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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090826/us_nm/us_kennedy

By Scott Malone Scott Malone - 41 mins ago

BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, a towering figure in the Democratic Party who took the helm of one of America's most fabled political families after two older brothers were assassinated, died at age 77, his family said.

"Edward M. Kennedy, the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply, died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port (Massachusetts)," the Kennedy family said in a statement early on Wednesday.

One of the most influential and longest-serving senators in U.S. history -- a liberal standard-bearer who was also known as a consummate congressional dealmaker -- Kennedy had been battling brain cancer, which was diagnosed in May 2008.

His death marked the twilight of a political dynasty and dealt a blow to Democrats as they seek to answer President Barack Obama's call for an overhaul of the healthcare system.

Kennedy was a longtime advocate of healthcare reform, a signature issue of Obama's presidency. Obama said on Wednesday he was heartbroken to hear of the death of Kennedy, a crucial supporter of his presidential candidacy.

"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," said Obama, who was elected last November and took office in January.

Kennedy had recently urged Massachusetts lawmakers to change state law so the governor, if necessary, could quickly fill a Senate vacancy as the chamber debates the contentious healthcare issue.

Known as "Teddy," he was the brother of President John Kennedy, assassinated in 1963, Senator Robert Kennedy, fatally shot while campaigning for the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination, and Joe Kennedy, a pilot killed in World War Two.

When he first took the Senate seat previously held by John Kennedy in 1962, he was seen as something of a political lightweight who owed his ascent to his famous name.

Yet during his nearly half century in the chamber, Kennedy became known as one of Washington's most effective senators, crafting legislation by working with lawmakers and presidents of both parties, and finding unlikely allies.

At the same time, he held fast to liberal causes deemed anachronistic by the centrist "New Democrats," and was a lightning rod for conservative ire.

He helped enact measures to protect civil and labor rights, expand healthcare, upgrade schools, increase student aid and contain the spread of nuclear weapons.

"There's a lot to do," Kennedy told Reuters in 2006. "I think most of all it's the injustice that I continue to see and the opportunity to have some impact on it."

After Robert Kennedy's death, Edward was expected to waste little time in vying for the presidency. But in 1969, a young woman drowned after a car Kennedy was driving plunged off a bridge on the Massachusetts resort island of Chappaquiddick after a night of partying.

Kennedy's image took a major hit after it emerged he had failed to report the accident to authorities. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene and received a suspended sentence.

Kennedy eventually ran for his party's presidential nomination in 1980 but lost to then-President Jimmy Carter.

His presidential ambitions thwarted, Kennedy devoted himself to his Senate career.

A 2009 survey by The Hill, a Capitol Hill publication, found that Senate Republicans believed Kennedy was the chamber's easiest Democrat to work with and most bipartisan.

Republican Senator John McCain called Kennedy "the single most effective member of the Senate if you want to get results."

In January 2008, Kennedy endorsed Obama, who was serving his first term as a senator, for the Democratic presidential nomination. Many saw the endorsement as the passing of the political torch to a new generation. A year to the day before his death, Kennedy made an electrifying speech to the Democratic convention that nominated Obama for president.

'LION' BATTLED ON

Kennedy had been largely sidelined in Congress since becoming ill. The "Lion of the Senate" began to use a cane and often looked tired and drained as he mixed work with treatment.

Yet colleagues and staff said he remained determined to fulfill what he called "the cause of my life," providing health insurance to all Americans. He helped draft legislation to overhaul the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system.

Kennedy's interest in healthcare dated from his son's bout with cancer in the 1970s. More recently, he cited his own illness as he made a case for reform.

"I've benefited from the best of medicine, but I've also witnessed the frustration and outrage of patients and doctors alike as they face the challenges of a system that shortchanges millions of Americans," he wrote in a May 28, 2009, issue of the Boston Globe.

His charisma as "the last of the Kennedy brothers" was such that draft-Teddy drives were a feature of U.S. presidential election years from 1968 through the 1980s.

But he never fully escaped the cloud of the Chappaquiddick accident. A decades-long argument arose about whether he tried to cover up his involvement by leaving the scene while Mary Jo Kopechne's body remained submerged and whether police helped sweep such questions under the rug. All involved denied any cover-up.

Later crises involving younger Kennedys, notably the 1991 Palm Beach rape trial of his nephew, William Kennedy Smith, caught a bloated and weary-looking Uncle Ted in a media glare. Reports of heavy drinking and womanizing led to a public apology for "the faults in the conduct of my private life."

Kennedy was remarried soon after that to Victoria Reggie, a 38-year-old lawyer with two young children from her first marriage. He poured renewed energy into the Senate, where he would become the third-longest serving senator in history.

Even his Republican foes recognized Kennedy's dedication as he worked to protect civil rights, give federal help to the poor, contain the spread of nuclear weapons, raise the minimum wage, expand health coverage and improve America's schools.

FAMILY STANDARDS

Born on February 22, 1932, Edward Moore Kennedy was the last of four sons and five daughters born to millionaire businessman Joseph Kennedy, who would later be ambassador to Britain, and his wife, Rose.

The Boston Irish family combined the competitive spirit of nouveau riche immigrants with acquired polish and natural charm. The sons were expected to mature into presidential timber and were groomed for that starting with the oldest, Joseph Jr., a bomber pilot who died in World War Two.

"I think about my brothers every day," Kennedy told Reuters. "They set high standards. Sometimes you measure up, sometimes you don't."

Like his brothers, Kennedy was known for his oratory, delivered in a booming voice at rallies, congressional hearings and in the Senate.

He drew praise from liberals, labor and civil rights groups and scorn from conservatives, big business and anti-abortion and pro-gun activists. His image was often used by Republicans in ads as a money-raising tool.

Tragedies dogged Kennedy throughout his life. They included a 1964 plane crash that damaged his spine and left him with persistent pain; bone cancer that cost son Teddy a leg; first wife Joan's battles with alcoholism that contributed to their divorce, and drug problems involving nephews, one of whom died of an overdose. His nephew, John Kennedy Jr., died in July 1999 when his small plane crashed into the ocean near Cape Cod.

In May 2008, Edward Kennedy collapsed at his Cape Cod home and was flown to hospital in Boston, where he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Brain cancer kills half its victims within a year.

Kennedy's illness kept him from attending the funeral of his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a leading advocate of the mentally disabled, who died on August 11 at the age of 88.

(Additional reporting by Thomas Ferraro in Washington and Patricia Zengerle in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts; Editing by Peter Cooney)
 

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I heard 5 things that can be said about Teddy:

1 - He had great teeth
2 - He was a good football player in high school
3 - He was honest about being a liberal
4 - He could swim like a fish (sorry, Mary Jo)
5 - He could drink like a fish
 

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sad, but my worry is the libs will try and ram through obamacare on teh sympathy vote.

and now he gets to answer for drowning that girl.

SW
Hubert H Humphrey was a big proponent of national health care and after his death there was a push to pass it as a memorial to him. It came close to passing. There have already been some talking about passing it to honor Ted.

As for Ted himself, I'll note that many people hang around long after they have anything useful to offer.

They say not to speak ill of the dead; that can sometimes be very hard advice to follow.
 

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They say not to speak ill of the dead; that can sometimes be very hard advice to follow.
He's not dead... just pickled! :devilsidesmile:
 

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No loss, IMO the USA is a better place. He should have died in prison for the murder of Mary JO!
 

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I stole the following info from a fellow member at another website. It's a good read.

The Last of The Kennedy Dynasty

As soon as his cancer was detected, I noticed the immediate attempt at the "canonization" of old Teddy Kennedy by the mainstream media. They are saying what a "great American" he is. I say, let's get a couple things clear & not twist the facts to change the real history.

1. He was caught cheating at Harvard when he attended it. He was expelled twice, once for cheating on a test, and once for paying a classmate to cheat for him.

2. While expelled, Kennedy enlisted in the Army, but mistakenly signed up for four years instead of two. Oops! The man can't count to four! His father, Joseph P. Kennedy, former U.S. Ambassador to England (a step up from bootlegging liquor into the US from Canada during prohibition), pulled the necessary strings to have his enlistment shortened to two years, and to ensure that he served in Europe, not Korea , where a war was raging. No preferential treatment for him! (like he charged that President Bush received).

3. Kennedy was assigned to Paris, never advanced beyond the rank of Private, and returned to Harvard upon being discharged. Imagine a person of his "education" NEVER advancing past the rank of Private!

4. While attending law school at the University of Virginia, he was cited for reckless driving four times, including once when he was clocked driving 90 miles per hour in a residential neighborhood with his headlights off after dark. Yet his Virginia driver's license was never revoked. Coincidentally, he passed the bar exam in 1959. Amazing!

5. In 1964, he was seriously injured in a plane crash, and hospitalized for several months. Test results done by the hospital at the time he was admitted had shown he was legally intoxicated. The results of those tests remained a "state secret" until in the 1980's when the report was unsealed. Didn't hear about that from the unbiased media, did we?

6. On July 19, 1969, Kennedy attended a party on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts . At about 11:00 PM, he borrowed his chauffeur's keys to his Oldsmobile limousine, and offered to give a ride home to Mary Jo Kopechne, a campaign worker. Leaving the island via an unlit bridge with no guard rail, Kennedy steered the car off the bridge, flipped, and into Poucha Pond.

7. He swam to shore and walked back to the party, passing several houses and a fire station. Two friends then returned with him to the scene of the accident. According to their later testimony, they told him what he already knew - that he was required by law to immediately report the accident to the authorities. Instead Kennedy made his way to his hotel, called his lawyer, and went to sleep. Kennedy called the police the next morning and by then the wreck had already been discovered. Before dying, Kopechne had scratched at the upholstered floor above her head in the upside-down car.

The Kennedy family began "calling in favors", ensuring that any inquiry would be contained. Her corpse was whisked out-of-state to her family, before an autopsy could be conducted. Further details are uncertain, but after the accident Kennedy says he repeatedly dove under the water trying to rescue Kopechne and he didn't call police because he
was in a state of shock. It is widely assumed Kennedy was drunk, and he held off calling police in hopes that his family could fix the problem overnight. Since the accident, Kennedy's "political enemies" have referred to him as the distinguished Senator from Chappaquiddick. He plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, and was given a SUSPENDED SENTENCE OF TWO MONTHS. Kopechne's family received a small payout from the Kennedy's insurance policy, and never sued. There was later an effort to have her body exhumed and autopsied, but her family successfully fought against this in court, and Kennedy's family paid their attorney's bills... a "token of friendship"?

8. Kennedy has held his Senate seat for more than forty years, but considering his longevity, his accomplishments seem scant. He authored or argued for legislation that ensured a variety of civil rights, increased the minimum wage in 1981, made access to health care easier for the indigent, and funded Meals on Wheels for fixed-income seniors and is widely held as the "standard-bearer for liberalism". In his very first Senate roll, he was the floor manager for the bill that turned U.S. immigration policy upside down and opened the floodgate for immigrants from third world countries.

9. Since that time, he has been the prime instigator and author of every expansion of an increase in immigration, up to and including the latest attempt to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. Not to mention the pious grilling he gave the last two Supreme Court nominees, as if he was the standard bearer for the nation in matters of "what's right". What a pompous ass!

10. He is known around Washington as a public drunk, loud, boisterous and very disrespectful to ladies. JERK is a better description than "great American". "A blond in every pond" is his motto.

Let's not allow the spin doctors to make this jerk a hero -- how quickly the American public forgets what his real legacy is.
 

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Least this will take away someof the new Michael Jackson news time. See ol Teds doing something for the american news watching public.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Manner speople manner!! NEVER speak ill of the dead even if they wer the rottenest apple in the barrel
Wouldn't he have been the most fermented apple in the barrel?.... :devilsidesmile:
 

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Why should the dead be given courtesy not deserved when alive. It is astounding that MJ went from suspected child molester to icon, and now TK goes from the worst kind of political scum to a hero? Geez...
 

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Why should the dead be given courtesy not deserved when alive. It is astounding that MJ went from suspected child molester to icon, and now TK goes from the worst kind of political scum to a hero? Geez...
It's called common courtesy!!
 

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Common courtesy is in order... But I can still be glad he is no longer a politician.

And yes, I pray that Obamacare doesn't get passed on a sympathy note due to TKennedy's death.
 

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He's not dead... just pickled! :devilsidesmile:
I think he got off the sauce a 4-5 years ago. I about then I saw him on a news program. He was able to speak coherently & not babble like a drunk.
 

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Still haven't said why we should show a dead person more courtesy than a live one. Reeks of superstition from my view. But I wont argue it.

Ive always tried to show him the same courtesy he showed that poor girl Mary Jo Kopechne.
 

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Still haven't said why we should show a dead person more courtesy than a live one. Reeks of superstition from my view. But I wont argue it.

Ive always tried to show him the same courtesy he showed that poor girl Mary Jo Kopechne.
Maybe its just so that the family of a deceased loved one can morn without any undue heckling? I don't know.

Just seems like a polite thing to do even if his car killed more people than my guns.
 

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I wont argue against that its a nice thing to do because it is a very nice attitude. But we are at a very critical cross-roads here and must be prepared for the TK canonization effort to get BOCare passed. Which by the way is not a very nice thing to do.
 

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I wont argue against that its a nice thing to do because it is a very nice attitude. But we are at a very critical cross-roads here and must be prepared for the TK canonization effort to get BOCare passed. Which by the way is not a very nice thing to do.
I totally agree with you.
 

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All I'll say about this is at least Mary Jo can finally rest in peace. I could say alot more about him and most would be very distasteful but I try to maintain a certain level of respect on these forums then I would up at the neighborhood bar, even when the respect is totally undeserved.
 

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Personally I've never understood the don't speak ill of the dead BS. If I didn't like the guy/girl when they were alive, why on earth would I be a hypocrite and change my view simply because they had the bad manners to croak before I was done excoriating them? I still have things to say then by gosh I'll say em. Teddy was a political hack and a booze besotted womanizer most of his life traits that seem to run in that family.
 
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