Former Newsweek Foreign Editor: Chappaquiddick One of Ted's 'Favorite Topics of Humor'


Mark Hemingway at the Corner followed up on an item at Jules Crittenden's blog late last night.

What perked Hemingway's interest was Mr. Crittenden's relay of the following yesterday concerning an exchange during NPR's Diane Rehm Show:

Newsweek’s Ed Klein (told interviewer) Katty Kay about Kennedy’s love of humor. How the late senator loved to hear and tell Chappaquiddick jokes, and was always eager to know if anyone had heard any new ones. Not that Kennedy lacked remorse, Klein quickly added, seeming to intuit that my jaw and perhaps those of other listeners had just hit the floorboards. I gather it was a self-deprecating maneuver on Kennedy’s part, exercised with the famous Kennedy charm, though it sounds like one of those “I guess you had to have been there” things. 

Hemingway went and listened. There is a 1:40 YouTube posted of what he heard.

Here is the transcript of that clip, without wrap-up niceties:

Kay: Ed Klein, that's what I'm hearing today, that people are sad at his passing, and yet celebrating this huge life and its huge long list of accomplishments.

Klein: I think he'd be the last person who would want us, those he's left behind, to, um, be, uh, morose and, and full of bathos. I think he, he --

Kay: He would come in with a big guffawing laugh and make us laugh too.

Klein: He would, yes. You're so right, he would. And he'd probably have a joke to tell as well.

Kay: At his own expense.

Klein: Well y'know, he, I don't know if you know this or not but, one of his favorite topics of humor was indeed Chappaquiddick itself. And he would ask people, "have you heard any new jokes about Chappaquiddick?"

I mean, that is just the most amazing thing. It's not that he didn't feel remorse about the death of Mary Jo Kopechne (background music begins building), but that he still always saw, um, the other side of everything and the ridiculous side of things, too.

Kay: Ed Klein, former foreign editor of Newsweek, and author of a new book on Ted Kennedy. 

Beyond observing that a post-mortem observation such as this about a conservative would be front-page and top-story material almost anywhere and everywhere, I would rather not comment on this, as it pretty much speaks for itself. I don't want that to stop others, not that I could.

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