Obama: Kennedy Left Behind a More Equal and More Just’ America

Posted August 26, 2009 at 9:31am

President Barack Obama on Wednesday called the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) “one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy.—

Obama delivered the remarks from a podium at the vacation property he is renting on Martha’s Vineyard, just across Nantucket Sound from Hyannis Port, Mass., where Kennedy died late Tuesday night. The president described Kennedy as “a singular figure in American history [who] touched so many lives,— particularly those of senior citizens, children and the underprivileged.

Kennedy left behind “an America that is more equal and more just,— Obama said.

Obama, who secured Kennedy’s critical endorsement during the heated 2008 presidential primary, noted that with Kennedy’s long illness, Americans had “the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye.— That stood in contrast, he said, to the shock of loss that occurred when his brothers, former President John F. Kennedy and former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), were assassinated.

Obama also noted that while the Kennedy family is synonymous with the Democratic Party and was often the object of sharp partisan attacks, “in the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect and affection from Members on both sides of the aisle.—

Kennedy, 77, died Tuesday night after a more than yearlong battle with brain cancer. Kennedy was first diagnosed with the terminal cancer in May 2008.