Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Remembering Ted Kennedy

Legendary Senator Ted Kennedy finally succumbed in his battle against a brain tumor. His death was announced this morning. Republicans and DEmocrats are mourning the loss of the political giant.

President Barack Obama

"His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected on millions of lives ... in all who can pursue their dreams in an America that is more equal and more just, including myself," Obama said of the senator, who was a crucial supporter of his presidential campaign.

Vice-President Joe Biden

And, you know, he was never defeatist. He never was petty. Never was petty. He was never small. And in the process of his doing, he made everybody he worked with bigger; both his adversaries as well as his allies. Don't you find it remarkable that one of the most partisan, liberal men in the last century serving in the Senate had so many of his -- so many of his foes embrace him because they know he made them bigger? He made them more graceful by the way in which he conducted himself.

John McCain

"Ted Kennedy had this unique way of doing hand-to-hand combat on the floor of the Senate," McCain said on CNN. "And as soon as we stopped our speechmaking, he'd come over and put his arm around you and make everybody appreciate that we had our differences, politically, but personally we could be friends and work together as colleagues and friends for the good of the country."

"Probably the most overrated aspect of the United States Senate is that people keep their word," added McCain, who worked with Kennedy on immigration overhaul, education, and other issues. "Ted Kennedy always kept his word. He would keep his word to the point where he would vote against his positions in order to preserve a carefully crafted compromise."

Robert Byrd

In his honor and as a tribute to his commitment to his ideals, let us stop the shouting and name calling and have a civilized debate on health care reform which I hope, when legislation has been signed into law, will bear his name for his commitment to insuring the health of every American.

Orrin Hatch

"Today America lost a great elder statesman, a committed public servant, and leader of the Senate. And today I lost a treasured friend."

A humorous Joe Klein story involving Hunter Thompson.

A few months later, I was back at Ethel Kennedy's house — living there as the deputy to Richard Goodwin, the J.F.K. speechwriter who had been tapped as the Rolling Stone Washington bureau chief. On July 4 weekend, Hunter Thompson showed up, and I don't remember much else after that, except that a fair number of Ethel's children were involved. Word spread quickly, as word will do in Washington. That Monday, by coincidence, I had an appointment with Kennedy to talk about a story I was working on, and he said, "Joe, before we get started, can I ask you something off the record?" I said sure, and he continued. "What on earth is happening at that house?"

"Why nothing, Senator," I said, summoning all the false gravity in my tiny arsenal. He smiled, raised an eyebrow. "O.K., O.K.," he said. "I asked."

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