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Oral History

Edward Martin Oral History, Staffer for Edward Kennedy

Copyright 2016 the Miller Center Foundation and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

Young

I thought we might talk a bit about the ground rules and what we’re going to do with this and what your opportunities and rights are before any of this gets out, so if you want to discuss that with us, we’d be happy. Just tell us any concerns you have. 

Martin

Well, the only thing that I’d like to talk about is what I personally know, what I personally have been involved with or people I’ve met. But if I haven’t met them, I wouldn’t be able to say when they arrived, so I don’t want to get into that because I really don’t know them. I have no opinion about anything other than what I’ve seen or heard. 

Young

It’s mainly your memories and your knowledge that we want you to talk about, the things you know about, the things you remember. We have a list of things that we think would be good to get covered in the record, but it’s what you think that’s important also. What we do is we get this transcribed and then we have our editor correct the names or the things that didn’t come across, as best she can, and then we send that to you. We don’t send it to anybody else; nobody else sees it. We send it to you, and you and maybe Marge can go over it, if you’d like. 

And if there are things you didn’t remember or things you’d like to add, you can do that. If there are things you said you’d rather not have on the record, you can delete that, and then you send it back to us marked up. You know what a mark-up is—just don’t mark it up too much. Then we make a clean copy, and at that point, we ask for your release so that it can be released whenever the project is finished. Nothing is released before the project is finished, so we just hold it until we’re finished with everybody.

I did talk a long time and very thoroughly with the Senator before this project was ever done, with Vicki [Kennedy], Dave Burke, and Lee Fentress, who was the person who first got in touch with me when I was figuring who might be candidates for doing the oral history. We have a legal agreement covering confidentiality and all that, so it’s the same rules for everybody. The Senator’s not going to see what you say [laughs] and you’re not going to see what the Senator said until it’s released. He definitely wants the cleared version of these transcripts to be used for public education, basically, and not just stuck in a vault somewhere where nobody ever sees it.

Knott

The project will probably take about six years to complete. 

I think we’re ready to go. This is the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History Project interview with Edward Martin and Marge Martin. Thank you both for allowing us to come into your home. We’ve just gone over the ground rules, so I don’t think we need to repeat them. We thought the best place to start—you started off as a journalist, is that correct?

Martin

That’s right.

Knott

In Boston? Did you get to know the Kennedys, John Kennedy and perhaps the father, Joseph Kennedy, during that time?

Martin

Basically, my career has been journalism. I started off as a reporter in West Virginia and then I worked at the Providence Journal and then came up to Boston because my father was dying and I wanted to be close by. I worked for the Boston Herald and the Traveler. The Traveler was the afternoon paper, which folded, and the Herald was a broadsheet, but today it’s a small paper. And it was during that time I moved up in rank and became a—I wasn’t officially the city editor then, but they used to put me on the desk. And I saw the direction I was heading and I said I’d like to be a reporter but not an editor because I liked to go out and do stories. That’s one of the reasons why I left. 

But an opportune time came when Ted decided to run for Senate and I didn’t know him at all. I mean, he called me one day from his place up near Beacon Hill and he asked could he come and see me, and he would like for me to do the press for him. I said to him at the time, You’ve got the wrong guy because I never really covered politics. I was a generalist and I always wanted to stay that way so I could cover everything. And his answer then was that that’s what they wanted. Apparently they figured I didn’t support anybody else and I was probably coming to them clean. So I left the paper and went to work for him. That’s how I started.

Young

Do you have any idea how he picked you? 

Martin

Well, he said at the time that he had spoken to his brother, Jack, and I had covered Jack Kennedy. I’d known him, but not too well, but I’d covered him as a reporter and he probably—Ted has signed a piece of a drawing downstairs, which said that he got the idea of picking me from his brother for the reason I just have mentioned. I had no other connection. 

Young

You were covering his brother during his Senate campaign, or was it his Presidential campaign?

Martin

Presidential campaign. I think he came to Boston twice, and both times I did see him. But there was one time, and this is true, when he came up to Boston and he had talked to Steve Smith, who was running the campaign, and his plans were to fly up to Boston, then take a helicopter and arrive at the Public Garden. He was going to stop at Locke-Ober’s for his favorite soup, lobster stew, I guess, and then he could come around the corner and go into our headquarters, which is right on Tremont Street.

We were concerned that the Senator didn’t have too much in the way of background, and we were always complaining that he was running because he was brother of the President. And I didn’t think that the President’s arrival in Boston would help us any, so I passed word that he should come into Boston with his wife and land on Boston Common and go up to vote, which is up near the State House, and then leave immediately, which he did. Others probably agreed the same thing. Later on, Steve Smith told me the President was rather concerned. He said, Well, his first trip to Boston as President to be—

Young

To be coming in—

Martin

He said to Steve Smith, Tell Martin, the next time I come home I’ll be wearing a clown suit. [laughs] Apparently it had bothered him. Then I had stayed with the Senator during that first campaign, all the way through.

Young

Do you want to talk a little bit about the campaign? You traveled with him in his ’62 campaign. Did you go with him around the State, or did you not?

Martin

I didn’t do too much traveling with him in that campaign.

Young

Okay, ’62 campaign. 

Martin

In ’62, because we were concerned with the press coming into Boston every day, and we had tremendous press, famous names like Walter Cronkite. People came from everywhere. We had a pretty busy press period in that first campaign.

Young

Were you working out of the Beacon Street office?

Martin

We were at Boylston Street and I had an office right in the back of the building. I had picked that office chiefly because it was the only office in the building that had any air conditioning, and I had gotten in there first. I was laying out the office for them, and the Senator would come in every so often and he couldn’t believe that he could find the place air conditioned.

Young

Was Cal Clancy—is that a name you remember? 

Marge Martin

Hal.

Young

Hal [Harold] Clancy? Didn’t he also move in?

Martin

He didn’t move—Hal Clancy then was the managing editor of the Traveler and he had hired me. I had worked for a paper called the Boston Post, which had folded, and shortly after it folded, I got a call from Clancy saying, Would you like to work for us? So I came up there and went to work for him right away. Apparently he got friendly with the Senator, Ted, and various other people connected with the campaign; he might have mentioned my name, too. I don’t know. I don’t know how that happened, but I do know that I went up to see him. But he didn’t have an office. He maintained his own office somewhere.

Young

The Senator’s talked to us a bit, a fair amount, about the ’62 campaign and this is a name, along with yours, that came up, Jack Crimmins as his driver and Paul Dever. We’d like to get a picture of how that campaign worked and more than that, if you could.

Martin

Well, you mentioned Jack Crimmins’ name. Jack was a south Boston fellow who worked up in the District Attorney’s office where Ted had worked. And he was really a character because he was full of humor and he was a fastidious—dressed well. And he used to drive Ted around everywhere. He was always quick to give Ted advice on various political activity—don’t see that guy or this guy. He knew quite a few people around the State and he was an invaluable asset to the Senator, not only his driving but his humor. He kept the Senator alert, and the Senator really enjoyed him and he traveled with him every day. He was a real character.

Young

Where was it they were going? 

Martin

Jack Crimmins thought it would be a good idea to go into a certain area and I think they saw some signs, somebody up on a roof and they said it was not good idea. [laughter] Jack just shot past, said you don’t need to see this anti-Kennedy sign, you know. 

Knott

So the Senator-to-be was running against Edward McCormack, a very prominent family. What was the press strategy in terms of dealing with the nephew of the Speaker of the House at the time?

Martin

There was nothing new. The press was convinced that McCormack was the stronger of the two at the start. He had all the delegates, or had a great number of them, because he had worked that area—

Young

For the convention?

Martin

For the convention, so they figured that they didn’t know Ted Kennedy that much, but they were really surprised at the result. They were very much surprised. I remember a reporter from the Globe came in one day just before the election saying, We have a poll that shows McCormack capturing most of the delegates to the convention, and of course our polls showed just the opposite. And I said, Well, why don’t you print it then? They weren’t too sure and they didn’t print it. They said, Well, can you tell us? So I felt anything I said would spoil the impact, but we knew ahead of time that we had the delegates pretty well—because Ted had spoken virtually to each one of them.

The secret of Ted’s success is very obvious. He was a tough worker. I mean, regardless of who he ran against. If he ran against nobody, he’d still work just as hard as he did against McCormack. But I don’t think there were very many people who thought that he could win that first fight. He worked hard on it—he really took to the campaign. He knew every alley in Boston and he just moved around. These stories of him getting up at 5:00 or 4:00 in the morning, they’re absolutely true. What used to bother us was, we’d be exhausted by the end of the day and at 9:00 at night he’d still have an appointment. He was just strenuously strong. Amazing.

Young

There was his energy. As a Senator, he’s a very hard-working person, and unlike some others I could name there.

Martin

Yes.

Young

I think people may not have appreciated the hard work that he puts into everything he’s committed to, including this first campaign. Even when he was going out west for Jack, trying to get delegate votes out there, we’ve seen his diaries of that. It’s just morning, noon, and night. What is there about him that produces this energy, do you think?

Martin

It’s something that’s in the family itself, I think, some sort of—

Young

Drive?

Martin

  An attribute that they possess. Probably the father was like that, I suppose. I didn’t know the father too well, though. As a matter of fact, he had a stroke during our campaign. A couple of times I did meet him while he was in—He came up to the Cape. I remember one time I went down to Palm Beach with the Senator after his campaign. The father always believed in everything being in the right time and place. He said he’d meet you at 10:00, and 10:00 would come, but five minutes past 10:00, he wouldn’t—

So one time I had a reporter from Life magazine and a photographer, and we went down there to make a picture of the Senator and the father together, which we figured would be a good promotion. And while we were down there we stayed at a hotel and the next morning—Ted had stayed at a house right next to his father’s house. Before I left that night, I said, What time do you want us to be there? He said, Oh, about 10-ish or something like that. So we showed up about 10 past and I met—Joan Kennedy was the first one in the house. She said, Ted is very upset with you. Ted came out furious. He said, Don’t you know my father meets me at 10:00? So there was confusion. The father was in the pool, and the mother had decided to be in part of the picture. She had dressed and come down, but she went back upstairs. We walked over to the pool and the father saw us and he kept doing this—get out of here, you know, you were late. The photographer and the reporter were absolutely stunned. But eventually we did manage—

Young

Did you get the picture?

Martin

And it ran on the front page of Life magazine. 

Young

This was during the primary campaign, because Joe Kennedy had his stroke sort of—That stroke he had was almost at the time of victory in the primary campaign, right at the end of the campaign.

Martin

That’s right.

Knott

Did you know Eddie McCormack at all?

Martin

A little bit, as a reporter. I covered him as a reporter. He’s a bright fellow. He was well liked. As a matter of fact, his uncle was Speaker [John] McCormack. I always remember his uncle. Right after we won the campaign against him, his uncle showed up one afternoon at the campaign headquarters and he said he wanted work for Ted, and he’s Speaker of the House. He says, I’ll do anything. I’ll even lick stamps for you. And I said, Oh, boy, wouldn’t that make an awful picture? So I rushed him in to my office and said, We really appreciate this gesture. But I don’t think he did anything. That would’ve been a bad thing for us. But he supported Ted.

Knott

There was a point during the campaign or in one of the debates where McCormack turned to Edward Kennedy and said If your name was Edward Moore—

Martin

I was at that speech.

Knott

Could you tell us about that?

Martin

That was true that McCormack set up their headquarters right next door to us. He had this sign showing he had asked us to debate and was refused, and Ted, every time, would come in and see that thing, but I think it got to Ted. I think it affected the Senator after a while. He said, Let’s debate, and we picked south Boston. Why? We figured that would be as good a place as any to have a debate, and there was a discussion on where should the various debates be. But we picked that, and the people thought that McCormack had picked that place, and that was one of the reasons why they disliked McCormack, to drag that guy over to south Boston. But it’s true, he was wrongly accused.

I sat in the front seat of that debate and McCormack was really well prepared. He was really tough on Ted. I thought that McCormack had won that debate until I got back to headquarters. We had a woman there—I forget her name now—she ran the switchboard, that old-fashioned switchboard, and she said, What happened over there? The place was loaded with phone calls of people all complaining about McCormack. As a matter of fact, there was a bus driver, an MBTA [Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority] bus driver, pulled up in front of our place and he hollered out, Hey, I’m with Kennedy, too. And we just got a storm of calls and they all turned against McCormack. All his friends turned against him, figuring—he had played the old-time thing. It was really a surprise to us when we got home.

Young

How did Ted prepare for that debate? Were you part of that preparation or wasn’t it any big deal?

Martin

I’m trying to remember now. He prepared as he prepared for all the debates. We’d get together and ask questions or figure out different things. Although that type of campaign was more about local issues at the time. Kennedy had fooled McCormack, though, because he spoke about foreign affairs, which really surprised McCormack. McCormack was really tough on him, really, really tough. He told a lot of stories about Kennedy at the time; we heard them. We almost figured he had lost the fight.

Young

Do you think Ted expected this kind of personal attack? Did that surprise him?

Martin

I think it did. You mean—

Young

You don’t deserve this. I do deserve it. I’ve earned my way. You haven’t worked a day in your life.

Martin

We didn’t figure that. We didn’t figure he’d be that way. We figured he’d go after us because Kennedy had no background; we knew that and we knew that he was using the, You’re the brother of the President, and we knew we had a—Jack, the slogan we had. I was against that, too.

Young

You were against what?

Martin

The slogan—He can do more for Massachusetts—but that was used once before, I think, by the President.

Knott

By JFK [John Fitzgerald Kennedy], right. Why were you opposed?

Martin

Well, it just added to being the brother of the President, and although that should be a big advantage, in that campaign it wouldn’t be. At least I thought it wouldn’t be. 

Young

Did you have a better slogan that you remember? I mean, it’s not just the slogan. It’s what you thought his main appeal would be, to be emphasized.

Martin

Well, one way I thought—No, I didn’t have any substitute. I think at the time I probably figured we didn’t need a slogan. Everybody used slogans in those days, you know.

Marge Martin

And they had a song. 

Knott

I’m sorry?

Marge Martin

Wasn’t there a song at that time, too? Hey, Massachusetts, lend me your ear.

Martin

Oh, yes. We had a song.

Young

What was the song?

Marge Martin

To the tune of Hey, Look Me Over. 

Martin

We made up various songs, you know. We’d have a sound truck that played the songs. Everything Is Coming Up Roses and—But that’s typical of Boston politics. It’s funny, though, I never got involved in politics until I met him. I had followed it, but I never covered the State House. But he was a surprising person, from the start. Of course, they credit a lot of it—From time to time, he had credit going to his staff. He had all smart staff people, but I think the answer is that it was him. He made it easy for us, where we didn’t have to worry about who was running against who. 

Young

His brother and some of the people from Washington—Ted Sorensen and others—would help him out, but not officially. Have I got that right, in the campaign?

Martin

Yes. 

Young

So the President officially took a hands-off attitude. It’s up to the people of Massachusetts. I think his brother had a lot riding on this election, too, don’t you?

Martin

Oh sure, but he himself personally—I didn’t see anything from him unless he was talking to Steve Smith, but he never surfaced. I think he knew what we were working towards. I remember we had a brochure—Eddie McCormack put out a brochure that showed Senator Kennedy, brother of the President, and the rest was blank. [laughter]

Young

His résumé.

Martin

Yes, and on his side he had—In that particular period of time you’d expect anybody who went into politics in Massachusetts to run for the City Council. I’m not sure how the Senator would make it as a city councilor, though. [laughter] But we were catching a lot of antagonism, too, from others who had ambitions. Tip [Thomas] O’Neill, for example, was dead against Kennedy running for that because he had a candidate named Mike Neville, who was a mayor of Cambridge, and I don’t think he was happy with Kennedy for getting in the race. He’s quoted as saying, I don’t know how true it is, that you couldn’t beat the Kennedys because they had too much money.

Even the old-timers overlooked one thing about Kennedy, you know: he worked for it. I always maintained that if just the people he helped as a Senator now, to get an uncle in from Greece, or anything, if just those people voted for him, then he’d have a majority right from the start. He works at that job. There’s no secret about his ability. And whatever they said, he always had the great staff. I imagine that got him furious—it’s not the staff that wins the campaign 

Young

Well, they also said it was his brother’s doing it, it was the family, it was the staff, everybody but him. [laughs]

Martin

Yes, that’s true.

Young

But I do think that that comes out in the writing and some of the early interpretations of Edward Kennedy. He’s the kid with the silver spoon in his mouth who got where he got because of the advantages, other than his own personal skills.

Marge Martin

Tell them about the guy, you were campaigning, and McCormack had said he never worked a day in his life.

Martin

I wasn’t there, it wasn’t me, but Jack Crimmins was there that day. He was going into the Navy Yard, that was shortly after the campaign, and some big husky guy had stopped him and said, I hear you never worked a day in your life. And the Senator figured he was trying to get his back up, but the guy says, You didn’t miss a thing. It was really, the Senator pretty well broke up.

Knott

Did you find that you enjoyed the political life? This was something new for you. You made a career move there.

Martin

Oh, yes, I enjoyed it, but then I left his employ several times. I worked for the space program and I did public relations for them. And then [Jimmy] Carter appointed me Housing Administrator, which is a great job, but I think I got the job because there was nobody else who wanted it really. Because even up here in Boston, being a Housing Administrator and having too much money to pass around, you could get yourself in a lot of trouble. Kennedy used to fool me a lot of times, saying, I don’t know how you kept out of it. You should have gone to jail, which isn’t true, but it was—There was a black woman who was head of—

Marge Martin

Pat Harris.

Knott

Patricia Harris.

Martin

Yes. She was wonderful and she loved politics. Of all the people who had the same job as I did around the country, she’d come up here more than any, just to talk politics. She loved Boston and she liked Kennedy, too. 

Young

Want to talk about Gerry Doherty a bit? 

Knott

Oh, yes, we haven’t mentioned the name Gerard Doherty, Gerry Doherty. Did you get to know him well? 

Martin

Oh, very well.

Knott

Do you want to talk a little bit about his role?

Martin

I think he was probably the main politician in the Kennedy campaign because he was a State rep and he knew politics inside and out. And he had traveled across the State many, many times. The Senator listened to him quite a bit. He was at every meeting and he was so down to earth. He could work those delegates pretty well, too. Have you talked to him at all? 

Knott

Well, we’ve had a consultation with him. We met with him.

Young

We had a visit with him. We haven’t interviewed him yet, but we’re going to.

Martin

You’ll have a long interview with him. He knows this right from the early start of the campaign, because the only ones left now are him, myself and the girl up in Boston—

Marge Martin

Barbara [Souliotis].

Martin

Barbara. We’re really the only ones left now from that first campaign, I believe.

Knott

Maybe we can move to the 1964 campaign, which was a unique one. The Senator had that terrible airplane accident.

Martin

Oh, yes; the accident. I was involved in it. See, at that time we were working—This fellow, Eddie Moss, and I were assigned to travel around the country to set up fund-raising activities for the Kennedy Library. We would go to Chicago, for example, and set up an event. We wouldn’t stay for the event because while that was going on we were down in New Jersey setting up another one. We kept moving around. And after a while I was anxious to get out of it. It was driving us crazy. But at the time of the accident, the Senator had been down in Washington for the Civil Rights Act. He was to fly up to the State convention—

Young

To accept the nomination?

Martin

To accept the nomination. So what he did was—it kept getting later and later for him to come up because he stopped at the gravesite on the way. He was supposed to come up with Eddie Boland and had called Eddie Moss, who lived up in Andover, Mass., to get the pilot. We used to have [Edward] Zimny, a fellow named Zimny, to fly down and pick him up. And Eddie Moss called me and said, You and I are going to Washington in the plane. I said, Well, I’ve got a station wagon I want to leave with my kids so they can use it and I don’t want to drive up there. Why don’t you fly the plane down to Norwood and pick me up there? Well, he couldn’t get into Norwood, so I said, Ah, the hell with it. You go fly down and I’ll pick up Joan and bring her to the Convention. So they flew down and Eddie Moss, or rather the—what’s his name, the Congressman—?

Knott

Boland—

Martin

Boland—he didn’t want to wait that long because he was part of the campaign. He had given a speech there. And he took off, and I went up there and got hold of Joan. We had it prearranged, so we’d bring her over to the campaign. And when I walked into the convention, all the press gathered around me and said, There’s a plane down. You don’t think it’s Kennedy. I said, Oh, no, I don’t think it’s that. So there was all sorts of talk about the plane. The plane had landed, crashed in Northampton, which is a short distance from the site, and I went back to the hall. Then I called and I discovered that it was Ted. 

I didn’t know what to do then. We had to notify people, so, the first call I made was, with all the press around me, I called the White House, and I said, Would you get hold of somebody from the Kennedy family? So they got hold of—what’s his name—

Knott

Sarge [Sargent] Shriver.

Martin

Sarge Shriver, and I said to him—Ted hadn’t come into the hospital. He came in later. I said, Ted is injured in an accident. He’s going to live, but will you notify all the Kennedy family members? which was perfect for me, like that. He took care of that. Then the hospital was very—they knew, whatever; this was a small hospital. God, we tore the place apart. I took over a hall in the hospital and called the phone company and said I want 50 phones put in here right away. And they did, in about an hour, but I discovered that they had cut off all the lines of the people on the street. I almost died. And then when flowers started coming in, we had six or seven different places they sent those. And all the mail, the mail I kept—I didn’t let him see, except important ones from the Prime Minster or those sorts. We would take all those up to the Senator. 

When the Senator came into the hospital, he was as white as anyone. He had a bad cut on his hand and I thought he was dying.

Young

When they brought him into the hospital?

Martin

Yes. Then I was worried also about Eddie Moss. He came in later, but his head was all bruised. He was dead. I said to a nurse, Will you call his wife? She says, I don’t want to call her. So I called his wife. Then I went outside and I talked to the press—there were mobs—and I just talked to them briefly. But they wanted more. So by that time the Cardinal had come up and he—

Young

Was this Cardinal [Richard] Cushing?

Martin

Cardinal Cushing. He had two nuns in the Cadillac. And the Cardinal said to me, When I’m in the hospital talking to the Senator, you go down and get the two nuns and bring them up here. They want to see the Senator. I said, No. If you let those two nuns up, they’ll go back and spread it and we’ll have nothing but nuns coming up here wanting to see the Senator. He says, You’re probably right. Besides, it’s air conditioned in the car. [laughter

But he’s a character. I might add, later on he told me, You’re doing God’s duty taking care of that man. That’s your role in life. And later on, before I left, I met the Cardinal at a gathering; oh, he went up to the funeral of Eddie Moss. He said, What are you doing now? I said, I’m working for the space program. He said, You left the Senator? I said, Yeah. Good, he said, they wouldn’t do anything for you anyway. [laughter] It was just the reverse, and at that time I think one of the Kennedys had given them a tremendous check from the father. 

One thing at the hospital was Bobby [Kennedy] came up and I said to Bobby, You’ve got to have a press conference for these people out there and you’ve got to tell them about— He said, You run the press conference. I said, Okay, so I had all of the press in there and I’d warned them before. See, I had remembered about [Dwight] Eisenhower. They had to go into every kind of a detail about his condition. I didn’t want any of that stuff involving Ted, so I said to them before they started, Remember, I’ll answer your questions but I cannot get into any medical stuff because I’m not a doctor. The first thing one reporter asked me about something had to do with a bone in the back or something, and they laughed because I couldn’t understand it. We satisfied them with saying he was—

Teddy ran his office out of that place, and it was Angelique Voutselas who did all that—But it was easy to run the office because we had a fellow down in Washington who would call every day and would feed me the information about bills and how he figured the Senator should vote. I’d synopsize them and give them to the Senator and then pass the word back. That’s how we kept it going. And it worked well. 

He used to go outside. He loved the outdoors. They’d wheel him out on the porch, and there was one time a helicopter come down to take a picture and it was from Channel 5 TV and the paper I worked for. I was away at the time. I had gone out to a store to get a sandwich or something, and I think Kennedy thought I had brought this thing myself. To this day he still thinks I did. I didn’t do it. He was upset about it. But he turned out to be a pretty good patient. 

Young

He was moved from the hospital in Northampton to—

Marge Martin

New England Baptist.

Young

But you said a little while back that when he was brought into the Northampton Hospital, he looked pretty bad.

Martin

He did, yes. 

Young

And did the doctors give you some assurance that he would live?

Martin

I didn’t talk to the doctors. At the hospital we had a doctor who was the State examiner, medical examiner, Corriden, Dr. [Thomas] Corriden. He was a character. At one time he was going to give a press conference. He was going to talk at the press conference, and he was writing on a piece of paper what he going to explain, and I said, Can I see that? I looked at it. He said, Well, who are you? I said, Well, I’m a friend of the Senator’s. You want to take this out and take this out. He said, Who the hell are you to tell me? I’m a doctor. He was furious. And he took that out and he went before the press and he said, I’ll tell you what I’m authorized to tell you according to Edward Martin. [laughter] He was furious. From then on, we used him and then he started to dress up and be on TV; he really took a posture. But I didn’t know any doctors up there.

But coming down, when we moved him to New England Baptist, we had an ambulance and a regular police escort, but he stopped and he got a hot dog or something, which created quite a confusion. When he got into the hospital, he had a difficult time with his back because every so often they’d have to turn him.

Marge Martin

Turn him over.

Martin

They had one of these—

Marge Martin

Stryker things.

Martin

They had two people from the Army who were up there who were familiar with this thing. I remember one time they weren’t around and he wanted to be turned over so he could shave. He said, Why don’t you turn me? I said, What if I do it wrong, or spill you? How do I explain that to Bobby? We got him around. He had a hole right where his face was so he could reach down and shave. But he was a tremendous patient. I assume he was in pain from time to time, but you would never know it. He was cheerful and invigorating, and he was very impatient and wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. 

We went up to visit Ed Moss’ grave about 3:00 o'clock in the morning. We went up there and back, got in there without the press being around or seeing anything. Later we went at just a regular time. 

There was one occasion up there that President [Lyndon] Johnson came to visit him. He was in Air Force One and he was flying down from New Hampshire. It kept getting later and later, and about midnight, Ted called me and said, You better tell the President that he shouldn’t come into the hospital. That would probably create too much confusion and everything else with him arriving. So I got on the phone and I called him. I said to President Johnson, The Senator appreciates your interest but he advises you not to come. He said it’ll be disturbing to all the patients. And Johnson said, You tell him I’m coming. The patients can sleep a little longer in the morning. [laughter] And he came anyway, and boy, he created quite a racket there when he came in, but it was clear he liked Ted Kennedy very much. He liked Ted. There was something, some bill or something that he said to Ted that he’d stand up for it. But he created a lot of confusion, you know.

Young

How did the Kennedy family react or take Edward’s injury, and I think near-death? There’d been other tragedies.

Martin

They came up as soon as they could. All of them came up. I forget what order they came in, but they seemed pleased that he looked so well. There was some talk that he was a cripple. As a matter of fact, there was a reporter who wrote a story that Ted would never walk again. And when we had a press conference, I had a sheet put over him and I said, You could have your toes exposed and wiggle your feet every so often in the press conference. We made it very clear that he could walk. Then he stood up. He did stand up, you know. When Bobby came, he had a slew of New York reporters with him and I wouldn’t let them up there to talk to the Senator because I had made a promise to the Boston press that they would get equal time. Bobby went along, he didn’t force me. 

Young

So the reporters didn’t come with him? 

Martin

They stayed downstairs. 

Young

And Bobby was Senator from New York at that time.

Martin

Yes. 

Knott

Did Joan Kennedy fill in for the Senator for the remainder of the campaign?

Martin

Oh, for that campaign, we had Joan move around with us and she did marvelous. She and Ted’s mother. The mother was superb. You’d have these gatherings and they’d be all around just trying to get signatures and putting flowers, and everything else. They really loved Joan and Mrs. Kennedy. Amazing. And Bobby did make appearances, too, for Ted, so they all were very good. 

Young

There was no significant opposition to him, was there?

Martin

Who was it, [Jack] Robinson? I think it was Robinson. The only two campaigns in which he had strong persons were McCormack and [Mitt] Romney. And Romney ran a good campaign, but he learned a lesson how Kennedy could work. 

Young

What was the lesson? 

Martin

That Kennedy just never stopped working, running. But the debate against Romney, we were concerned about it because Romney was pretty good. He had a good appearance and everything else, but he didn’t know politics, Washington politics. And he’d speak about something about health, and Ted knew the inside and out of how it worked, what went on in the Senate. He embarrassed Romney. Romney looked pretty weak.

Young

I think Romney started out very strong in the polls.

Martin

Of course, and he’s a good speaker and he looks good. He’s got a good head of hair and—[laughter]

Young

Is that a plus in Massachusetts, because I’m certainly not going to make it there.

Knott

Ditto.

Martin

If that’s case, we’re all in trouble. But I think Romney is going to run for President. I don’t think he’d have a chance being reelected. 

Young

You think maybe?

Marge Martin

I don’t know. 

Knott

I was just talking to Marge—

Marge Martin

I don’t think much of him as a Governor, so I don’t know. 

Martin

Depends on who—I think the one that would have a good shot is the woman from New York.

Marge Martin

You mean Hillary [Clinton].

Martin

But I don’t know. I don’t know if the Midwest would accept a woman, so we’ll see. She probably won’t run this time. She’ll run the next time. That would be great. 

Knott

Did you go on in 1968 to help Senator Edward Kennedy with Robert Kennedy’s Presidential campaign? Were you involved in that effort at all?

Martin

No, I think I was back in private life, I did leave the government.

Marge Martin

In what year? 

Knott

1968 when Bobby—

Marge Martin

You were down in Washington.

Knott

Was that the NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] position?

Martin

No, I was—

Marge Martin

What year did you start down in Washington as AA? Seventy?

Martin

Sixty-two.

Knott

AA was 1971, according to our—

Young

Dave Burke had left and then you replaced Dave, didn’t you?

Martin

Yes. 

Knott

How did that come about, the offer to become the Senator’s administrative assistant?

Martin

Probably he didn’t have anybody else. [laughter]

Young

I’m sure that’s not it. 

Martin

All I know is when I was leaving him, he said, Will you stay? At that time, the AA gave raises to everybody, but I cannot do anything to my own salary because it would depend on the Senator. And as I was leaving, he said, You stay another year and I’ll give you that raise. I said, That’s blackmail. You give me a raise. [laughter] And I go, but I don’t know why he picked me to go down there.

Marge Martin

Sure you do. You’re capable.

Martin

I’ll tell you, he made it very easy to be an AA, though, because he gave us full authority. We never had any trouble. We had at that time a hundred people on the staff and committees, and he was chairman of several committees, the Judiciary. And those people who were head of those committees were prominent people because they came out of the government and everything else. They couldn’t see working for me, but yet I was the guy that gave them raises. I used to argue with them that any time you leave a memo for the Senator, you’d better send a copy to me so I don’t look like I don’t know what’s going on, which they did. But the Senator, no matter what happened, would always lean on the AA, and he made me the—everybody knew the AA was the boss. And the Senator was proud of that; we never had any argument amongst staff members. We never had any problem at all among staff members. And I think that was probably the reason. He knew how to handle that. 

I read somewhere in your book about he lost the whip fight. People thought it was a problem. I didn’t have much to do with that, but I knew that—I always used to kid him about, what do we call you here, whipshit?] [laughter] I could never see him being a whip anyway. He wasn’t that—A whip shines shoes and takes care of all these things others want, but Kennedy, as a whip, was pushing his own bills and everything else. I don’t think he would have made a good whip anyway. 

Young

But didn’t he run for it, for being whip? I mean, it wasn’t forced on him, was it? I think this is an important part of that because—I’m giving my own opinion now just looking at these from the outside. It never looked to me as though Edward Kennedy was headed for going up the party ladder in the Senate.

Martin

I know. 

Young

And so I’ve always wondered, well, how did he get to be whip then? Or did he maybe entertain that and then change later? I don’t know. Can you shed some light on that? 

Martin

Gee, I really don’t know. Again, I wasn’t down there at the time of the whip fight. Or maybe he was being encouraged to run at that time because it was—He was probably the most logical. I don’t think that was ever his route to go that way. It’s hard to say.  

Young

It’s the line that leads to majority leader or minority leader of the Senate. That would be the normal course of things and we haven’t talked with him about that, or with others at the time. But it’s a question we have as to whether that was part of his plan or ambition, or whether he was different and not looking for that.

Martin

Yes. I really don’t know.

Knott

Although he got along very well with his fellow Senators—

Martin

Oh, gee, amazingly, with both sides.

Young

Could you tell us a little bit about that? Some examples maybe?

Martin

Right opposite his office was [Frederick] Hollings and he became quite friendly with Hollings. I never heard him say anything bad about any of the Senators. You remember the Senator who became Vice President? 

Young

[Walter] Mondale?

Martin

No, Mondale’s Vice President. Who was Mondale’s Vice President?

Marge Martin

No—

Young

Mondale was Carter’s Vice President. 

Knott

Hubert Humphrey?

Martin

No. Let me see if I can get him—He was sort of a lightweight.

Young

Dan Quayle? Bush’s Vice President?

Martin

It was Quayle, yes. One time the Senator told me he filed a bill with him. He was—when everybody figured that Quayle was a lightweight. I mean, he could work with any Senator down there probably including [Strom] Thurmond, I guess.

Young

Jessie Helms?

Martin

I don’t know. [laughter]

Young

You don’t know about that? 

Martin

I don’t think anybody worked with him. But he did a—the Senator from Arizona—

Young

The conservative?

Martin

Conservative, yes.

Young

Barry Goldwater?

Martin

No, he didn’t have much to do with him while I was there. 

Marge Martin

I’m trying to think who he is. 

Knott

He’s worked with [John] McCain, but I wouldn’t call—

Marge Martin

You don’t mean New Mexico?

Martin

Who was the guy that we knew down there, who we played tennis with? 

Marge Martin

Why am I drawing a blank?

Knott

From Arizona?

Marge Martin

No. [Pete] Domenici.

Knott

Oh, Pete Domenici. 

Martin

Pete Domenici. He was pretty controversial, because there was one time when he was—He used to come up to our place where we lived down there, and he used the same tennis court. I got to know him a little bit. He came to me one time and he said, I don’t know anything about organizing a Senate office. I just got elected. Will you give me a hand? And I said, Sure. So I went over and helped him organize it and he said, Well, geez; that’s surprising. I’m a Republican, you’re a Democrat. And he told Ted, and Ted says, He helped you organize? He can’t organize his own. [laughter] He wouldn’t take any credit for it. I’ll never forget that. 

Knott

You mentioned how hard a worker he was when he came to campaigning. Was the same true as far as the Senate office, and the demands sort of being on around the clock? 

Martin

Oh, sure. I’ll tell you why. I usually brought work with me when I’d go home at night, and I’d do some of the work at home. I’d have supper at 8:00 and then I typed all the answers and everything else until 11:00. We would—any of those fellows who worked as an AA will tell you. See, when you work for a Kennedy, you not only do all his work, but you’re working also for the Kennedy family. If somebody wants to take a trip—there was one time when his sister got head of the Ireland—

Knott

Ambassador to Ireland? 

Young

Jean [Kennedy Smith]?

Martin

Yes, Ambassador to Ireland, Jean. And Ted said to me, Would you go over and be her AA over there? I’d been to Ireland several times, but I said, No, I don’t want to go over there. I don’t want to do that. And he said, Well, do it for only about a month and then— I said, I don’t want to go over. I know the work involved. Everybody who ever came there, you’d be arranging for trips and stays and I had enough of that. So I never went over. She turned out to be a pretty good Ambassador.

Marge Martin

She did a good job.

Martin

She was a great woman. They all were. 

Young

What did the Senator expect of an AA besides when you work for a Kennedy, you also work for the family? But a lot of people remark on his building of a staff and his use of staff. And you were asked about Domenici to help organize. Well, other people in the Senate have told us that other Senators, people, have come to them and just say how do you mange it, how do you do it? You were there at a time when the staff was really sort of growing, wasn’t it, because he came in with very few people in ’62.

Martin

Yes. 

Young

By ’71 you say you had a hundred people, so the staff was also growing not only in his office but also in the Senate at that time.

Martin

That’s right.

Young

Could you just talk about what he expected and what he demanded of staff? What he needed staff for and how he used them?

Martin

At that time the interest was in building up his committee staff because on the Judiciary, he picked up outstanding people. He had Steve Breyer come aboard, and Steve was brilliant. He’s a brilliant guy. That’s the type of person he looked for, but it didn’t take him too long to find these people because the people gravitated to him, the Kennedys, you know. He was smart.

Young

These were people that were concerned with issues and legislation, health, other things.

Martin

Like all his health people were doctors, of course, and were either in high positions in the government or famous in private life. Larry Horowitz was a doctor. You want to get hold of him.

Young

Yes, we certainly do. It seems as though he did a lot more than health care.

Martin

Oh yes, he did. He was broadened. Ted relied on Larry for a lot of things, you know. 

Young

Was Carey Parker there when you were there?

Martin

Yes. Carey Parker was a legend. 

Young

Tell us about that. 

Martin

When I first went there he was there then. He’s a guy who never left his desk, I don’t think. He was a great writer and a great thinker, and the Senator relied on him an awful lot. He wrote many of those speeches. He was absolutely brilliant. Lately, I understand he hasn’t been well, but he still comes to work two or three days a week, I think. He was a brilliant guy. Kennedy relied on him for a lot of things. I don’t know how he got hold of him, how he hired him. This was before my time. I don’t know what he did.

Marge Martin

That was a case of longevity, too. 

Young

I’m trying to get a picture of somebody like Carey Parker, who was the legislative assistant but was also dealing with public statements. He reviews those, extremely—He relates very closely to the Senator, and that seems to be almost a special relationship.

Martin

Yes, it is.

Young

And then there’s the AA, who is doing something else. I’m trying to get a picture of how this thing worked.

Martin

The AA had a handle on almost everything, but most of the work was day-to-day stuff. Arrange for the schedules and make sure that the people in Boston dovetailed with Washington, and whenever we put out a statement that everybody knew what the statement was, that we wouldn’t have any confusion going. That was the role of the AA. 

Young

Was it to see that the Senator got the paper that he needed on time?

Martin

Oh yes.

Young

And then did it go through Carey, also, if it was on policy? Would it also go through someone like Carey Parker?

Martin

Most times. 

Young

We’re still trying to figure out—we have close dealing with some of the staff because they’re briefing the Senator. We brief them, and then Milton [Gwirtzman]—this is not just a history. This is also we try to figure out who does what.

Martin

It’s difficult. See, the role I happened to have principally was the press, at the start I handled a variety of things, but I never got interested as much in what was going on the Senate floor because I didn’t have the time to be, honestly, I couldn’t, and usually those committeemen would spend their time over there. 

Knott

So you’ve known Milton Gwirtzman for quite some time? 

Martin

Yes, Milty was Ben Smith’s guy. That was funny how that—

Young

How did that work? 

Martin

That was before my time, but the quarrel they had—they put him in there only temporarily, but the big problem was between the Governors because they—let’s see, who was the Governor?

Marge Martin

[Foster] Furcolo.

Martin

And Furcolo never got along with Kennedy, but Kennedy feared that Furcolo was going to appoint himself to that seat, which I think he would have. But President Kennedy, at the time, overlapped his—switching with—then they nominate [John] Volpe. Was it Volpe?

Young

Volpe made a comeback. 

Marge Martin

He had a Cabinet post, Transportation.

Young

Transportation, I think. John Volpe.

Knott

You probably know Melody Miller quite well? 

Marge Martin

Oh, we knew Melody.

Knott

She goes way back as well, I think.

Martin

Yes. She goes back right from the beginning. She was just a receptionist at the front office.

Young

Wasn’t she with Bobby? No? I thought she had been—

Martin

She might have worked some and—

Young

Her association with the Kennedys began, I don’t know in what capacity, before she joined Ted. 

Martin

Yes. I don’t know what she did with Robert. 

Knott

You were with the Senator when busing sort of tore the city of Boston apart. Any recollections of that time?

Martin

Oh, yes. The day he came to Boston at the height of that thing, we had a group of anti-busing people who had come in and wanted to talk to him. Well, I was upstairs in his office, and I told the group of busing people, I’ll talk to you, but I’ll only talk to representatives. I don’t want a whole crowd up here. And while they were doing that, I looked out the window and Kennedy had arrived, and instead of coming upstairs, he went right to the platform downstairs. And the crowd got around him. So I came downstairs at the time and joined him, and it was pretty rough. They wouldn’t let him talk. Some turned their backs on him. I was afraid they were going to hurt him. They did things to the car you wouldn’t believe. It was a tough time and these people were really mad.

Knott

How did he react to that? 

Martin

He was shaken up, but he went back upstairs and he felt as though they were wrong. It turned out later that the idea wasn’t wrong, but it was the way it was done. See, the judge had made a mistake. He took black kids and put them in south Boston, which he should never have done because right away, that was the sore spot in the whole busing the Irish kids over there, and it caused a tremendous trouble throughout the whole—And it never let up for a while. I thought that would be the death of Kennedy running again. I know he didn’t get any strong vote in south Boston after—

Young

But he did carry Boston 50%, just a little over; the city of Boston.

Martin

Yes.

Young

In the next election, I think.

Martin

That’s right.

Young

So it didn’t entirely turn against him. 

Martin

No, the people outside. But Boston is a big vote, you know. But he did all right. That really hurt and it took a long while to—To this day there are people over there who don’t like Kennedy. That’s tough, being in a crowd like that. Boy, I remember on another occasion in which we were coming back into our headquarters one night, after he had made a speech. It was the night of the election, and we were walking back into the headquarters and a whole crowd of people who loved him, who followed us, and the store which we had our headquarters was all glass windows on either side going in. We all got in and I couldn’t get the door open because it opened out, see, and we were up against the door, Joan and Ted and I. And the glass on either side unfortunately exploded, came down on all of us, but it didn’t harm us. But six people were pretty badly cut. They took them to the hospital.

Young

What was it? Was it the crowd pressure on the windows?

Martin

Yes, the crowd. But we got in all right. So it taught me a lesson on never to get caught in a crowd. It was an awful thing. 

Marge Martin

I was there that night. It was scary.

Knott

I can imagine. Why don’t we take a little break?

Knott

President Carter appointed you to be head of the New England regional. How did that come about?

Martin

Well, that’s when I say nobody really wanted the job, but it was a Presidential appointment and I guess Kennedy had a hand in it. I wanted to get up to Boston. I had enough of the AA’s job. Any of them will tell you that. Dave Burke—

Marge Martin

They only do it for so long and that’s it.

Knott

One term, maybe. 

Marge Martin

I don’t know. 

Young

You were there most of one Senate term. I think, ’71.

Martin

I think I was the longest AA.

Marge Martin

Seventy-one until—Did we come back in ’77? 

Knott

June of ’77. President Carter appointed you as the regional administrator, June of ’77?

Martin

Yes.

Marge Martin

Then we must have—

Martin

That was the second time, though, was it?

Marge Martin

He only had one term. 

Martin

Oh, but—I forget now. 

Marge Martin

I don’t know. We were down there a long time anyhow. 

Knott

You were both happy to come back?

Marge Martin

I loved it down there. We had a great time when we lived there. We lived in a great neighborhood, and had lots of friends. Then we moved to the Cape and we didn’t know a soul. It was like you died, you know.

Knott

What is your take on what happened between Senator Kennedy and President Carter? 

Martin

Oh, well, I think Carter was disturbed because Kennedy got involved in that thing, and I suppose he blames Kennedy for part of the loss he took. But Kennedy and I went down to Georgia to visit the Carter Library afterwards. It was rather nice. He couldn’t have been more friendly. The only one we had problem with was his wife. She didn’t come out to see us. See, wives carry their—

Marge Martin

They don’t forgive like—They don’t. 

Knott

Did the Senator consult with you when he was considering running for President in 1980? Did you have an opinion as to whether he should do that or not?

Martin

I was trying to think of that the other night. He didn’t consult with me. Because remember, there were two or three times he was deciding to run and then he backed out. The last one was a—You remember before there was The Globe, Dave Farrell, the night—There was a lot of interest that Kennedy was going to meet at the hotel the next morning and announce whether he was going to run or not, and we knew that he wasn’t going to run. Dave Farrell, I was avoiding him because he and I were close friends. He called down at the Cape house. I happened to pick the phone up down there and it was Dave. And Dave says, What’s the answer? And I said, Well, I don’t know. I lied to him. And he was furious because he would be the only one who would have a big scoop. I wouldn’t tell him.

Young

What year was this?

Knott

Must have been—probably ’80.

Martin

Eighty. Gee, it’s funny, you know. We were sitting around with a group of people trying to figure out how to put his campaigns together, what order they were in. You forget. 

Knott

Sure.

Martin

McCormack is one, but then from then on we had these. [Michael] Robertson, God. 

Knott

And a guy named Josiah Spaulding at one point.

Martin

Spaulding—

Knott

In 1970 and—

Martin

And he was well known in Boston.

Knott

Yes, he was. 

Knott

You had Michael Robertson in ’76 and then Robinson in 2000, both of whom faded away quickly. Did you go on the road with the Senator during the 1980 campaign?

Martin

In the ’80—that’s right, yes.

Marge Martin

The Presidential campaign, you did. 

Martin

Oh, yes. 

Marge Martin

Don’t you remember when they landed in Hyannis? We’d all go out to the plane. I’d go get him and bring him home.

Martin

I remember out in Iowa. The press would always head for the farm, the farm house, because the candidate would go in a farmer’s house and talk to them. We were so cold in Iowa. Boy, is it a cold place. Well, the hogs; all you saw was hogs. I don’t know how people lived out there. [laughter]

Knott

The Senator stuck it out to the end. He went all the way to the convention. It was kind of a bitter fight.

Martin

Yes.

Marge Martin

A group of us women from the Cape got in a van and went down to Pennsylvania and we campaigned down there. We had a good time trying to pull it out, but you could tell where we were it wasn’t too good for him. 

Young

I’m trying to think of a question here about why—it was kind of unusual that a Democrat runs against an incumbent President for reelection, and was there a bad blood between the two? Was it a question that Edward felt the party going in the wrong direction, or what was it? 

Martin

Well, there wasn’t bad blood, that’s—

Young

It wasn’t?

Martin

No. I guess the Democrats figured—I don’t know, who knew Carter at the time?

Young

No. I’m talking about running against Carter for reelection, to try to take over the mantle of the party.

Martin

There was no bad blood.

Young

Why did he do that?

Martin

But it became bad blood with Carter because he figured Kennedy interfered in his election. I could swear Carter feels as though—I can’t speak for him, but I suppose he feels as though if Kennedy had stayed out of it, he would have had a better chance of winning. 

Young

Well, I’ve talked with one of the Carter aides about this and he said, We had double-digit inflation, we had the Iranian hostage crisis, and then we had Ted Kennedy. And he said if we’d had only two of those, we could have probably made it, but he didn’t say which two. No. I meant while Carter was President and Kennedy was in the Senate, because that seems to have been where they had some major disagreements. I’m trying to understand whether it was on health care, because Kennedy became very critical of Carter and some of the stands he was taking as President. 

Martin

Yes. 

Young

I’m just trying to figure out what it was, whether there was some kind of personal thing, or the extent to which it was just a disagreement on policy. 

Martin

Gee, I don’t know, but I don’t think it was anything. What would make Kennedy run against an incumbent President? I would imagine that he thought it was the right time for him to run. I really don’t know.

Knott

So you went to Iowa, and did you go anywhere else in the campaign?

Martin

Oh, yes. I went to California. I went everywhere. 

Knott

Did you go to the convention itself?

Martin

Oh, yes. 

Knott

There was that famous scene where President Carter was trying to get Senator Kennedy to shake his hand on the rostrum.

Young

I think the Senator arrived a little late.

Martin

There was another occasion. When was the convention in Miami? 

Knott

There was one in ’72 that nominated [George] McGovern.

Martin

Yes. That’s the one. We were down there that night, and it got so late that Kennedy spoke at 3:00 in the morning. And we were convinced that the only people that heard him were the people in Guam. [laughter]

Knott

McGovern actually tried to convince Kennedy to run as his Vice Presidential candidate.

Martin

That’s right.

Young

Kennedy said no to that very unmistakably, and got [Thomas] Eagleton and then Sargent Shriver, when Eagleton dropped out.

Martin

That was a sad thing about Eagleton, though.

Knott

Did you know Sarge Shriver well?

Martin

Oh, yes. He was a great—I rode with him in a car right after his daughter got married.

Knott

Maria [Shriver]?

Martin

Maria, yes. 

Marge Martin

Eddie helped out on some of the weddings. 

Martin

You did everything, you know. 

Young

You helped out on weddings? What did you do at the weddings?

Martin

Handle the press. 

Knott

Well, the Maria/Arnold Schwarzenegger wedding got a lot of press.

Martin

One thing about being a good press guy is you don’t drink with the reporters, ever.

Young

You don’t?

Martin

You don’t. That’s a mistake, and you don’t develop friendships with them, you know, because you know so much and you can spoil a campaign. But the advantage of being a reporter helps a lot in the campaign because those people knew what you expected of them. 

Knott

So, in ’94 against Romney—we’ve touched on this a few times, but did you come back into service in ’94 for the Senator on the campaign against Mitt Romney?

Martin

Yes, but he had a—that’s the time they brought in the fellow from the California—what’s his name? Bill Carrick?

Knott

Bill Carrick, okay. 

Martin

And Dave Burke and the girl, what’s—

Knott

I’m sorry. I don’t know. 

Martin

She was the AA. 

Young

It wasn’t Ranny Cooper?

Martin

Ranny Cooper, right. 

Knott

That was as tough race, though, at least for a brief period. Was Vicki very helpful in that campaign?

Martin

Oh, yes. She appeared with him and spoke at women’s clubs and everything else. She’s amazing. She’s an amazing woman. Her father was a real politician. He always maintained that Boston politics were like Louisiana politics. [laughter] He used to like to talk to me about those. So she probably picked up a lot of political sense from her dad. She’s a great asset for him.

Marge Martin

Oh, God love Vicki. 

Young

I think she’s very supportive of this project, too. They both are; Vicki is. She’s very interested in it and very helpful. 

Marge Martin

She’s very bright and she’s—

Knott

I sent her a message the other night at Jim’s request, and we had a response back from her the first thing the next morning.

Young

Before we got to the office, it was there.

Knott

Yes, it was waiting. 

Marge Martin

Where are you working out of?

Knott

We work out of the Miller Center, which is in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Marge Martin

Oh, you’re still working there?

Young

Yes. We do our oral history, and this is our most recent project.

Martin

Are you a part of the University?

Young

Yes. 

Martin

I used to upset the dean down there—Every time somebody wanted to get in the Virginia Law School they’d call Ted [laughter] and he’d pass the word to me, and I’d call that guy. Finally one day he said to me, Ask the Senator if he wants me to get rid of the number-one guy and put his guy in? From then on I didn’t call any more.

Knott

This is the dean of the law school?

Martin

Yes. 

Knott

That’s a great story. 

Martin

He’s a character. 

Knott

I grew up outside of Worcester.

Marge Martin

What town?

Knott

Paxton.

Martin

Do you remember the tornado up there?

Knott

Well, I was born about four years after the tornado. My parents remember it well.

Martin

I covered the tornado. I went up there—there’s a town right next to it.

Knott

Holden?

Martin

Yes. Instead of going into Worcester, I went into Holden because there was a whole new development in there that had blown down, and all you could here was the sizzling of these parts that people had for, what do you call it? Gas, and I couldn’t get into Holden. They said you have to get authority from the police. So I’m walking up the stairs of the police station and this big guy comes down and he says to me, Hey, you don’t happen to be Sargent Martin? because I was a drill instructor in the Marine Corps. And he said, Don’t you remember me? You woke us up at 3:00 in the morning and made us go out and look because somebody lost a hat or something. Holy God, I—they all hated the DIs [drill instructors], you know.

Young

Where did you serve in the Marines?

Martin

I went down to Parris Island. You couldn’t get out of there, but I did get overseas, but it was the end of it—I got with the First Division and went to Okinawa, and we were going into Japan when they dropped the bomb so I was—

Marge Martin

You were in China.

Martin

Yes, we went to China afterwards. We figured we’d go home and march down New York as the First Division, the first to fight. Instead, we went to China. 

Young

Where did you go in China?

Martin

We went to Peking. 

Young

Beijing?

Martin

Beijing, and then we went up to Mongolia, up through there. But we accepted the surrender of a million Japanese troops over there. I’ve got a sword from one of them. 

One time we went out to some military base out on the west coast. I was traveling with Ted when he was a Senator. He was hitting all these military bases, and we got out to this Marine base and the Senator introduced me as a former general or something. I said, Don’t do that to them. He used to get a kick out of it. And then for food out there, he never got over it. Most of the places they served—When he came, they served him steak and everything else, but the Marines gave him the GI [government issue] rations.

Young

When did you come out of the Marines?

Martin

I had three-and-a-half years in.

Young

You came out in ’48? 

Martin

Yes, just about ’48. I went in—the day of Pearl Harbor was on a Sunday and I was going to Boston University. I went to school the next day and there was a kid sitting beside me. He says, How can you sit here when men are dying? So I went down to join that day, but I joined the Navy to be a pilot. I washed out of it and joined the Marines. But I was overseas and I got the—they used to give these little publications from the BU [Boston University] and they had story of this same kid, who graduated with honors.

Marge Martin

He didn’t join anything. [laughs]

Young

They sent you over yonder, but—

Martin

Jesus, I’ll never forget that. 

Marge Martin

Do you go to school there, too?

Lindskog

I do. I’m in graduate school at UVA [University of Virginia].

Knott

Gregg’s one of our researchers for the Kennedy project.

Marge Martin

Because I knew he looked young. I figured he’d was—

Knott

He’s from Bristol, Connecticut, but he went to school at U Mass [University of Massachusetts].

Lindskog

I spent eight years in western Massachusetts.

Marge Martin

Amherst or—

Lindskog

Yes. 

Martin

Who’s the Congressman?

Lindskog

John Olver. I worked—

Marge Martin

Oh, yes. Oh, my—Let’s see. It’s our grand-nephew who works now for him. [Benjamin] Downing—

Knott

I don’t mean to push, but you mentioned some photos or paintings. 

Marge Martin

They’re downstairs. 

Knott

Could we record you with the portable talking about the pictures, if you have any stories about those? 

Martin

Fine.

Knott

If you do, fine; if not, it’s not a problem. 

Martin

Okay. 

Young

Every time the Senator gets up and goes to tell some more pictures, Steve follows with the recorder, getting the [story]. I hope we haven’t tired you out too much.

Marge Martin

Oh, not at all. 

Young

You’re a good soldier.

 

 [They take a portable recorder and go look at photos on walls]

Knott

That’s the Kennedy Library photo. That’s a beautiful shot. Actually, I think you can—I think I’m visible in this. They put all of the Kennedy folks in the same spot. I used to be able to—Somewhere right in there. I can see myself. All those chairs. What a great room.

Martin

This is a picture of my brother. He was in the Navy. He ran the icebreaker. 

Knott

Oh, okay. What’s the name of the ship? Do you know?

Martin

The Atka. It’s now in Russia; the Russians got it. Here’s the stuff you’re talking about. Here’s the picture they took of—

Knott

This one is your regular height, and this one you had yourself elevated.

Martin

When the astronauts went to the moon, they took a disk with the names with the statements from every leader of the world, and this is a blow-up of the statement. And here’s the Pope looking for his—these are the astronauts—

Knott

I recognize. 

Martin

You wouldn’t notice the difference … [laughter]

Knott

Where is this? It looks like a combat zone.

Martin

We were out in some place in California, and the Marines were flying these F-11s, and Ted had fought for them in Congress, so he wanted to get up and fly one. I don’t know why he put me in a suit.

Knott

And this is the day the Senator announced for President.

Martin

That’s right.

Knott

At Faneuil Hall. Now where are you? Are you in there? 

Martin

Somewhere in there. These are various—you know him, don’t you?

Knott

We’re going to see Professor [John Kenneth] Galbraith on Friday. 

Martin

He’s brilliant. 

Knott

It looks like there’s a good story here. 

Martin

He made some remark. I was introducing him at a party we had down in Washington, and he said, Martin’s got something up his sleeve. I forget—

Knott

Should I read the inscription? 

Martin

Yes, can you read it?

Knott

It’s a pleasure to announce the newest housing development grant. The project will be built on Squaw Island. I have the announcement right up my sleeve with the rest of— I think it’s a name, but I—

Martin

Oh, that’s the guy he always said—they always used to kid me about him.

Knott

It’s from the 1962 campaign. Good luck, Senator. Good luck, Eddie. Your friend, Ted. 1977. To Eddie and Marge, a Merry Christmas and our warmest good wishes for the New Year. Ted Kennedy. Christmas, 1967. And then the team from the 1982 Senate victory, I guess. 

Martin

Yes.

Knott

To the Class of 1982, with my appreciation for a great victory, Ted Kennedy. 

Martin

Here’s Gerry Doherty. 

Knott

Oh, really. Wow. 

Martin

This is outside Ted’s house in Boston.

Knott

Was that 122 Bowden Street or—

Martin

That’s Charles Street. He used to live on Charles.

Knott

Okay. That’s great.

Martin

She was really something, huh?

Knott

Joan?

Martin

Joan. 

Lindskog

I notice some press clippings over here behind the door. 

Martin

These are the—that’s when he got up—

Knott

This is when he left the hospital that you were telling us about. The headline says Senator Ted Walks Away. Here you are, in the car. 

Martin

This was a joke he sent. That’s my son. I don’t think you can see it, though. He always used to do these things. He’d have this made and send it up to her. You wonder about a guy who worked hard and spent his time to do this stuff, for a guy that’s busy all the time.

Knott

A photo montage and a collection of letters. This is the statue of President Kennedy on the lawn of the State House? Did you help you make that happen?

Martin

Yes. She says—

Knott

For Eddie, the next statue should be of you. With gratitude and love, Caroline Kennedy.

Martin

That’s a good statue, too. 

Knott

Yes, it is. 

Martin

We had trouble putting it up because the State House didn’t want a light put on here. There’s room underneath it, you know.

Knott

Oh, okay. 

Martin

But it was the best spot to have it. 

Knott

That’s great. Well, thanks for showing us these things. 

Young

You mentioned a Pops concert?

Marge Martin

I thought he was talking about the one on the Cape that Ted conducted. God, that was some kind of fun that night.

Young

Conducting what? 

Knott

The 1812 Overture

Young

I heard about his, he was singing. The greenway out here.

Martin

Yes, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. 

Knott

Some tribute to his mother, but I can’t—

Martin

He sings, he always sings the same song, Sweet Rosie—

Knott

Sweet Rosie O’Grady, yes. 

Martin

Sweet Rosie O’Grady.

Young

Well, this has been very kind of you.

This is one of the many interviews that comprise the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History. For more information about the Edward M. Kennedy Oral History, including links to all interviews, please click here.

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