President Obama on the Passing of Senator Ted Kennedy

President Obama on the Passing of Senator Ted Kennedy


The President:
I wanted to say a few words this morning about the passing of an extraordinary leader,
Senator Edward Kennedy. Over the past several years,
I’ve had the honor to call Teddy a colleague, a
counselor, and a friend. And even though we have known
this day was coming for some time now, we awaited it with
no small amount of dread. Since Teddy’s
diagnosis last year, we’ve seen the courage with
which he battled his illness. And while these months have no
doubt been difficult for him, they’ve also let him hear from
people in every corner of our nation and from around the world
just how much he meant to all of us. His fight has given us the
opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert
were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank
you — and goodbye. The outpouring of
love, gratitude, and fond memories to which we’ve
all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure
in American history touched so many lives. His ideas and ideals are stamped
on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives — in
seniors who know new dignity, in families that
know new opportunity, in children who know
education’s promise, and in all who can pursue their
dream in an America that is more equal and more just
— including myself. The Kennedy name is synonymous
with the Democratic Party. And at times, Ted was the target
of partisan campaign attacks. But in the United States Senate,
I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or
affection from members of both sides of the aisle. His seriousness of purpose was
perpetually matched by humility, warmth, and good cheer. He could passionately battle
others and do so peerlessly on the Senate floor for the
causes that he held dear, and yet still maintain warm
friendships across party lines. And that’s one reason he became
not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of
the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy. His extraordinary life on
this earth has come to an end. And the extraordinary
good that he did lives on. For his family,
he was a guardian. For America, he was the
defender of a dream. I spoke earlier this morning to
Senator Kennedy’s beloved wife, Vicki, who was to the end
such a wonderful source of encouragement and strength. Our thoughts and prayers are
with her, his children Kara, Edward, and Patrick; his
stepchildren Curran and Caroline; the entire
Kennedy family; decades’ worth of his staff;
the people of Massachusetts; and all Americans who,
like us, loved Ted Kennedy.

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