Reaction Statements on the Death of Ted Kennedy

washingtonpost.com editors
Copyright 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009; 6:41 AM

The Associated Press reports on Massachuseets Governor Deval Patrick's remarks on Kennedy: Patrick says "one of the commonwealth's brightest lights" has been extinguished with the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy. The governor, a fellow Democrat, says Kennedy "was a compassionate, effective, visionary statesman," as well as a family man and friend. Patrick's statement Wednesday made no mention of plans to replace Kennedy in the Senate. AP on comments by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: Schwarzenegger says he and his wife, Maria, are "immensely saddened" by the death of her "Uncle Teddy." In a statement issued hours after the Massachusetts Democrat succumbed to brain cancer, the pair said he "was the rock of our family." Kennedy's death came just two weeks after that of Maria Shriver's mother, Eunice Kennedy, one of the senator's siblings. He had attended her wake but was noticeably absent from her funeral, even though it was held near his Cape Cod home. The governor said he has "personally benefited and grown" from Kennedy's experience and advice. He also says the senator "taught us all that public service isn't a hobby or even an occupation, but a way of life." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Today, with the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the American people have lost a great patriot, and the Kennedy family has lost a beloved patriarch. Over a lifetime of leadership, Senator Kennedy's statesmanship and political prowess produced a wealth of accomplishment that has improved opportunity for every American. Senator Kennedy had a grand vision for America, and an unparalleled ability to effect change. Rooted in his deep patriotism, his abiding faith, and his deep concern for the least among us, no one has done more than Senator Kennedy to educate our children, care for our seniors, and ensure equality for all Americans. Ted Kennedy's dream of quality health care for all Americans will be made real this year because of his leadership and his inspiration. Sadly, Senator Kennedy left us exactly one year after he inspired the nation with his speech of optimism, vitality, and courage at the Convention in Denver. On behalf of all Members of Congress, and personally on behalf of my family, today and in the days ahead, our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Kennedy family, especially with Senator Kennedy's devoted wife Vicki, and with Kara, Teddy Jr., and our colleague Patrick, who made their father so proud. I hope it is a comfort to them that our nation and the world mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: The Kennedy family and the Senate family have together lost our patriarch. My thoughts, and those of the entire United States Senate, are with Vicki, Senator Kennedy's children, his many nieces and nephews, and his entire family. It was the thrill of my lifetime to work with Ted Kennedy. He was a friend, the model of public service and an American icon. As we mourn his loss, we rededicate ourselves to the causes for which he so dutifully dedicated his life. Senator Kennedy's legacy stands with the greatest, the most devoted, the most patriotic men and women to ever serve in these halls. Because of Ted Kennedy, more young children could afford to become healthy. More young adults could afford to become students. More of our oldest citizens and our poorest citizens could get the care they need to live longer, fuller lives. More minorities, women and immigrants could realize the rights our founding documents promised them. And more Americans could be proud of their country. Ted Kennedy's America was one in which all could pursue justice, enjoy equality and know freedom. Ted Kennedy's life was driven by his love of a family that loved him, and his belief in a country that believed in him. Ted Kennedy's dream was the one for which the founding fathers fought and his brothers sought to realize. The liberal lion's mighty roar may now fall silent, but his dream shall never die. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney: The loss of Senator Ted Kennedy is a sad event for America, and especially for Massachusetts. The last son of Rose Fitzgerald and Joseph Kennedy was granted a much longer life than his brothers, and he filled those years with endeavor and achievement that would have made them proud. In 1994, I joined the long list of those who ran against Ted and came up short. But he was the kind of man you could like even if he was your adversary. I came to admire Ted enormously for his charm and sense of humor - qualities all the more impressive in a man who had known so much loss and sorrow. I will always remember his great personal kindness, and the fighting spirit he brought to every cause he served and every challenge he faced. I was proud to know Ted Kennedy as a friend, and today my family and I mourn the passing of this big-hearted, unforgettable man. Former President George H.W. Bush: Barbara and I were deeply saddened to learn Ted Kennedy lost his valiant battle with cancer. While we didn't see eye-to-eye on many political issues through the years, I always respected his steadfast public service -- so much so, in fact, that I invited him to my library in 2003 to receive the Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service. Ted Kennedy was a seminal figure in the United States Senate -- a leader who answered the call to duty for some 47 years, and whose death closes a remarkable chapter in that body's history. Barbara and I -- and all Bushes -- send our heartfelt condolences to Victoria, Ted's kids, and the entire Kennedy family. Nancy Reagan, wife of former President Ronald Reagan: Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised by how close Ronnie and I have been to the Kennedy family. But Ronnie and Ted could always find common ground, and they had great respect for one another. In recent years, Ted and I found our common ground in stem cell research, and I considered him an ally and a dear friend. I will miss him. For more reactions, see here.


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