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People across the nation and world are remembering the 77-year-old senator, who passed away at home in Hyannisport after a more than year-long battle with brain cancer. Below are some of their statements:
The Kennedy family:
We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever... He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it’s hard to imagine any of them without him.
U.S. President Barack Obama
I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I’ve profited as president from his encouragement and wisdom.
Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts
One of the Commonwealth's brightest lights went out last night. Ted Kennedy was a compassionate, effective, visionary statesman, family man and friend. Diane and I were blessed by his company, support and many kindnesses, and miss him profoundly. We pray for comfort for his beloved wife and partner Vicki and his entire family.
Sen. John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts
We have known for some time that this day was coming, but nothing makes it easier. We have lost a great light in our lives and our politics, and it will never be the same again. Ted Kennedy was such an extraordinary force, yes, for the issues he cared about, but more importantly for the humanity and caring in our politics that is at the center of faith and true public service.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada
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... 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.
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah
In the current climate of today's United States Senate it is rare to find opportunities where both sides can come together and work in the middle to craft a solution for our country's problems. Ted Kennedy, with all of his ideological verbosity and idealism was a rare person who at times could put aside differences and look for common solutions. Not many ever got to see that side of him, but as peers and colleagues we were able to share some of those moments.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
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.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
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.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California
Maria and I are immensely saddened by the passing of Uncle Teddy. He was known to the world as the "Lion of the Senate," a champion of social justice, and a political icon. Most importantly, he was the rock of our family: a loving husband, father, brother and uncle. He was a man of great faith and character.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Kennedy has been a friend for 30 years, a great American patriot, a great champion of a better world, a great friend of Israel. He will be sorely missed.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair:
Senator Kennedy was a figure who inspired admiration, respect and devotion, not just in America but around the world. He was a true public servant committed to the values of fairness, justice and opportunity. I saw his focus and determination first hand in Northern Ireland where his passionate commitment was matched with a practical understanding of what needed to be done to bring about peace and to sustain it. I was delighted he could join us in Belfast the day devolved government was restored.
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.
Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray
While many identified him as the last stronghold of an iconic political family held up by some as American royalty, his means and his muster were always much closer to the ground. From the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the current debate on national health care reform, Senator Kennedy assembled an agenda that addressed the needs of the common man and the most vulnerable of our citizens.
Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo
The loss of Senator Kennedy leaves a chasm in the Massachusetts political landscape. His contributions to the American people, to the commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to his family — to whom I extend my personal condolences — were without equal. No words better fit the moment than those of Senator Kennedy himself: "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
This program aired on August 26, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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