Kennedy remembered as elite senatorELLSWORTH — The nation lost “one of the four or five greatest senators” in its history when U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy died Tuesday, a former colleague of his said today.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
ELLSWORTH — The nation lost “one of the four or five greatest senators” in its history when U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy died Tuesday, a former colleague of his said today.
U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold said the 77-year-old and other Kennedys were a driving force behind his entrance into national politics.
“He was greatly loved in the Senate,” U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said before a listening session. “It is no exaggeration that everybody loved the guy. He was fun, he was exciting and he was probably the hardest-working member of the Senate.”
Kennedy, of Massachusetts, the last surviving brother in an enduring political dynasty and one of the most influential senators in history, died Tuesday night at his home on Cape Cod after a yearlong struggle with brain cancer.
In nearly 50 years in the Senate, Kennedy, a liberal Democrat, served alongside 10 presidents — his brother John Fitzgerald Kennedy among them — compiling an impressive list of legislative achievements on health care, civil rights, education, immigration and more.
In a brief statement to reporters at his rented vacation home on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., President Barack Obama eulogized Kennedy as one of the "most accomplished Americans" in history — and a man whose work in Congress helped give millions new opportunities.
"Including myself," added the nation's first black president.
A source, speaking on grounds of anonymity because plans were still under way, told The Associated Press that Kennedy will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. At the eternal flame rests four Kennedy family members, including the former president, Jacqueline Kennedy, their baby son, Patrick, who died after two days, and a still-born child. Former Sen. Robert Kennedy F. Kennedy is buried a short distance away.
Kennedy's only run for the White House ended in defeat in 1980, when President Jimmy Carter turned back his challenge for the party's nomination. More than a quarter-century later, Kennedy handed then-Sen. Barack Obama an endorsement at a critical point in the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, explicitly likening the young contender to President Kennedy.
To the American public, Kennedy was best known as the last surviving son of America's most glamorous political family, father figure and, memorably, eulogist of an Irish-American clan plagued again and again by tragedy. But his career was forever marred by an accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969, when a car he was driving plunged off a bridge, killing a young woman.
Kennedy's death triggered an outpouring of superlatives from Democrats and Republicans as well as foreign leaders.
"If Teddy were here, .. as they say in the Senate, if you would excuse a moment of personal privilege, I personally think it would be inappropriate for me to say too much about the initiative we're announcing today and not speak to my friend," Vice President Joe Biden said during a public appearance. He said he was "truly, truly distressed by his passing."
"Teddy spent a lifetime working for a fair and more just America and for 36 years I had the privilege of going to work every day ... and being a witness to history," an emotional Biden added. "Every day I was with him ... He restored my sense of idealism and my faith in the possibilities of what this country could do."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.