September 3rd, 2009
12:36 PM ET

Teddy, we knew you too well

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/29/kennedy.pope.letter/art.kennedy.gi.jpg]

Ken Olshansky
AC360° Contributor

In the week or so since Ted Kennedy died, I’ve been thinking about how we choose our presidents. Unlike the early 60’s, when Kennedy’s brother Jack was elected, we are now inundated with personal information about our presidents and presidential candidates.

Some of this information has been disqualifying – Gary Hart’s relationship with Donna Rice, for example, or Newt Gingrich’s adulterous relationship during the Monica Lewinsky impeachment episode. But should it be? Would it be better for the country to focus less on a candidate’s private life and more on his or her public life?

In the case of Ted Kennedy, that’s the question I’ve been wrestling with ever since he got sick. There are an awful lot of negatives on the personal side of the ledger, from cheating at Harvard to partying with William Kennedy Smith. But the most awful Kennedy mistake of all is Chappaquiddick.

Chappaquiddick is inexcusable. When you visit the site, you see exactly what happened that night. Teddy left a party alone with Mary Jo Kopechne. She left her purse and keys at the party. He dismissed his driver, who was also at the party. The Senator drove her down a long dirt road that was clearly not the road to the Chappaquiddick Ferry, as he claimed. He drove too fast, he missed the turn to the tiny Dike’s Bridge, and drove his car into the water. Then he left the scene with Kopechne still trapped in the submerged car. He spoke with numerous people after the accident, but did not report it to police until the next day, after her body had already been discovered. Drinking, an extramarital relationship, a death, leaving the scene of the crime… this cannot be ignored.


Filed under: Ken Olshansky • Sen. Ted Kennedy
February 13th, 2009
03:24 PM ET

Off our Performance Enhancing Drugs

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/02/12/A-rod.steroids/art.arod.gi.jpg caption="Alex Rodriguez, shown here with the Texas Rangers in 2001, has admitted using steroids."]

Ken Olshansky
Senior Producer, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News

This is the week for performance-enhancing drugs.

There was A-Rod, of course, who may be facing a suspension from baseball for testing positive for anabolic steroids in 2003. Of course it’s fun to dump on A-Rod, because he’s… not universally well-liked. But the real juice in the story, pardon the pun, is that Rodriguez is one of 104 players who tested positive in a 2003 survey. Supposedly, it was an anonymous survey, but not so much. The Baseball Player’s Association kept the test results; and the Fed got hold of them during discovery on an unrelated case. So, who else is on the list? Should A-Rod be hung out to dry? And is it hard to feel sorry for a guy who lied to Katie Couric?


Filed under: Ken Olshansky
February 6th, 2009
07:24 PM ET

Things that make you go hmm – Iranian Satellites, Black Holes and Israeli Nukes

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/02/03/iran.satellite/art.iranlaunch.afp.gi.jpg caption="Reported satellite launch took place on the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran."]

Ken Olshansky
Senior Producer, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News

The Obama presidency represents a new era of hope. So here’s my hope: I hope we don’t all get blown up. It’s a hope I tried to keep alive, as I read the news that Iran had fired a satellite into space.

The launch happened late Monday or early Tuesday. Ironically, the Iranian satellite is called Omid—Farsi for “hope.” Iran is only the eighth country to send an object into orbit. Celebrating the launch of Omid, Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, “With God’s help and the desire for justice and peace, the official presence of the Islamic republic was registered in space.”


Filed under: Global 360° • Iran • Ken Olshansky • President Barack Obama