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Obama Calls Kennedy Replacement 'Excellent Choice'

This article is more than 10 years old.

President Barack Obama says the Democrat selected to temporarily replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy is a "distinguished leader" and an excellent choice to carry on Kennedy's work.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick named former Democratic Party chairman Paul Kirk to fill the seat. Kirk will serve in the post until a special election in January.

His appointment gives Obama a critical 60th U.S. Senate vote he needs to pass a health care overhaul.

Kirk is a Kennedy family friend who served on the late senator's staff for eight years and is chairman of the JFK Library Foundation.

Caroline Kennedy, the senator's niece, called Kirk "a citizen-patriot" and a great friend.

Kennedy's family says he would have been pleased with the appointment.

This program aired on September 24, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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