Kennedy made friends in Idaho and kept them to the end

Idaho StatesmanAugust 27, 2009 

Sen. Edward Kennedy first began making friends in Idaho when his brother ran for president in 1960, and he sustained his ties into the final months of his life.

Kennedy was close to the family of former Democratic Sen. Frank Church and recently spoke with Church's widow, Bethine. And early this year, he talked to former GOP Sen. Dirk Kempthorne, whose quarters in the Russell Senate Office Building were adjacent to Kennedy's.

"I remember him with laughter and with tears," Bethine Church said. "He was just a terrific friend and senator. One of the best. He was really the Lion of the Senate."

Though they rarely agreed on contentious issues, Kempthorne said they had a warm personal relationship. "I feel very fortunate to have known this man and seen the human side of him, where he really did reach out to people."

Kennedy visited Idaho when his brother was running for president in 1960 and returned frequently with his family on vacations. Photos of Kennedy, his brother Robert and President John F. Kennedy's wife and children hang in the Sun Valley Lodge.

"Ted had a great affection for Idaho," said Carl Burke, who ran the 1960 campaign in Idaho and was Frank Church's campaign manager.


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