In a paid political telecast, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass) told New Englanders last night that he knows that some people "will never believe" his version of the events of Chappaquiddick, but he asked that he be judged by "the basic American standard of fairness."
Kennedy devoted the first five minutes of a half-hour commercial on five New England television stations to comments on the July 18-19, 1969, accident in which Mary Jo. Kopechnie drowned.
Kennedy campaign officials had announced that the telecast would contain mostly the same material covered in Kennedy's speech at Georgetown earlier yesterday.
Press Secretary Tom Southwick said the decision to address Chappaquiddick in the telecast was made because the tragedy "obviously is something of concern to people."
Kennedy began by saying he wanted to make a "personal comment" before discussing foreign and domestic policy issues.
"As the son of a large and religious family, I was taught the meaning and value of faith . . . I was taught to accept responsibility for my own mistakes to admit them and accept the consequences," he said.
Kennedy said that he had "testified under oath to God" about his version of the events at Chappaquiddick. "My testimony is the only truth I can tell, because that is the way it happened," he said.