Joan & Vicki Kennedy: The Liberal's Lionesses

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2009 12:59 PM CDT
Edward M. Kennedy stands with his wife Victoria Reggie Kennedy in front of houses inside the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Mass., in this Sept. 13, 1992 file photo.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
camera-icon View 7 more images

(Newser) – Over the years, Ted Kennedy relied a lot on his wives, first Joan Bennett and then Vicki Reggie, and the two women couldn’t have been more different, writes Martha Moore of the USA Today. Joan, one of the celebrated Camelot-era Kennedy wives, was reserved and troubled, but it was she who campaigned for Kennedy when he broke his back in 1964.

Joan also campaigned for Ted in 1980, even though the couple was separated, and it meant answering questions about her then-public alcoholism. “She put herself out there many times for that family,” says a biographer. Vicki, by contrast, seemed born for politics. She kept Ted away from scandal, ensuring he was never photographed with a drink, and made key decisions in his 1994 race against Mitt Romney. Now, at 55, she’s seen as a possible successor.