Go Teddy Go!

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Text on Button Go Teddy Go!
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Blue illustration of a man in shorts and tank top running with red text above on a white background

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This button is most likely from Ted Kennedy's unsuccessful presidential run in 1980. Edward (Ted) Kennedy was the youngest of the nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. When his older brother John Kennedy was elected to the presidency in 1960, Ted won the special election to fill his brother’s seat as one of the U.S. senators from Massachusetts. Ted would go on to serve as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts from 1962-2009.

His one and only bid for the presidency took place in 1980. Although Kennedy had been asked to run before, an accident he was involved in on July 18, 1969 on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts cast shadows on his ability to adequately represent the nation’s constituents morally. Regardless, then President Carter’s approval ratings were low and the Kennedy family felt that they had a chance to win the Democratic Party nomination. Early polls showed Kennedy ahead but Carter’s approval ratings improved upon his calm handling of the hostage situation at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Although Carter’s overall approval was diminished because he was not able to get the hostages released, Kennedy contributed to his own downfall. In an interview with CBS reporter Roger Mudd, Kennedy was unable to provide a definitive answer as to why he was running for the presidency. While he won major primaries in the states of New Jersey and California, Ted Kennedy was unable to win enough votes to secure the nomination.

Catalog ID PO0609