Kennedy's Senate Class Full of Lions

Giants abound in 88th Senate
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2009 8:05 AM CDT
In this Jan. 9 1963 file photo, Edward M. Kennedy takes the oath of office as a Democratic Senator from Massachusetts in a re-enactment of the swearing-in ceremony with Vice President Lyndon Johnson.   (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – It’s no wonder Ted Kennedy became a lion of the Senate, writes Tom Schaller of he learned from the best. Kennedy began his first full term with the 88th Congress in 1963, and the list of senators sworn in alongside him contains “a safari’s worth of talent.” Including:

  • Margaret Chase Smith—the first woman to serve in the House and Senate

  • A whopping six future presidential or vice-presidential nominees—John Sparkman, Barry Goldwater, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Strom Thurmond and Harry Byrd
  • Some notable dads—Al Gore Sr, Thomas Dodd, and Birch Bayh among them
  • J. William Fulbright and Claiborne Pell—whose names became synonymous with landmark education law
  • Some guys with longevity—Current longest-serving senator, Robert Byrd, and the man who served Congress longest, Carl Hayden