On a humid Friday in July of 1969, as his plane took off from Boston bound for Martha’s Vineyard, Senator Edward M. Kennedy seemed locked in a sure, unstoppable ascent to the
White House. § It had been just a year since Bobby Kennedy was killed, gunned down by an assassin 80 days into his hope-flooded run for the presidency, a year since the youngest Kennedy had stood up in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and delivered his brother’s eulogy. § Now Ted had replaced his brother in the spotlight. Just 37 years old, he had faced months of unrelenting speculation about his presidential aspirations.