Tag Archives: RFK Jr.

(VIDEO) Mary Kennedy Interview

1 Jun

In remembrance of Mary Richardson Kennedy, we wanted to share this interview she did with Bob Vila in 2008, during the green renovation of the RFK Jr. family home.

Mary was a highly skilled architect, and this home was probably her proudest achievement. Sadly, it is also the home where she would take her own life four years later on May 16, 2012.

Rest in peace, Mary.

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Happy Birthday, Bob

19 Nov

Robert Kennedy with daughter Kathleen

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BOB

Had he lived, Robert F. Kennedy would be 86 years old on November 20th. We thought it might be interesting to honor him this year not with a few selected quotations by him, but rather quotations about him.

How was Bobby Kennedy described by the people who knew him best?

Their opinions were not always kind, to say the least. Lyndon Johnson called Bobby “that little shitass” and “a grandstanding little runt.” (Kennedy, who cherished his very own LBJ voodoo doll, called Johnson “mean, bitter, and vicious–an animal in many ways.”)

Joe McCarthy’s chief aide (and longtime RFK nemesis) Roy Cohn referred to Robert Kennedy as a “rich bitch,” saying: “he always had that little smirk on his face, designed to get under my skin, and it did.”

Apparently the feeling was mutual, as the two men once nearly came to blows in the Senate hearing room during the Army-McCarthy hearings.

Jimmy Hoffa, who thought Kennedy “a damn spoiled jerk,” described his first meeting with him in 1957: “I can tell by how he shakes hands what kind of fellow I got. I said to myself, `Here’s a fella thinks he’s doing me a favor by talking to me.'” Hoffa later bragged that during the Rackets Committee hearings, “I used to love to bug the little bastard.”

As Bobby himself once said, we are not here “to curse the past or to praise it,” so we thought it appropriate to include the bad with the good when selecting quotes from others on what they thought of Robert Kennedy. Opinions varied, at times so wildly, you’d almost never believe that all of these people are talking about the same man.

The full truth about RFK, as ever, lies somewhere in the middle of these extremes.

I think that’s why he still fascinates us. Even after all these years, the real RFK is (to borrow from Churchill) “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” He’s a puzzle, difficult to solve, and yet we never seem to want to stop trying.

AS THEY REMEMBER BOBBY

“The major difference between Bobby and his brothers is that Bobby always had to fight for everything.”

— Bobby’s wife, Ethel Skakel Kennedy

“He was the smallest and thinnest, and we feared he might grow up puny and girlish. We soon realized there was no chance of that.”

— Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy (mother)

“Jack is too soft and forgiving. You can trample all over him and the next day he’ll be waiting for you with open arms. But when Bobby hates you, you stay hated.”

— Joseph P. Kennedy (father)

“Bobby was the most generous little boy.”

Jack Kennedy’s lifelong best friend, Lem Billings. (To which Joseph Kennedy Sr. gruffly replied: “I don’t know where he got that!”)

“All this business about Jack and Bobby being blood brothers has been exaggerated.”

Bobby’s sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

“Kennedy was not arrogant, but he had a sarcasm that could be biting.”

Frank Hurley, Bobby’s classmate at Portsmouth Priory

“How would you like looking forward to that high whining voice blasting into your ear for the next six months?”

Jack Kennedy, on hiring his younger brother Bobby to manage the 1960 campaign.

“Jack thought Bobby was too serious, a severe figure, and tried to lighten him up. At the same time, he thought Bobby was…the sacred one. He felt protective about him.”

 — Chuck Spalding, longtime friend to both JFK and RFK.

“I don’t know what Bobby does, but it always seems to turn out right.”

–President-elect John F. Kennedy, shortly after winning the 1960 presidential election

“Up until the Bay of Pigs, Jack had more or less dismissed the reasons his father had given for wanting Bobby in the cabinet as more of that tribal Irish thing. But now he realized how right the old man had been. When the crunch came, family members were the only ones you could count on. Bobby was the only person he could rely on to be absolutely dedicated. Jack would never have admitted it, but from that moment on, the Kennedy presidency became a sort of collaboration between them.”

— Lem Billings, lifelong friend to the Kennedy brothers

“Everybody bitches about Bobby, and I’m getting sick and Goddamn tired of it. He’s the only one who doesn’t stick knives in my back, the only one I can count on when it comes down to it.”

— President John F. Kennedy

“You knew that, if you were in trouble, he’d always be there.”

— Former first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis on RFK

“He had a better sense of what was important, and what was not, than anyone I ever met. Once he realized something was significant, he became the most deliberate, most thoughtful, most intense man.”

— John Nolan, Kennedy’s administrative assistant at the Justice Department.

“His most tenaciously maintained secret was a tenderness so rawly exposed, so vulnerable to painful abrasion, that it could only be shielded by angry compassion to human misery, manifest itself in love and loyalty toward those close to him, or through a revelatory humor.”

 — Richard Goodwin, speechwriter, longtime friend and advisor to JFK, RFK, and LBJ

Bobby and Jack

 “I always say—don’t try to psychoanalyze Bob. Look at what he said and look at what he did. He meant what he said, and what he did was incredible.”

 — Ed Guthman, Robert Kennedy’s special assistant for public information in the Department of Justice and his first senatorial press secretary.

Robert F. Kennedy

I remember once John F. Kennedy talking about his younger brother. He was talking about the time when they were both a lot younger, and Bobby was small and jumping off the family sailboat. JFK said, and I quote, “It showed either a lot of guts or no sense at all, depending on how you look at it.” I think you can say that about Bobby’s entry into the 1968 presidential race. It either showed no sense at all, or a lot of guts. I think there were some of both of those factors present.”

— Ted Sorensen, policy advisor, legal counsel and speechwriter for President Kennedy.

“In every presidential election since 1968, we continue to listen for echoes of Robert Kennedy’s speeches which urged us to turn away from war, embrace peace, share the wealth and the resources of the land with the less fortunate, embrace the ideal of social justice for all, and put aside the divisions of race, age, wealth, militarism and the narrow partisanship that have come to divide us– and divide us still.I believe we will look at what he was about, what his politics and policies were about, what his motivations and commitments were about, thereby enhancing the record of his life and times for those who will come to this place to continue the quest. Today, we remember the man, who for many of us changed our lives, the man who changed the country and, had he lived, would have changed it again and again.” 

— Bobby’s trusted friend and advisor John Seigenthaler

“The reason we should revive Robert Kennedy as a hero for our times, for the 21st century, is because he presents us with a flawed, complicated hero of great compassion, and leadership. His was not a leadership that sought to merely bear witness to the truth but rather one that sought results and shaped them in the anvil of action.I think that there’s nothing our politics needs today more than the image, the model, the example, and the inspiration of Robert Kennedy’s life.Throughout the Cuban Missile Crisis Robert Kennedy did what he had done as a young man. He asked moral questions: is it right or is it wrong? When I first met him, I didn’t like his answers. He was more of a Cold Warrior with a Joe McCarthy view of the world, than I was. What changed in Robert Kennedy, in my opinion, was that his view of the world became broader and deeper. The child that was compassionate, the child that was religious, the child that asked moral questions, was the man who in the Cuban Missile Crisis had the courage to ask the moral question, “Could we have a first strike and live with our conscience if we did?” In the face of the geo-politicians in that room, he asked those questions. That was not easy to do, and he did it….And then lastly, in this election right now, the clear, important message from a country divided down the middle is that we want the next President of the United States to find common ground in the way that Robert Kennedy did. He attempted to reach out to left and to right, and beyond all ideological barriers to find a common ground, to get things done.I would recommend to the next President of the United States that he immerse himself in the story of Robert Kennedy. I would say begin with Maxwell Kennedy’s beautiful book and then go on to Ed Guthman’s collection of speeches. Can we revive in our time some of what we had? …”a transcendent yearning for the possibility of redemptive change?” We all, I think, have that yearning. I think the American people have it. And the story of Robert Kennedy can drive us to try to realize that possibility.”— Harris Wofford, special assistant to President Kennedy, chair of the sub-cabinet group on civil rights.

Happy Birthday, Bobby Kennedy. This world misses you.

RFK Jr.’s Wife Guilty of DWI

23 Jul
FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2008 file photo, Mary Richardson Kennedy, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is shown. The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has resolved her New York drunken-driving case by pleading guilty to a lesser charge. Mary Kennedy pleaded guilty Thursday, July 22, 2010 to driving with ability impaired. She was arrested in May after a police officer reported seeing her drive over a curb outside a school in Bedford, 30 miles north of New York City. (AP Photo/Andy Kropa, File)

RFK Jr.’s wife guilty of driving impaired in NY

By JIM FITZGERALD (AP) – 8 hours ago

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. — The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. settled her drunken-driving case without jail time Thursday night by pleading guilty to a minor charge.

Mary Kennedy admitted in court that her driving ability was impaired when she drove over a curb outside a school in Bedford, 30 miles north of New York City, in May.

Robert Kennedy, who has reportedly filed for divorce, was not in court. He also was not among the many relatives and friends who wrote supportive letters to Town Judge Kevin Quaranta.

“He was not asked,” said Mary Kennedy’s lawyer, Kerry Lawrence.

Robert Kennedy’s mother, Ethel Kennedy, and his sister Kerry Kennedy wrote letters, with Ethel Kennedy telling the judge her daughter-in-law is “kind, loving, gentle and generous.”

Mary Kennedy, 50, would not comment after the court session. Her lawyer said she was “pleased to get some closure.”

The charge of driving while ability impaired is a violation and carries no jail time. The judge fined Kennedy $500, suspended her driver’s license for 90 days and ordered her to attend two drunken-driving programs.

The judge also said Kennedy’s psychiatrist must submit quarterly reports about her progress.

“You’re going to have to live up to the continuation of your treatment,” he told Kennedy.

“Absolutely,” she replied.

The judge told Kennedy the letters from family and friends, including actor Dan Aykroyd and environmentalist Alex Matthiessen, praised “your life, your role as a parent.”

“I hope we don’t see you here again,” he added.

Kennedy was arrested May 15 on a charge of driving while intoxicated after a police officer reported seeing her drive over the curb. Her only passenger was a dog.

Police said her blood-alcohol level was 0.11 percent; the legal limit is 0.08 percent.

The arrest came three days after Robert Kennedy filed a matrimonial action with the Westchester County clerk’s office, naming his wife as defendant. Several news reports said he had filed for divorce, and most such filings are divorce suits, but the papers are sealed and both Kennedys have refused to comment. Lawrence would not comment Thursday night.

Robert Kennedy, a prominent environmental lawyer, is the son of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, both assassinated in the 1960s. Mary Kennedy is his second wife. They have four children.

Robert Kennedy had two children with his first wife, whom he divorced in 1994.

Bedford police said in May that they had responded to the Kennedy home twice in the week before Mary Kennedy’s arrest but no crimes had been committed.

RFK Jr. Divorces Wife of 16 Years

13 Jul
The Kennedys at an NRDC Event, Apr. 1, 2008

 

July 13, 2010

Bobby Kennedy Jr. sues wife for divorce

Shawn Cohen and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon
spcohen@lohud.com

WHITE PLAINS — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. filed to divorce his wife of 16 years just three days before Mary Kennedy was charged with drunken driving, according to records obtained by The Journal News.

The May 12 divorce filing also came a day before Bedford police responded to the Kennedy home for a “domestic incident” during which her husband alleged she was intoxicated, records show.

It was among several police visits to the Bedford estate in recent years, according to police incident reports.

Robert Kennedy, a prominent environmentalist at Pace University School of Law in White Plains, declined to comment this week.

“I’m not going to talk to you about my personal life,” he said Monday.

He is the son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in California in 1968 during his run for president.

According to records on file with the Westchester County Clerk’s Office, the Kennedy family scion filed the papers on May 12.

On May 10, two days before the filing, Mary Kennedy called 911 herself, police said. Officers responding to the house reported she was “visibly intoxicated” and had “great difficulty collecting her thoughts and articulating her reasons for calling.” She told police her husband was “verbally abusive to herself and her children.”

On May 13, officers were summoned to the South Bedford Road home at 9:16 p.m. and filed a state domestic incident report before leaving.

On May 15, Mary Kennedy was stopped outside St. Patrick’s School on Greenwich Road near the couple’s home and charged with driving while intoxicated. Police said she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent at the time of her arrest. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

She was ordered to undergo evaluation for potential alcohol abuse and is due in Town Court on July 22.

Her lawyer in that case also declined comment on the divorce proceeding.

Details on the divorce filing, including grounds, were unavailable. New York state does not have a “no fault” divorce law, though it will go into effect in September.

The couple has four children.

This would be Kennedy’s second divorce. He was married to Emily Ruth Black. They divorced in 1994, a month before he married his current wife.

Mary Kennedy’s DWI Hearing Continued

10 Jul

Mary Kennedy, right, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., leaves Bedford Court in Bedford with her sister on Thursday, as she appears on her DWI charge. The matter was adjourned until July 22.

 Mary Kennedy, right, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., leaves Bedford Court in Bedford with her sister on Thursday, as she appears on her DWI charge. The matter was adjourned until July 22.

(Photo: Mark Vergari / The Journal News)

 

BEDFORD, NY — The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appeared Thursday night in Town Court on a drunken-driving charge in a brief hearing that ended with no resolution to her case.

At her previous court appearance May 28, Mary Richardson Kennedy’s lawyer predicted he could wrap up her case Thursday. But Town Justice Kevin Quaranta said she needed to provide the court with more information. He did not say what was required, but Kennedy, 50, was previously ordered to undergo an evaluation to determine if she needs treatment for alcohol abuse.

The hearing was continued to July 22.

Kennedy was arrested about 9 p.m. May 15 outside St. Patrick’s School after she steered her 2004 Volvo station wagon over a curb while driving to an annual carnival there.

She was charged with driving while intoxicated after her blood-alcohol level measured 0.11 percent, police said. The state’s legal limit is 0.08 percent for DWI.

Kennedy pleaded not guilty. During the May 28 court appearance, she was ordered to surrender her driver’s license and undergo the evaluation.

The arrest exposed problems in the Kennedy household, with police records detailing several domestic disturbances.

Just two days before the DWI arrest, Bedford police filed a state domestic incident report after a 911 hang-up call from the residence on South Bedford Road. Police reported that Robert Kennedy, a leading environmentalist, drove the couple’s children to the carnival that day after an argument with his wife, telling police she was intoxicated and “acting irrational.”

On May 10, Mary Kennedy called 911 herself, police said. Officers responding to the house reported she was “visibly intoxicated” and had “great difficulty collecting her thoughts and articulating her reasons for calling.” She told police her husband was “verbally abusive to herself and her children,” records state.

Twice in 2007, Robert Kennedy told police he was worried that his wife might hurt herself, including once that September when he restrained her in the roadway after driving her to Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco to see a psychologist.

By Shawn Cohen, The Journal News. Full article at http://www.lohud.com/article/20100709/NEWS02/7090332/Mary-Kennedy-s-DWI-hearing-continued

Kennedy Wife Pleads “Not Guilty” to Drunk Driving Charge

31 May

RFK Jr. and wife Mary Richardson Kennedy in Dec. 2008

 RFK JR.’S WIFE BUSTED FOR DWI

BEDFORD, NY — The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was
ordered to surrender her driver’s license and
undergo an evaluation to determine if she needs
treatment for alcohol after she pleaded not guilty
Thursday to drunken driving.

Mary Richardson Kennedy, 50, smiled nervously
during the court proceeding, saying only “yes” when
Justice Kevin Quaranta asked if she understood the
charge.

“This is going to be treated like any other case, ”
Quaranta said.

Kennedy refused to answer questions outside the
courthouse before she was driven away in a black
Mercedes-Benz.

“We hope there will be a resolution of this case at
the next court appearance,” said her attorney, Kerry
Lawrence.

Kennedy’s husband, a leading environmental
activist, did not accompany her.

She is due in court July 15.

Mary Kennedy

Mary Kennedy leaving court on May 27, 2010 (Photo: Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News)

Kennedy was arrested about 9 p.m. May 15 outside
St. Patrick’s School on a charge of driving while
intoxicated. She had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11
percent, police said. The state’s legal limit is 0.08
percent for DWI.

Police said she steered her 2004 Volvo station
wagon over a curb as she drove up to an annual
carnival at the school.

Just two days earlier, Robert Kennedy drove the
couple’s children to the carnival after an argument
with his wife, according to Bedford police records
obtained this week under the state Freedom of
Information Law.

“Mr. Kennedy stated that his wife was intoxicated
and was acting irrational, so he took the children to
the carnival to remove them from the situation,”
Police Officer David Novick wrote in a state domestic
incident report filed after a 911 hang-up call from
the Kennedy home.

The incidents were the latest in a series of domestic
disturbances at the South Bedford Road estate,
police records show.

On May 10, police received a 911 call from Mary
Kennedy at 5:55 p.m. in which she “reports a
dispute between her husband and her children,”
police said.

“Mrs. Kennedy was wearing a white bathrobe and
was barefoot,” Bedford officers wrote in a report.
“Mrs. Kennedy was visibly intoxicated and had great
difficulty collecting her thoughts and articulating
her reasons for calling 911 for assistance .”

“During the interviews, Mary Kennedy repeatedly
stated that she has ongoing issues with her
husband Robert, referring to him as verbally
abusive to herself and her children,” the report said.

Less than an hour after officers left the home, police
said Mary Kennedy called 911 three times within 10
minutes, but the officers “stated they had difficulty
understanding her.”

There were also two incidents involving the
Kennedys in 2007 — one in Bedford and one in
neighboring Mount Kisco.

On March 17, 2007, St. Patrick’s Day, Bedford police
were called to the Kennedy home at 9:51 p.m., the
records show.

“Responded to the Kennedy residence for a report
from Mr. Kennedy that his wife might be trying to
hurt herself,” police said.

Officers arrived to find Mary Kennedy, her sister and
her sister-in-law in the home.

“Spoke to all the parties and it was determined that
their (sic) must have been a (sic) error in
communication between Mr. Kennedy and his wife,”
the police report said.

On Sept. 4, 2007, Mount Kisco police reported a
disturbance between the Kennedys outside Northern
Westchester Hospital Center. According to an
incident report, Robert Kennedy took his wife to the
hospital to see a psychologist because he was
concerned about her mental state.

Mary Kennedy ran into the roadway and had to be
restrained by her husband “to keep her from hurting
herself,” the police report said. He summoned a
motorist to call police and later agreed to drive her
home.

In two earlier encounters with the Kennedys,
Bedford police said they received a 911 call from the
couple’s home on May 12, 2004.

When officers arrived, the nanny told them that one
of the Kennedy children accidentally dialed 911.

On April 22, 2003, Mary Kennedy told police that
her son had mistakenly dialed 911.

Story from LoHud.com. By Shawn Cohen and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon • spcohen@lohud.com • May 28, 2010

Opinion: Vanity Fair Article Needs Clarification

28 May

EDITOR’S NOTE: The latest issue of Vanity Fair features an article called “Ted Kennedy’s Final Battle,” which is an excerpt from Ed Klein’s new book on the liberal lion. The article speculates heavily on which member of the Kennedy family will eventually pick up the torch of leadership – Patrick? Caroline? Joe? Kathleen? Christopher? – but seems to overlook the one we believe to be the best qualified…Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

One of of our longtime bloggers wrote to voice her amazement at Klein/Vanity Fair’s out-of-hand dismissal of RFK Jr.’s capabilities, expressing the dismay many of Bobby’s supporters felt after reading the article. We’d like to share her Letter to the Editor with you below:

VANITY FAIR ARTICLE NEEDS CLARIFICATION

By Susanne Silverstein

 

Dear RFK Jr. News-Staffers:

It’s been a while since I’ve visited the web site but my heart still gets tugged when I read articles like this month’s Vanity Fair

I feel the article is totally unfair to RFK Jr. in it’s perception that he is not one of the heirs most likely to be active in this or next generation.  The article goes on to hype Joe Jr & Caroline as being the two new leaders of the Kennedy clan.  They discuss how RFK Jr. has a speech impediment that makes running for office a serious challenge.  

I beg to disagree!  He has been out there speaking in public for years, never letting his spasmodic dysphonia stop him from getting the message across. He hosts a weekly radio show on Air America and does numerous television interviews. In my opinion, he’s a better speaker than all the other Kennedy kids put together! 

I have also been aware that he has had to work with a speech impediment, but Bobby is nothing less than an electrifying speaker.  It is a shame what his family is pulling.  They are only hurting our country by their selfish short-sighted behavior.  All of us face some dysfunction in our immediate families and I just chalk this nonsense up to petty jealousies.

 I hope the members here can convince him that he is beloved by millions.  That there are millions more longing to hear him speak; and that he will be able to sort out his family’s nonsense for what it is.  Just a histronic reaction to the sad scenario of Ted Kennedy’s illness and probable prognosis. 

Bobby Jr. has accomplished so much more in public life than most of his cousins, brothers and sisters put together!  I once did admire Joe Kennedy’s prowess, but he seems to be truly happier working on his energy company.  He has kept a low profile until now. 

We need to get more letters over to Vanity Fair to set them straight about Bobby Jr’s real promise and qualifications as a real leader for the next generation of Americans! 

 

Thank you,

Susanne