened, it’s the end of an era. The Kennedy’s were true representatives of the American people. They were a team. They battled injustice against the American people. And for that effort two were murdered. Ted was the last of an era. Pride in the American way of life. Truth and juctice.

    I can only encourage the young Kennedy’s to follow in the footsteps of John Sr. “President Kennedy”, Bobby, John’s “Attorney General” and Presidential Candidate. Both murdered. And now Ted. Follow their example amd make America what it was so many years ago. Strong, Proud, and Free.

    My deepest Sympathy to the Kennedy family..

    God Bless to All,
    Ron Kepics. Temecula, Ca

    August 26, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  106. Tim in Texas

    There are those things you have mentioned, Jack, the sense of a lifestyle tinged with a 'golden' quality juxtaposed with the extremes of tragedy and the almost larger than life human failings and flaws - that gave the lives of the Kennedy brothers an almost storybook quality. But, more than all of that, I think, there was a strong morality in these men - a passionate belief that emerged in all of them - and from what seems such an unlikely background - that we would all be better off by protecting and providing greater access and opportunity to the most vulnerable and powerless in our society - the handicapped, the laborers, the stigmatized, the senior citizens. And in doing so, they became like our big brothers - our protectors and defenders. It's why, I guess, we call them Jack, and Bobby, and Teddy - and feel their loss as we would that of our own family members.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  107. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    Having the best publicists and media connections available during a time of limited media added to their impact on the American conciousness. But, it was primarily due to their youthful idealism and wilingness to stand up to entrenched powers and to social structures. The Kennedy's gave a voice to the little guy and to the young, saying that the best is yet to come.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  108. Robert Rafferty

    A man/family of much wealth and power. Whom have directed both to work FOR THE PEOPLE – ALL THE PEOPLE! Not based on finances of friends, but based soley on the fact that, As a person living in this country you have value and deserve to live the same life as the IMAGE we portrey to the world.
    It's funny, Michael Jackson impacted many, but so many fewer then Edward Kennedy. Michael Jackson will live on in his songs, Edward Kennedy must live on through the work he has put in motion throughout his life. All those that share the title and office of Ted Kennedy need to reflect back at the work and allow his legacy to live on in "The Edward Kennedy Health Care Reform" which includes a Public Option leaning twords a goal of Universal Health Care for all.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:57 pm |

    The Kennedys have lost so much and yet they percervered. They are true icons of the typical family. With all the family's money and power they are just as vulnerable as the next.
    They were truly people for people and for some reason when they faulted they were easy to forgive. I guess it was the charm that ran in the family.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  110. joe m

    romance. same with presley, monroe, dean, cobain, and all other iconic figures. ted kennedy was the last of the triumvirate of a powerful clan that rose from the dreams of a driven father. first was the loss of the king, then the shinning knight, and now camelot trully ends as gawain himself takes that last journey. america and americans, despite the sometimes gruff exterior, still loves romance.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  111. Dolores Surprise AZ

    The Kennedy's had faults, like everyone else, but I don't think there is any family that tried harder to do things for the ordinary citizen, and the underpriviledged, no matter their race. They were all very priviledged and I think that made it all the more honorable for them to do so much for the people not a lucky as they. I will always remember the Kennedy's for the fact that they ALL worked so hard for everyone and not just for the wealthy. They, like everyone, should be remembered for the good they did and not for the mistakes they made. They had so much tragedy in thier lives but never gave up their desire to help others.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  112. Lois, Ont., Canada

    Because they wealthy, powerful politicians, Also they were good looking. the men were womanizers who were always making the news. People love that. Their affairs were not kept secret!

    August 26, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  113. Judie Williams EL Lago


    Not initially, but as years passed it was a life of service for so many of the Kennedy's that was instilled by Rose Kennedy.

    Did we not need someone to reach out to when John Kennedy was elected? The Kennedy family, not unlike many others has known heartache and heartbreak, yet they continued on.

    Sure there were ALL those other stories, yet who amongst would want a microscope on our own personal lives?

    Power-wealth-prestige, and yet they will bury their loved one, and grieve in private.....and remember.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  114. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    From two of the brothers being war hero's one of which was killed to one becoming a US President one an attorney general and the youngest a US Senator. With the deaths of Jack and John and Bobby the people of the United States adopted the rest of the Kennedy's as our family and I think everyone has felt sorrow with the losses that they have had during the past forty five years. It has truly been sad.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  115. Deb I , Nauvoo, IL

    The Kennedy family are among the best America has given the world. A self made family, they dared to care about those who did not have as much as they did. Instead of jet-setting their lives away, they gave back. Their lives were not speckled with the greed of the Bushes or the pettinesses of the Clintons. They were men: strong, gracious, loving even in their mistakes. Only if America is blessed will we see their like again.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  116. Carla Martin-Wood, Birmingham, AL

    I can only speak to my own fascination - with a group of wealthy, entitled people who put their lives on the line for the common man and woman. They never had to lift a finger. Yet they gave their lives in service - for equal rights, for the indigent and the ill, for the homeless and forgotten - and Ted died fighting for healthcare reform. They didn't stop in the face of one tragedy after another, in the face of gossip and being maligned, and not even in the face of assassin's bullets. They were the best of humanity, and they will not die - because they are the stuff of legends.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  117. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Not yet time to count the dead.
    Battle rages on.
    Victory's yet ahead.

    The Dunfey family, Billy Bulger, John Cullinane, the Irish who stood shoulder to shoulder with Teddy for civil rights, equal rights, human rights, will now stand for Teddy here, now that he stands with the brothers there.
    Sinn fein.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  118. Emmanuel Mapesa

    Hey Jack, Let the Kennedys rest in peace.

    Emmanuel Mapesa
    Leipzig, Germany.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  119. Peg from NY

    All three Kennedy Brothers were committed to the betterment of the USA and all its' citizens, regardless of race, color, creed, etc.

    Each persevered to see that "hope still lives, work begins anew and the dream lives on."

    August 26, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  120. Jeff in Houston

    For my age group, the Kennedy's represented one of the first major steps forward in terms of a truly progressive agenda, one focused on the possibilities represented by the young, not the dogma of the old. The personal foibles were tirvial compared to what they tried to accomplish. It seems the enemies of progress made the most of those tired old scandals. The sad thing is that Obama is trying to pick up that progressive mantle, and just like the Kennedy's in their time, he is being slapped down for his efforts. I am old enough to rememebr some of these hypocrites who are now praisaing Kenndy were the same pack of wolves after his skin becasue he cared what happened to the little guy. Makes me sick.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  121. Dee in Florida

    Because the MEDIA has been enthralled by the Kennedy brothers (and indeed the entire family) for the past 50 years!!!

    If the media quit talking about every thing they did, every breath they took, every escapade they got into, then AMERICA would have forgotten them as quickly as any other family!

    August 26, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  122. Elizabeth, Clarksville, Tennessee

    The real love story and facination started with John Kennedy when he became President. What a sad, sad day in Dallas and all over the world. People created stories that President Kennedy was still alive on a remote island, but wasn't capable of carrying out his duties because they did not want him to be gone. After his untimely death, the people began to reach out for more and wanted Robert Kennedy to fill a void left by his brother's passing. Robert Kennedy would probably have been elected to the Presidency if he had not been gunned down. Senator Ted Kennedy's unsuccessful run for the White House was another disappointment, but he was embraced in Massachusetts and served the country well as Senator. Historians do not record John F. Kennedy as the greatest President, but many baby boomers coming of age when he was elected thought he was a ray of sunshine in a world of dull politics.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  123. Christy Sandhoff

    TK is an example of no matter how much good you attempt it is the bad that you are always known for. He was an alcoholic, and it caused him, his family, and all of us pain we should never have had to endure. All of us that are now sober, whether for a long time or a short time, know what this is and means. Many people, (and hopefully God too) has forgiven TK (if he asked for it). But the results of our sins are never taken away, and no one will ever know what contributions Mary Jo Kopechne could have made to our world. And no matter how many accolades are given to TK for the many things he tried and accomplished during his life, this one fact remains......forever in his legacy.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  124. Michelle Foster

    They inspired us to do better for ourselves and our country. They gave us hope and challenged us to be a better nation. I would love to see them dancing together today

    August 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  125. LImmie Pulliam


    The positive impact that Ted Kennedy has made on this country, through his life of public service, is immeasurable. The less fortunate have lost a true advocate and friend, the fight for equality has lost a general from amongst its ranks and America has lost a true hero. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and colleagues of Senator Edward Moore Kennedy, the last Prince of Camelot.


    August 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  126. Bronwen Taylor

    I think your questions is best answered in the movie "Nixon". Nixon (played by Anthony Hopkins) said, "they look at me, and see who they are, they look at him (President Kennedy) and see who they could be."

    August 26, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  127. Robert Prescott


    Our collective fascination with the Kennedy family stems from their unselfish willingness to take up so many of the issues that we care about. As a family of haves, they fought for the have-nots. They were committed to righting wrongs, fighting injustice wherever they found it and in an America that has become disappointingly partisan and polarized, we always knew that if a Kennedy was involved that there was at the very least an opportunity for compromise.

    I was a junior in high school when President Kennedy was assassinated, a returning veteran when we lost Bobby, and now as I near the age of retirement Senator Kennedy is taken from us. It seems, at least for me, a Kennedy tragedy has accompanied so many of the significant junctures of my life. Once again, we have lost a great American.


    August 26, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  128. sharon.mueller

    we will truly miss ted kennedy it is an end of an era no more camelot & so sad

    August 26, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  129. Paul

    The Kennedy family reflects what America can be at its best.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  130. Eric

    We have been constantly fascinated with the Kennedy brothers because they represented what could have been. As each brother met demise we placed our expectations and hope for change on the next in line. Ted was the one who got to fulfill much of this hope but we still wonder what could have been....and that is what is hard to let go.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  131. leslie

    They had so much, and could have lived a life of comfort, but they chose to fight for the rights of those fortunate. Flawed as their lives might have been, the made up for it in honor to our country. Maybe the younger Kennedy generation might not be as public, but they are contributing. Robert Kennedy Jr. has fought for the health of this country for years.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  132. Mary Jo in St. Louis

    50 years is only the beginning for the legacy of remembrance for the Kennedy brothers. They are elevated because they have been lifted up onto the shoulders of the "common man" that they have devoted their lives to help. In spite of their great family wealth, they knew that the only true measure of a man is what he can do to elevate others rather than himself. Thank you, Ted.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  133. Jo from Arizona

    The Kennedy's did have their ups and downs, not always very moral, but I believe as politicians they were all A-1 in their fields. I miss all of the Kennedy brothers and I will miss Ted as well. He was one heck of a senator.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  134. Desire' Atem, Pittsburgh Pa

    We are fascinated by the Kennedy because they transform the Democratic party to look more like the party President Lincoln form. A party where every one is not just equal in front of God but in front of Man himself.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  135. Hal

    Senator Ted Kennedy's death has shined light on the Kennedy family. I am 41 years old and I can only read history about the life and death of his previous siblings. This death has woke me up and I was more than happy to shed a tear for such a loss.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  136. chad

    America was facinated with the kennedy's because of the classic American dream personified their family. Their father was an imigrant who got rich in the depression(land of opportunity) and they used it in a positive manner to fight for equality for everyone. Oh yeah they also stayed rich. Camalot at it's finest!

    August 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  137. Susan

    I'm not so sure the American public was as enamored with the Kennedys as was the press.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  138. Dennis S

    The Kennedy's capture the Nation's attention because of their commitment to the common weal. What other wealthy family ever had that commitment ? None, nada, zip !
    PS when is Dobbs getting fired?

    August 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  139. Richard McKinney, Texas

    Jack all of the Kennedy's came from wealth and that wealth bought their way into the American hearts. No one read or watches TV about the poor. That is not news that is life. What makes Americans watch politicians is money. What makes Americans vote is money just look at Obama's campaign. he far outspent any other politician. So when we look at politicians we should only see one thing and that is money because sadly that is the way it is plain and simple.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  140. Tim in Delafield, Wi

    He fought for the little guy. Most talk about it, then forget. He talk, then fought, fought and fought.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  141. Limmie in Missouri


    The positive impact that Ted Kennedy has made on this country, through his life of public service, is immeasurable. The less fortunate have lost a true advocate and friend, the fight for equality has lost a general from amongst its ranks and America has lost a true hero. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Senator Edward Moore Kennedy, the last Prince of Camelot.


    August 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  142. Ron Temecula

    Hello Jack:

    I am deeply saddened, it’s the end of an era. The Kennedy’s were true representatives of the American people. They were a team. They battled injustice against the American people. And for that effort two were murdered. Ted was the last of an era. Pride in the American way of life. Truth and juctice.

    I can only encourage the young Kennedy’s to follow in the footsteps of John Sr. “President Kennedy”, Bobby, John’s “Attorney General” and Presidential Candidate. Both murdered. And now Ted. Follow their example and make America what it was so many years ago. Strong, Proud, and Free.

    My deepest Sympathy to the Kennedy family..

    God Bless to All,
    Ron Kepics. Temecula, Ca

    August 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  143. Larry Doak

    Ted Kennedy embodied the spirit of the 1960's that said we could do anything we set our minds to, including going to the moon. I'm sad to say, with the passing of Sen. Edward Kennedy, the 1960's are finally over.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  144. Nigerian

    Despite the tragedies of the Kennedys, their selfless devotion in fighting for helpless and hopeless of all mankind and most especially all Americans is unequaled.
    Their lives work touched everyone all over the world.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  145. Marion Samler

    The fascination with the Kennedys. They were at their core, men who loved their country implicidly, cared about those who were the underdog and helpless and they loved their families in a way we can only imagine.

    Ted Kennedy will be remembered as a man who at his core was a good man, but human. He made mistake, wasn't always at his best but he did his best by the deeds he accomplished and those he hoped to accomplish. He cared for people in a way that many of your politicians do not. He didn't "play" politics with human lives.

    I weep at his loss, especially at this time for your country but hope that during this health care crisis you will remember the selflessness of this man when it came to caring for his fellow Americans, especially those who are the forgotten.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  146. Michael From Tallahassee

    The U.S. is so fascinated with the Kennedy dynasty because they were America's knights in shining armor. The war hero, the king, the martyr, and the good soul they're all there. I can only hope America will remember to keep the dream alive.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  147. Russ

    ...because all four brothers were the embodiment of John F. Kennedy's challenge to his fellow Americans to "ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country." Three gave their lives for their country, and the last give his to it.

    Golden, CO

    August 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  148. Lourdes

    Although they came from Upper Class upbringings, their public service made them feel that ALL could achieve whatever they dreamed, no matter what tragedy may come your way, you could endure and press on. When they spoke about Americans we always felt....they were talking about all of us in every in the middle class, every of religion, and of every race. PURE AMERICAN TO AMERICAN.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  149. David Mann

    The American people have been fascinated by the Kennedys because, in the end, be it good or bad, the Kennedys were the epitome of what a politician SHOULD be. During prosperity and success, they shared in making America a better place for us all. During trying times and times of scandal, they admitted fault with sincerity, dignity, and class and corrected their course. They were a different breed of politician than we see today, committed to putting country above self, and truly were America's royalty. Senator Kennedy will be missed!

    August 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  150. Linda in Arizona

    Oh, I don't know about "America". What is "America" anymore anyway? I just love the Kennedys. They care about their country and they care about people. I'm 68. They have been a part of my life for a long time. I'm too sad to speculate on why "America" was fascinated by them.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  151. Dianne

    I believe because of the tradegies this family has endured, and the will to continue to be committed to public service, makes this family stand out more than any other public servant.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  152. Regina

    I believe we were so capitivated by the Kennedy's because they stood for what was right with America. They believe wholeheartedly in equality for all and they did not back down from this belief even when it was not popular and even dangerous! They were like all of us who had great big loving families that may have not been perfect but were dedicated to one another. It is the end of an era and we should all celebrate Ted's life and the legacy he and his brothers left. Peace be with the Kennedy family.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  153. Mike Gelman

    Jack the answer is very simple.

    They were people of privilege that could have lived the rich life. They chose instead to live a life helping others. They cared about their country and they cared about helping the underprivileged.

    Mike Gelman

    Flowery Branch, GA

    August 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  154. Heidi from Arizona

    I believe that the Kennedy's, although a sort of a dynasty – also appear to be just like you and me. Sure one brother was President and one brother was Attorney General and one brother was a Senator, but the Kennedy family is a lot bigger than those 3. They are an inspiration to me in the way they live their lives – giving to others. They have all been instilled with that philosophy of: Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. And they have done for their country and I thank them. As a former Massachusetts resident, I was proud to call Ted Kennedy my senator and now as an Arizona resident, I don't feel the same about John McCain – too bad. Maybe he could learn a lesson or two from the Kennedys.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  155. Jeri - California

    They worked to keep the bar high and the momentum forward thinking.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  156. JoAnn Bartlett

    I can't fathom a world without a Kennedy brother in it, showing us how to give back to our country. All the Kennedy brothers lived by giving much from those who have much and that is something we need to remember as we conduct our lives. They had their faults and that made them human, rather than gods. They symbolize the ability to hold and share that hope with Americans. Would that positive outlook be renewed in our country instead of all the negative and division that keeps us apart. Blessings to all the Kennedy family. You've showed us one way to better our country and we will miss Ted too.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  157. carolyn

    They represented hope throughout many dark and dismal days.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  158. Roy

    Because the Kennedy brothers were all wealthy and did not need to do anything and yet they all stood up for the little guy. The world will be worse off without the Kennedy brothers.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  159. phyllis keith

    The Kennedy's cared about the poor, uneducated, and all classes of
    society. He was a great politician who fought for humanity for this country. He will be missed fighting for the little guy.
    Phyllis – Ohio

    August 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  160. Sheri : From Arkansas

    Most of America knew that the Kennedys were working for the good of
    the COUNTRY!! Never self-serving, always a true advocate of the middle
    class, the poor, and those that had were unable to speak for themselves.
    The Lion on the Senate will be truly missed by all of us.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  161. Denlo6

    They were rich, famous and good looking and all they really cared about was helping people who were less fortunate. I think this made them very appealing to everyone. Not only did Ted take care of his own children but helped to take care of his brothers children, when they were taking from their families in such a horrific way.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  162. Nikki/san diego

    Because the Kennedys in general had a way of making the often forgotten Americans, counted for, especially when it came to the real benefits of being American! Good night and Thank you "Uncle Teddy".

    August 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  163. Doris Cooks

    I loved the Kennedy family because they were so good looking and so was President Kennedys' Son. I really hate he died in that plane crash. And yes you juess it, I am a Black Women. Love Ya!

    August 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  164. Annie, Atlanta

    That’s simple, they gave us the impression that regular people were what mattered. How many other politicians can we say that about? (Deafening silence.)

    August 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm |

    The Kennedy's endured, because they always were doing things FOR this country, unlike the republicans, who always do things TO this country. whiteagle38

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  166. Richard

    Aside from the wealth, the glamor and all the money Camelot could bestow upon them, when it came down to the issues, real people could see the real passion brewing inside these men. I remember Ted Kennedy when he was debating the Iraq war. He was the only senator on television who had true anger for the waste of life and money that that misguided war lead us into. Passionate defense for the little guy will always be their legacy.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  167. Jason in California

    The Kennedys were weathly Jack, yet they were the people's Champion! The Kennedy's championed the causes of less fortunate people across the country, they truely cared about people. Too bad Republican rich aren't from the same tree.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  168. Brian Smith PhD

    Why the fascination? Because the U.S. does not have a queen. That is, we don't have a queen in politics.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  169. Doris/St Louis

    My family and I are fascinated with the Kennedy family because; the Kennedy's have a spirit of caring for humanity, to me it is as if they are trying very hard to right a wrong in this country, and throughout the world. Their spirit will live on forever. Out of many there will always be one, who can feel the need of the comman man, and lend a helping hand. I thank God for the spirit of caring.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  170. Scott Stodden

    Jack Iam 33yrs old and only truly remember Teddy Kennedy and I loved him. He was a true Senator from Massachusettes and stood strong on what he believed in. Senator Teddy Kennedy wasn't just there for the people of Massachusettes but for everybody else to. He will be sorely missed and loved by so many people including me, my condolences and sympathies go out to the Kennedy family and friends as they suffer from such a sad, sad loss. I honestly could have seen or imagined Teddy as President, Teddy I thank you so much for all you've done for people, for being a great & wonderful Senator and truly for being just a warm and loving person. This is why America was so fascinated by Teddy cuz there's no one else like him. Rest In Peace Senator Edward "Teddy" Kennedy we love you and miss you and may you be the guardian angel for the country cuz we truly need you. 1932-2009

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,IL)

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  171. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    Because for the past fifty years they have been in some kinds of public service. Their lives have been an open book and much of the story has given the gossip columnists plenty to chew on.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  172. NANCY

    They were all fantastic orators. They could speak the English language as if they were on stage for Skakspeare and with heart. They didn't mumble their answers of feelings. They could expand on any subject a have true historical knowedge. That is what I will miss. I felt Biden should have used his talk this morning screaming how disgusted Sen Kennedy would be about the health reform. Kennedy would have use this opertune time to orate this most desperate situation for ALL. Nancy/Oklahoma

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  173. judy Best

    maybe the fascination for the Kennedy brothers endured because they didn't just talk the talk, they walked the walk...they dedicated their entire lives to helping out the underdog...who was it that said "to whom much is given, much is expected"

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  174. Daniel Wickham

    The main reason I believe the public is so fixed on the Kennedy's is that the entertainment industry and much of the news media really believes and perpetuates the Camelot mystique. So many stories, movies and TV shows have been dedicated to the Family that reality has taken a turn on a side road of no return.
    We have been told over and over again that "The Kennedys" are royalty. Why ?? I have no idea.
    May Ted Kennedy rest in peace as a man committed to his beliefs, but as a man, and not as a Prince among men with unquestionable morality.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  175. Dan in Florida

    My fascination with the Kennedys has always been their ability and desire to get back up when they've been knocked down. Despite anyone's belief that money can buy anything, there is no money that can buy a familie's internal fortitude to overcome siblings that have had their lives ended by the evils of others, partaking in recreational activities, cancer, alcholism, substance abuse and the constant bombardment of political enemies. Although they were among the elite in society status, they never lost sight of the underdogs who lacked the means to live on a more even playing field.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  176. Phyllis J. Dorr

    Most people are political voyeurs and fascinated by those who ooze power and money.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  177. Dr. Terry L. Bonner

    Why are we fascinated by the Kennedy brothers? There is a one-word answer, Jack: CLASS. Born into wealth and privilege, the Kennedy brothers could have lived inconsequential lives of ease; instead, they chose to pursue excellence, help the underprivileged, and live life as active participants with a purpose. As our American society entered a tailspin into the banal and lowlife, the Kennedy family remained a benchmark of patriotism, service and vocation. It was an example we needed, and it is a institution we will miss. Thank God we still have men like Barack Obama to show us that there are greater purposes to citizenship than profit and pleasure.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  178. Lisa in California

    In this country, absent real dynastys and monarchys that stll exist elsewhere, we had the next-best-thing – a family that spanned generations with the kind of stuff that makes a fine film or pulitzer-prize winning novel: Good looks, wealth, greed, ambition, lust and style. Politics was the thread that wove all these qualities together. We simply couldn't, nor will ever be able to get enough.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  179. Karen

    No matter what you think about the Kennedy men – when it came to politics they were for the ordinary people – not the rich or corporations. I just hope the Democratic congress has the balls to pass public option.

    God Bless You Ted Kennedy

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  180. Greg Pendleton

    The Kennedy story has always been a family story, and America has always been a nation of Families. While the Kennedys were wealty and "royal" like, we always found in their story our own stories and values of family. The Kennedy family reminded all Americans that as a nation, all of us are family.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  181. james in anaheim california

    The reasons we were and continue to be facinated by the Kennedy family is how charming and well respected they were.You knew what and who they stood for and the causes they so fervently championed was one of heroic perportions. A family who we look upto as to the type of people we can become. Honest, open with everyone and sincere

    August 26, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  182. kevin

    Being an africian american in america, the kennedy family have always been a major topic in our family. They represented the hope and dreams of many people from different diverse backgrounds from all specks of life. I must admit the passing of Teddy runs deep in my heart and brings a long chapter to a close. They truly made a difference amongest the major topics which we faced from civil rights to equal rights. He as his brothers shall be truly missed.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  183. Nadine McKeown

    Senator Ted Kennedy was the last of the Kennedy dynasty who tried to help the people with domestic issues and health care. He will be remembered as one of the greatest senators who ever lived. My heart breaks for his family, my prayers are with them. The Kennedy family worked relentlessly to help the working class citizens in this country. Their contribution will never be forgotten.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  184. Nicolas

    These brothers with all they had could have just gone through life living high yet they spent their lives and gave their lives tp make this a better country for all, rich and poor.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  185. Gale

    JFK, the handsome young war hero with the beautiful, cultured young wife who became the leader of our country but was cut down his time.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  186. Ken DeKing

    The reason I have been facinated by the Kennedy brothers is, in spite of their problems and failures in their personal lives, especially Teddy, They all tried to improve the lives of Americans less priveleged than themselves. Many comservatives have demonised Teddy and that alone proves to me his value as a controlling factor in the Senate.
    He will be missed by everyone who thinks about equality among our citizens.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  187. jean of ohio

    have cried so many times today the passing of ted.the kennedys are
    such great true americans.they wanted the best for all of us.
    teddy was an istrument to our country,and remember folks ,he had dreams for us all,.he wanted this health care so bad for all,I pray these foolish people who are doing everthing even making lies and scaring people,will wake up and let us fill a lifelong dream ,in memory of ted kennedy. god bless the kennedy family. rest in gods perfect peace TED

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  188. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    The Kennedy brothers had wealth and privilege but they were very well aware of the poverty and discrimination associated with their Irish Catholic heritage. This experience gave them the courage, empathy, and compassion for those that were different. I hope this American spirit will never die.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  189. Cassandra

    For over 50 years America fell in love with Teddy Kennedy is because of the man that was inside the envelope.
    From : Florida
    Cassandra Gracia

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  190. Joan

    The Kennedy brothers were all from a rich family but they never forgot about the poor and the disadvantaged. They gave their lives for the cause. All I can say to the Senate friends...forget the words and in lieu of flowers pass the healthcare bill. I know he is in heaven watching you and hoping you take care of the ill and the disadvantaged like he did. That would be the best tribute you could make in his honor NOT words.


    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  191. Colleen Meegan

    The Kennedys stood for God, religion, faith, hope for the future, the United States, and patriotism. No matter what they did, those ethics still came through loud and clear! LIke all humans on this earth, they had failures, and like all of us, some died unfortunate, early deaths. Thank God, however, they were able to touch so many lives before doing so! God bless them all!

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  192. Cathy Miner from NC

    I think its simple... They had a strong belief in helping the American people, and they did something about it. Maybe we all should see a need and do something about it. My regards to the Kennedy family.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  193. Gayle - Columbus OH

    The Kennedys embodied everything we love in any great legend or work of fiction: The sons of an ambitious and demanding father who built a fortune from humble beginnings, great wealth, great triumph and great tragedy. They were the American Empire builders, the very heart of everything the 20th century represented. Add to this the delicious and irresistible back story, the scandals and the near-scandals (think of all we later learned about JFK and RFK's philandering).....I mean, you almost couldn't make this stuff up! If you were to write a book with these facts and call it fiction, few would find it credible.

    It's no wonder we couldn't resist.

    Gayle K.
    Columbus, Ohio

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  194. Sharon

    They were young and talented. Above all they were human. They were glorious and flawed. We were fascinated because with all their wealth we were reminded that somehow their family (especially a large Irish family) was just like ours.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  195. Janee

    It's Celtic charisma – we are enchanted by it.
    In another century wouldn't they have made fine kings?

    August 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  196. Pmlgdwn

    The Kennedys, unlike the British royalty, have certainly had their share of life's up and downs, including personal tragedies. That's what makes them real and human; just like us. On the other hand they have this lifelong, enduring sense of hope and family, of achievement, and of accomplishments that in some way have affected and changed us all. They are, and will always be our Camelot.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  197. Marrianne, St. Louis, MO.

    Simple, because they brought out the best in all of us. Made us realize that we are all in this together, and should do everything in our power to help one another and to fight for our ideals.


    August 26, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  198. Frank, Sebastian FL

    At the end of the day, the Kennedy brothers were all champions of the underdog. They stood for public service and social justice. In the 60's we saw Jack and Bobby rally for Civil Rights and Medicare. Teddy lived the fight for Health Care reform. They all gave their lives in service to their country...nothing more can be said.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  199. Betty Fister

    There are a lot of "logical, cognitive" reasons that could be given, but we have to acknowledge the intagibles here. There was just Something about these guys...call it charisma, but it went even deeper than that. There was something about their souls that shone through, too. Whatever this complex, indescribable attribute, these men had it in spades. It's easier to talk about concrete facts, but I think it was the intangibles that make the Kennedy clan truly the American Royals.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  200. Kandace

    Because, Jack, they gave so much, tirelessly, when they didn't have to.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  201. Kathleen, PA

    Jack, the Kennedy's embodied all that Americans want to be. They were wealthy, intelligent, compassionate and were avid supporters of public service . I'm only 16 years old and the only Kennedy brother I've lived to see was Teddy. He was a remarkable man who faced tradegy, we can never imagine, yet conqured it with grace and dignity. He was a man who was admired by Republicans and Democrats alike, and that kind of bi-partisian admiration will most likely never come again. Jack and Bobby in their own way facinated people, Jack with Camelot and Bobby with his compassion and wanting to give others a better life. Lastly, none of these men had to serve their country and change the path of history, they were wealthy enough to live a life of comfort and no worries, yet they sacrifice and worked hard to better the country and its people and a family like this will never come again.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  202. Kathie in AZ

    Despite their wealth and privelege they were men of the people, and fought tirelessly for those of us who had no voice. They never would have lied to or tried to scare seniors to support their partisan agenda. Few Democrats and none of the Republicans could lick his boots.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  203. Michael Vetrie

    Because they had everything, they could have lived their lives as most Americans who are rich: in a selfish manner, attempting to hold on to all that they had, sharing little. But instead, they were progressives who tried to make sure that the least among us had a better life and for two of the three, it cost them their lives.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  204. anna

    This family has devoted their lives to truly helping people, not just for show or score political points. Ted was truly a remarkable man, even with all his human faults, people knew he cared, like Bobby and John. John Jr, I always thought if he lived would have gone into politics, he had the charisma like his father! Ted will truly be missed, there will never be another political family like this, Bill and Hilary come close.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  205. Karen, Nashville

    It's human nature to follow "leaders" and this instinct had plenty of fodder with the Kennedys. Money, power, fame, infamy, excitement, tragedy, you name it, it was there.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  206. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Jack i didnt ever know there were four brothers i only knew of the three who where government officials but there also were four musketers the oldest one died and the youngest one took his place but all and all they were nobel people with historical legacys when they died they took a piece of our country with them .

    August 26, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  207. Gordon Dewhurst of Hardy, Virginia

    My personal feelings about the Kennedy brothers is as follows:

    We are deeply saddened at the loss of such a courageous man i.e., Senator Ted Kennedy. Our thoughts, and our prayers go out to the Kennedy family. I remember having graduated from high school in June of 1963, and having attended President Kennedy's funeral in downtown Washington, D.C. That to was a very tragic time. Then there was Bobby Kennedy. I feel like today's news although under different circumstances is just as tragic. Our country has lost yet another wonderful person, and an inspiration to us all.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  208. Pat C, Bridgewater, VA

    I am now 76 and Jack Kennedy's question "Ask not..." was a stirring call to service to generations of Americans. We were intrigued with Jackie. John Jr saluting the passing funeral cortege brought us to tears for years afterwards. They brought an excitement and a hopefulness that we hadn't felt a part of until then and seldom have since then.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  209. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    They were the only rich people who believed in service to America, in giving back to the nation, instead of just lining their pockets the way rich people do today.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  210. Jeff in Minnesota

    My late father, a Republican who voted for Jack Kennedy in 1960, had a statement he would occasionally make about the Kennedy's. He defined "Kennedy Syndrome" as the desire to make the world a better place by spending everyone else's money.

    The public's fascination with the Kennedy's has everything to do with Jack Kennedy's mythical presidency cut short by his assassination and the assassination of his brother Bobby almost five years later. Camelot as it came to be known was an invention of the press that Jackie Kennedy kept alive through her behind the scenes efforts through surrogates. She prodded her surrogates to keep the myth alive. After her passing, you will note that the Camelot myth has come apart in little bits here and there as historians get new documents and a new look at it and determine that it was not necessarily all that it was cracked up to be.

    That is not to take away from the Kennedy presidency and what the Kennedy's have done through their service to our country. It's just we now have the rose colored glasses off and can see things for what they truly are.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  211. L. Schauble

    The Kennedy brothers set a wonderful example as Americans who made a genuine commitment to lifelong public service. Unique to them, however, was that they served without cynicism, always inspiring a sense of hope for the future of our country.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  212. Mary

    I believe that the reason people loveTed Kennedy and the other Kennedys is because they cared for the average American people. With all the money they had they could have sat back and never worked, but the chose to do all they could to make life better for everyone.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  213. Ruben Arizpe Jr.

    Mr. Cafferty, as an American, when John Kennedy spoke his words they always seemed to assure us that someone always had our best interest at heart. Most of us feel secure that our forefathers created a system where the hope of any man whether he be rich or poor could rise to unparalleled heights.

    We could always count on an advocate with the Kennedys. No matter what this country faced, we knew somehow, we had a friend in Washington. Trust in our government is almost non-exsistant today, however, there are a few men in Washinton most of us feel we can count on. We lost one today. Men like Ted Kennedy fought for those of us who had little voice in matters of Government. Who, do we look to now? Like so many other times, time has taken our hope and we search the horizon for another.

    Ruben Arizpe Jr.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  214. Emma, San Luis Obispo

    That's easy Jack,

    Inspite of being born in wealth and privilege, the Kennedy family stood for the "little guy" in all they did for the American people. From Eunice and "Special Olympics" to John and Bobby for civil rights for all, to Senator Teddy for education, seniors, health care, international causes for the rights of the little guy.........they represented those who couldn't fight for themselves. We loved Camelot and President Kennedy to John Jr. and Caroline who contributed to many causes for the best interests of all Americans.....they were/are our Royal Family who championed causes that effected the lives of millions of Americans. It is a sad, sad day in America.........but the dream lives on in their memory and we should honor Teddy and make health care a reality in his name........let's call it the "Kennedy Healthcare Bill" and May he rest in peace!

    August 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  215. Ojwing

    Ted Kennedy will be remembered because he cared about the American people. He wasn't perfect, but who among us are?

    August 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  216. Vicki from Vermont

    I was 11 when JFK became president. I was awestruck by the Kennedy family. There were so many of them and they were such an active group. I admit to having a crush on Teddy. He was the youngest and, to me, the cutest.
    They are as close as we have ever had to a royal family. They were imperfect but charismatic. Tragedy stalked them but never stopped them.
    I met Sen. Kennedy in May of 2005 as part of a group asking legislators for more funding for CFS research. I was stunned when we were told we would be meeting Sen. Kennedy in his hide-a-way in the Capitol building.
    I was very impressed by his knowledge of CFS. He assured us he would do everything in his power to see that funds were made available for CFS research.
    I felt the strength and power of this American icon but also his humanity. He had his dogs as usual. I was sitting on the end of a sofa closest to his very well trained dogs. Being a passionate dog lover, I dangled my arm over the edge and wiggled my fingers. The dog closest to me inched his way over on his belly.
    Mid-sentence, Sen. Kennedy, said "I see what's going on over there. You must be a dog lover because my dogs know better than to that. I'll allow it because you both look so happy." He smiled at me and had that Irish twinkle in his eyes.
    I'll never forget the opportunity I had to meet this great man.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  217. Debby Kleinberg

    Born into wealth, all members of the family could have just lived a lazy, spoiled life of privilege - instead they "saw wrongs and tried to right them." They gave all they had, and more, to uplift all people.

    Teddy had the courage to lead his family when most would have stayed drunk forever in an attempt to chase the demons, when he was "in fashion" and when he was ridiculed for his beliefs. He stayed true to "the dream" and fought for a better world and equality and dignity for all.

    It is too sad to reflect on the different world we would have if Bobby had become President, instead of Nixon, or if Jack hadn't been taken from us too soon.

    Shining examples of giving back from those to whom much was given - something my teenage daughter and her peers wouldn't even comprehend . . .

    Once again, it is left to the rest of us to carry on the legacy. Health care for all, including public option, is a start. The dream MUST never die.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  218. Julia, Newton NJ

    The Kennedy family was a powerhouse in American politics. Even if you have no interest in politics; even if you claim you hate it, you knew who the Kennedys were and were more than likely fascinated by the charm that the men brought to the political scene.
    The supposed "curse" on the Kennedy family captured people's attention, simply because as a nation we are enthralled by scandal.
    I'm only 19, Jack. Teddy Kennedy was the only Kennedy I ever got to see in action. I have not stopped crying since I found out at 1:30 this morning. He was truly an inspiration to every generation he touched, and he will be terribly missed.
    Rest in peace, Liberal Lion.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  219. James in IL.

    I hope that the Dem's can come together, and rally around this American icon's legacy and in the sprit of the Kennedy brother's leadership, pass a Health Care Bill that will have his name on it. Calling it the Ted Kennedy Heath care bill, because he truly cared for all Americans Health, Prosperity and the Pursuit of Happiness

    August 26, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  220. Donald Angelilli

    It amazes me at a time like this when Sen. Kennedy ,who spent 46 yrs. in the Senate did some positive things, but we all must remember his character especially when he walked away fm. Chappaquidick, & turned his back on a dying girl 7 then made 17 phone calls that night to friends & asked how he could get out of this awful predicament... We cannot celebrate his life without remembering his lack of character, which is the true timber of a man..

    August 26, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  221. lynn woody

    I hate an over-simplified answer to a complex question, but I think this may have to be an exception. America's fascination with the Kennedys is based on basic human interests: wealth, power, station, physical beauty, ideals and a sense of purpose. Our nation was born from an empire that prized these attributes above all others and who looked to a royal family as the epitomy of these qualities. I believe we, as Americans, projected this same ideal on the Kennedy family. Their story became ours. We prayed that we could be them. We thanked God we were not them. We stood we them. We grieved with them. So, Jack, to answer your question, we continue our fascination with the Kennedy family simply because they allow us to do so. Lynn-Delano, TN

    August 26, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  222. Brian Blashfield Delray Beach, FL

    The Kennedy Brothers were all imperfect heroes. Americans love our heroes to be less than pristine. We admire men like Andrew Jackson, Daniel Boone, Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Jefferson and many others who gave their lives to building this Republic. These men all had their shortcomings but where ever they failed they more than made it up in accomplishments. The Kennedys all served their country in uniform and in high elective office. Though men of great wealth they fought tirelessly for civil rights, eqiuty for the less advantaged, equal opportunity in education and , of course, social assistance and access to health care. They will be remembered for their caring long after their less generous adversaries who stand with the rich and priveliged are long forgotten.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  223. Maryell Scott

    The Kennedy brothers were born into royalty, yet they knew that their feet belonged on the ground. They knew that standing your own ground is always better than standing on people. Building dreams is better than creating nightmares. The Kennedy brothers understood the world and the way it should work for all people at the same time.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  224. Janet Westmoreland in Va.

    I was a fourteen year old girl when Sen. Jack Kennedy ran for president, and like most of us, was amazed by the hope, faith, and
    promise his administration radiated. We were proud of him and Mrs.
    Kennedy both at home and abroad. They made us proud of them and of ourselves. They brought out the best in us. Sen. Robert Kennedy
    was much the same. We felt he carried on much of his brothers ideals. Sen. Ted Kennedy had alot of measuring up to do, and was a little too liberal for my taste, but I had help such hope that John Jr.
    would go on to do more.
    The brothers were great, but were very nearly ooutshone by Jacqueline
    Kennedy and dear Eunice Shriver. I miss them all.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  225. Nosa Osazuwa

    "Last month, it was Michael Jackson. Now, it's Ted Kennedy. In the passage of these men, President Obama, Americans and indeed the entire world, have lost two very iconic citizens. Two men too much to mourn in two months"

    – Nosa Osazuwa,
    Ontario, Canada

    August 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  226. Adam

    Is NOTHING else going on in the world? Did the whole world come to a stop because Sen Kennedy died? It sure seems that way with the overkill media coverage of nothing but his death. Do the new channels never learn? Didn't the viewers say that the non-stop coverage of MJ's death was to much? Yet, here they all go again. Tell me something else.

    Harrington, DE

    August 26, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  227. Mike from NJ

    For me, the fascination with the Kennedy family has been because of there courage. Wealth and glamour always capture our attention, but the Kennedy family did more. In spite of lives marred by tragedy, they continued to serve others. Whether through elected office, or charitable effort, or special interest, like the Special Olympics, the family gave their time and energy to those that had less. Something I fear we as a country, have forgotten how to do.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  228. Austin new jersey

    It's because these three powerful men changed almost everything in politics especaily in the democratic party and of true liberalism in the democratic party. It's also because oldest of the three "Jack" who hepled the civil rights and openly said that the jim crow laws were and thought hard litteraly to his end. however that did not stop his other two brothers to fight for whats right in this country. Let's be honest if it wasn't for the kennedy's we'd maybe never even elected barack obama to the presidencey

    August 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  229. Ray in Nashville

    Death does that, Jack, especially early death from either accidental or intentional circumstances. America wonders what might have been with both Jack and Bobby.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  230. Dave Jurkowski

    Ted Kennedy has been my Senator for my entire life. I was born in 1962. I have never lowered my flag to half staff until today and i have never commented on a blog until today. Senator Kennedy and the Kennedy family have earned my respect and gratitude.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  231. Natalie

    Jack this question can only best be answered by looking at the ironies and complexities of America. On one hand we Americans viewed the Kennedys as our version of royalty – regal and "untouchable". The other side though is that Americans viewed the Kennedys as a part of our very fabric – friend to the poor and very ordinary in the causes they championed on behalf of all Americans – rich, poor, black, white, GOP or Dem. As a middle aged African American I will never forget when our parents announces the assassination of President John Kennedy. A short time later we would listen as our parents solemn and sad told us that Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were killed...it was as though these great men were long lost family members and we children felt the loss. Today, I will tell my own children that the world has lost a great man who was friend to the least of us but honored by the best of us as a humble man who cared. Hats off to you Teddy, we'll miss you!

    August 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  232. Dennis North Carolina

    they could relate to all American and all Americans related to them.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  233. Cindy

    Dear Jack, We remember Sen. Ted Kennedy very well and with good thoughts because he, like his brothers, took time out of his personal life to serve the American people. They didn't have to do anything but yet they did so much for this country. I remember JFK passing through my small hometown when he was on a campaign tour for the presidency. I will never forget that moment. I remember sitting in my music class in junior high and hearing the announcement that JFK was killed. I remember Bobby Kennedy and his passion for justice and the sad day when he also was assassinated. I will remember Sen. Ted Kennedy for his unfailing love to all the people of the United States of America. We remember them for the good they did. May his soul rest in peace.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  234. Lindsey in Roanoke, Alabama

    The Kennedy's possessed a level of consciousness that was way before their time. They never had a problem seeing what really mattered within our society. Mainly that REGARDLESS of race, ethnicity, religious affilation (or none), socio-economic status, education level, country of origin, etc,etc, people are people, human beings if you will. They saw a common humanity that hasn't been divulged again until Obama.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  235. Don Wilson

    Let's see, old Teddy ran his car off the bridge and let a young lady companion drown, he conspired with the Russians to try and block President Reagen's defeat of the Soviet Union, his ridiculous socialism schemes have cost the American people trillions of dollars in tax money, he jumped on President Bush's offer to help design the education program and then spent the rest of Bush's term stabbing him in the back. All in all I guess he was just a typical liberal.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  236. DD in MS

    Because they represent what we believe to be The American Way. Work hard, perform and wealth can be yours. Then you must serve and they did. But you sill have a family and famliy life brings the good, the bad and the ugly but together you endure. The Kennedy lives have been an open book that reveals the real American family where problems exist yet we endure; where our faith and our beliefs hold us together. The four Kennedy men are what we are as a nation.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  237. ashlea

    You must have a very limited or selective memory, Cafferty. I came to this country in 58 and even I remember why – and it hasn't been "fascination" – it has been admiration. They actually cared about people not just about strutting rich egomaniacs consumed with greed. If our admiration for the Kennedys bothers you, rest easy – when it's your time you can be assured we won't burden you with that.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  238. Deborah Black

    Because they sought to inspire in all of us what is best in each other. I am my brothers keeper. They were not perfect but they always strove to make America a more perfect union and country. They were the first real liberals, progesseve, and courageous. When I think of their ideas and hopes for American it is alway with a smile and a wish that the dream had come true.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  239. Loren

    Easy, because America frequently gets stars in its eyes for style over substance. Anyone with any willingness to dig would find how much the reality of the Kennedy brothers differed from the perception. Enough has come out about the presidency and Robert Kennedy's participation in the high crimes that may have contributed to his brother's assassination that only those wearing blinders can possible still revere them. The saddest aspect of it all is that they respresent through their words our highest ideals and through their actions our worst traits.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  240. Deborah Black

    Because they sought to inspire in all of us what is best in each other. I am my brothers keeper. They were not perfect but they always strove to make America a more perfect union and country. They were the first real liberals, progessive, and courageous. When I think of their ideas and hopes for American it is alway with a smile and a wish that the dream had come true.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  241. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    There is no other family in our political history that compares to the life of the Kennedy family that is more fascinating but at the same time traged.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  242. mark

    Ted Kennedy was the least talented of the Kennedy brothers, however, he was within the center of the Kennedy political dynasty. Ted was the final surviving member of the initial generation of this dynasty, and thus with his loss, we've lost the last link to that initial generation of Kennedy political power. The Kennedy "golden age" is now over.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  243. Sam Tetteh

    If I have to write on the grave stone of this great American. I would simply engrave: Here lies a man, a champion of the poor. "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in," Well done Ted. (Matt. 25:35)

    August 26, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  244. Eric L

    For me, its a fascination with a family of such extraordinary wealth that had each member dedicate their life to America. A family with so much money that they never needed to do anything, but instead of mooching off the family coffers, they dedicated their lives, often tragically, to the American people. The patriotism the Kennedy's embodied was a brand unlike any other.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  245. confused in MA

    Because they were the bad bad boys and always in the media doing things that they shouldn't have but always got away with! Look at the family history from the beginning and it tells it all.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  246. Lee in Fairport, NY

    Are you kidding? Why the fascination? The answer lies in the article itself – – –

    "two assassinations, Ted Kennedy’s nearly fatal plane crash along with his infamous incident at Chappaquiddick, John Jr.’s fatal plane crash… and numerous substance abuse and marital problems."

    August 26, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  247. Sue from Redwood City

    I think part of the fascination is that even though they were filthy rich, they cared about and championed the ordinary people like most of us.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  248. Jeff

    Within minutes of the media reporting that Michael Jackson was dead the streets were full of blacks weeping and screaming. Michael Jackson did NOTHING to help the average African American citizen. Teddy Kennedy did more for blacks and minorities than Michael Jackson, Abe Lincoln and even, yes, Dr. M.L. King. Why aren't the Michael Jackson weepers filling the streets for Teddy? Maybe, the nightly news networks will have something to report on other than Michael Jackson. I am certain the Kennedy family would never contemplate selling tickets to Teddy's memorial. The nerve of some people!

    August 26, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  249. Bill Miami

    I would really like to know how this Camelot thing came about? Just another made up media title?

    I didnt care for Ted much but I do respect and appreciate his hard work and fight to improve the lot of the less fortunate. He came out unconditionally for Obama and was not straddling the fence like so many others did. Rep Henry comes to mind

    August 26, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  250. Mike from Springfield

    Unfortunately, I believe it is largely the tragedy that surrounded ths family that has kept them the focus of so much attention. Like a terrible car wreck, your are happy that it was not you, your sympathetic to the suffering involved, but you can't help but slow down and stare as you pass by.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  251. Steve Canada

    Millions were impacted by their successes in government over the years. We were fascinated by their personal failures, and saddened by their tragedies. They were not royalty, but certainly the dominant potitical family of the last 60 years in American politics. If there is another family that surrendered as much of themselves while dedicating so much to public service, I cannot think of one..

    August 26, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  252. Juliet Homestead, Florida

    They understood the lowliest of humans, It was never about them it was always what was best for the common man. they were true humanitarians.
    I love you Sen. Edward Kennedy may you rest in peace! Thank you for fighting for us.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  253. Carl D.

    I like most people, have been told, if you don't have anything nice to say about someone, than don't say anything at all. So I won't say anything at all.
    Carl in Illinois

    August 26, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  254. Scott in Sacramento

    Hey Jack,
    I think people were/are fascinated because in spite of the family wealth, they had to deal with the same issues as a family that most of us had to deal with and some things we didn't have to, but more visibly, and unabashedly showed their vulnerabilities to us. As the youngest brother and not having an older brother as a role model after June 1968, Ted learned as he went. Most of us can relate to that. He unknowingly showed he wasn't perfect, and my heart goes out to the Kopechne family. Ted was more visible and a much easier target. In spite of this, Sen. Kennedy was the fighter for the underdog. Much to the chagrin of the loud mouths spewing their vitriolic hate of America, if it wasn't for Sen Kennedy, they wouldn't have a voice. I'm not a believer in a supreme being, but I hope Sen. Kennedy's spirit/soul has found it's Camelot. He has earned it. Thank you Senator. You will be greatly missed and I hope Congress will work to ensure the rights and protections of the less fortunate that you so passionately fought for.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  255. Dawn (Portland, Oregon)

    The Kennedy brothers had everything we all dream of possessing: wealth, charisma, power, looks, intelligence and talents to spare. Though any of these things could easily corrupt lesser men, each chose a path of service to the nation, to those who did not have the ability to fight for themselves. They could have done anything, or nothing, yet they all chose to dedicate their lives to others. There isn't another American family that can claim such greatness from a single generation. We were lessened just a bit by the loss of each one of these incredible men.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  256. Elaine Williams St. Louis Mo.

    They were a family that struggled in America to get to the top. The American people (majority group) wew prejudice against them because they were Catholic and rich. They love Jacqueline Kennedy
    because of her blueblood heritage. The brothers fought for civil rights,
    healthcare and education that helped the poor and people of colored.
    They changed many in America and was actually before their time. The battles they fought most men in their position would have feared to even take a stand. The world is a better place since the birth of the Kennedy men and women.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  257. Mark, Berwyn PA

    America was fascinated with the Kennedy's only because the media drove the Kennedy's down our throats. John and Bobby were admirable enough, but Ted, for all the good he did in Congress, was a much less admirable, as were and are all the Kennedy offspring. And the father was basically a crook, who rose to power breaking the law for profit.
    You have insulted every hard working American with that description of this rich and wreckless family.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  258. Max Heerman

    The genuine significance of the Kennedy brothers on American history and public policy is overrated. But in superficial ways that are impossible for the public to ignore, the Kenney brothers had it all. Not just great wealth, but wealth generated–at least partly–by connecitons with organized crime. Looks and style.. Secrets, like Jack's undisclosed health problems and sexual relationships, the real story behind Ted's tragic accident (if accident is the right word) at Chappaquiddick, and rumors of Ted's alcoholism. The allure of places that are unapproachable to the average person, like Harvard, Martha's Vinyard, and Manhattan high society. Heroism in war and in the Cuban missile crisis. And the tragedy of privileged and promising lives cut short by assassinations, particularly mysterious assassinations which seem to have been inadequately investigated. This is the stuff of page-turning novels and T.V miniseries. Of course the public remained fascinated with the Kennedy brothers for more than 50 years!

    August 26, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  259. Paula in WA

    The Kennedy brothers (and sisters) were raised to serve and to improve the status of fellow citizens with that service. Through tragedy and human weakness, they persevered in good humor, with faith in our country and God intact. The Kennedy family represents a huge volume of service to this country. Some say the Kennedy's are media 'darlings' and nothing more. However, those naysayers usually don't get off of their backsides and do anything more than complain and tear down. The Kennedy's built things and created positive change. This country needs more families like this one.

    They consistently gave more than they took.
    Our family thanks them for their service.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  260. Terry from Illinois

    American dream – Legal Immigrant family made it big in the stock market, oldest brother was killed while fighting in war for America, next brother was killed while on television during his presidency for trying to help the working Americans and next brother was killed while trying to become our president and next brother has been a Massachusetts Senator for 40 years.
    Name another family with that kind of stuff ?

    August 26, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  261. Steve

    JFK and RFK are honored not for what they accomplished but what they might have accomplished. Victims of tragedy are always given a free pass in our society and this free pass was extended to Ted Kennedy. My amazement has been the fact that the people of Mass. kept re-electing him. Incredible that now we are idolizing another substance abusing, womanizing member of the Kennedy Clan. America needs to move forward and end this misplaced fascination.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  262. EugeneWiese Midlothian,Va.

    If Obama's presidency is in trouble,ordinary people are in trouble.I really think this question provokes a big political arguement designed by the media manipulators.Obama represents Hope and I think his team is as good as it gets.In ten years,happy days will be here again,unless ,we fail to help Obama and the planet goes down the drain. Gene

    August 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  263. Patt

    The Kennedy magic was an extension of what is commonly called "the band of brothers." By extension, this political family became aunt, uncle, cousin to members of each family in the band of brothers. The press became the knowing relative who kept you up to date with what this and that family member was doing. It was President Kennedy's assassination that cemented this connection. Jack made it back. He'd survived. He did all and more than any of them were expected to do. He was to have it all. But it was all taken away by a gun. The band of brothers, and their wives, children, sisters and brothers felt the loss. All of them feel similar loss, today, for Jackie, John, Jr, Bobby, Teddy they all were family.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  264. Benjamin

    Because they enjoy a raucous tale about bootlegger's offspring?

    August 26, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  265. marty

    Just for starters....there are the Ted Kennedys and there are the Bernie Madoffs, and the Ken Lays. It doesn't take a great mind to determine who unselfishly has given to this country and who has taken from this society.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  266. Mickey

    It slays me that the people dissing Senator Kennedy for the Chappaquidick incident are putting forward the ridiculous notion that he didn't call for help to save his career??? SAY WHAT!!!! Yeah leaving her in his car was an excellent way to cover it up! Gosh I wish I was that smart! He may have frozen with fear, he may have been concussed, but he surely didn't do it to "save his career"!!! If that had been his ploy he would have dragged her out. What happened was a tragedy to be sure, but not a callous way to save a political career.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  267. rebecca lopez

    The Kennedy Brothers have been a fasination for America, because their family has been played out like a Greek Play. Sucess, Trajedy, and having the ability to give back. They will always be a part of the American Dynasty.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  268. swin5

    The answer to the question is very simple – JFK was assassinated.

    Had he not been murdered he probably would have won a second term. By then his mediocrity would have become more obvious and perhaps his moral shortcomings would have come out – remember that it would have been 1968 when his second term would have ended. In that turbulent year alone I'm not sure if the people with their heightened social conscience would have taken to an obviously phony president born into privilege into a family with ties to the mob. You still would have had a republican president win in 1968 and JFK would have faded into memory as an average and over-hyped president. The assassination made him a martyr.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  269. Marie MD

    I can't remember a time in my life where the Kennedy name was not part of politics. This is also a family that while having a lot of money always helped the little guy and tried to make it better for those not as fortunate.
    Regardless of their personal problems and the deaths in the family you could count on them.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  270. EJ

    In the words of Lincoln from the Gettysburg Address the Kennedys were for a government of the people, by the people and for the people and consistently so. They also followed the slogan of the Sullivan Brothers of my hometown (Waterloo,Iowa) : We stick together.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm |