A New Right group, struggling to find a "new weapon" against liberals, has printed a comic book that pictures Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) as the overweight black sheep of his family.
The comic, titled "Every Family Has One," is the product of the Life Amendment Political Action Committee (LAPAC), which says it plans to spend $400,000 in the next few months distributing it to 2 million Massachusetts homes.
Paul Brown, director of LAPAC, a group opposing legalized abortion, is enthusiastic about the project. "There's going to be excitement in Massachusetts like Teddy has never seen before," he said.
Brown said the comic is "a new and different way" to "make people truly look at Kennedy's record." He said he published it after deciding that voters don't read most political brochures and "television ads don't help anybody except the TV stations."
The comic book is sure to outrage Kennedy supporters.
"It's really trash," Kennedy press secretary Bob Shrum said yesterday. "It's the lowest level of propaganda. I find it appalling and hateful.
"They're clearly trying to throw every hate issue under the sun at us. My own sense is it is so distasteful, so nasty and so distorted that people won't pay any attention to it."
After heaping praise on John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, the comic book takes a look at the darker side of their younger brother's past. One page tells how he was suspended from Harvard for cheating on an exam. Another page recounts that he was arrested for speeding violations while a law student at the University of Virginia.
Four pages are devoted to the 1969 Chappaquidick incident, when Mary Jo Kopechne, a campaign worker, drowned in Kennedy's car after it plunged off a bridge after a picnic. "Teddy '82," says one cartoon mimicking a campaign poster. "Put Him Behind the Wheel Again."
Another cartoon figure states: "Teddy isn't like his brothers at all when it comes to character. He seems to feel that he's better than others and should be allowed to get away with things you and I can't do."
It accuses Kennedy of deserting the Roman Catholic Church on the abortion issue, pandering to Communist revolutionaries by voting for foreign aid, being silent about the Irish independence movement (a charge Shrum says is completely false), opposing tax cuts and promoting busing as a means of integrating schools.
It also says he voted against cuts in the Comprehensive Education and Training Act (CETA) job program, "billions of which go to left-wing activist groups and convicted felons, welfare protesters, homosexuals, etc."
Near the end of the 38-page comic book, it declares:
"So far, we've determined that . . . Teddy's not like his brothers; he's been involved in some irresponsible and illegal acts; he's for busing our kids all over the lot to satisfy his social ideas; he's driving up our taxes to pay for a bunch of government programs; he's hurt our ability to defend our country . . . ."