Politics

‘Bobby Kennedy for President’ Highlights a Capitol Legacy

Netflix documentary explores history of late senator’s career

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‘Bobby Kennedy for President’ Turns 50

The Netflix series “Bobby Kennedy for President,” is a pretty in-depth look not just of the late New York Democratic senator’s presidential run, but his time in the Senate, as attorney general, campaign aide, congressional staffer and the evolution of his political beliefs. 

kennedy robert

Dawn Porter, who lived in D.C. for 10 years and is a graduate of Georgetown Law, knows her way around Capitol Hill and brought that background to fore as a documentary filmmaker.  

Listen to our conversation on the latest Political Theater Podcast:

Kids and Grandkids

Kennedy’s brothers John and Edward have legacies all to themselves, of course, as befit a president and long-serving senator.

But Robert Kennedy’s children have themselves fashioned careers that have taken them to Capitol Hill. 

3/5/98.HOUSE BANKING COMMITTEE--Joseph P. Kennedy,D-Mass., during House Banking Committee markup of IMF bill..CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY PHOTO BY DOUGLAS GRAHAM
Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, D-Mass.(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

That includes Robert’s eldest son, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, D-Mass., who served six terms from 1987-1999. 

Environmentalist Robert Kennedy, Jr. speaks before hundreds of people organized by Arctic Refuge Action rallied on the West Front of the Capitol against drilling in the Arctic Refuge for oil development. (CQ Roll Call file photo)
Environmentalist Robert Kennedy, Jr. speaks before hundreds of people organized by Arctic Refuge Action rallied on the West Front of the Capitol against drilling in the Arctic Refuge for oil development. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

And his son Robert Kennedy Jr., an environmental activist who has made the trek to lobby at the Capitol numerous times. 

UNITED STATES - MAY 17: Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., talks on the phone in Rayburn Building on May 17, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One of the grandkids is now in Congress as well. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, D-Mass., elected in 2012. 

Another Filmmaker

Meanwhile, Rory Kennedy, RFK’s youngest child (and whom he never met, having been born after his assassination) is a documentary filmmaker herself, having made a name with films such as “American Hollow,” “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib,” and “Last Days in Vietnam.” 

Porter called her “a spectacular filmmaker” and “great friend” to the Netflix project. “I’m very grateful to her,” Porter said. 

And she is pretty funny, too. Back in 2014, I interviewed her about “Last Days in Vietnam,” and she had a humble quip ready for the subject matter. 

“My brother Chris says I make two kinds of films: depressing and really depressing. So, that may be my range,” she told Roll Call. “I don’t really see it that way. ... A lot of my films, and I would throw this one there, are about people overcoming great odds.”

For the full story and that interview: 

All in a ‘Last Days’ Work for Rory Kennedy

The Kicker

Kerry Kennedy, daughter of RFK, speaks a ceremony to present the 2005 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, pictured, which was won by Stephen Bradberry, from the New Orleans chapter of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), won the award for his work with the poor of the city before and after Hurricane Katrina. RFK would have been 80 years old on the day of the ceremony, November 16.
Kerry Kennedy, daughter of RFK, speaks a ceremony to present the 2005 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, pictured, which was won by Stephen Bradberry, from the New Orleans chapter of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), for his work with the poor of the city before and after Hurricane Katrina. RFK would have been 80 years old on the day of the ceremony, November 16. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

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