‘Teddy spent a lifetime working for a fairer and more just America’

In a speech at an event that was supposed to be about Energy policy, Joe Biden goes off script and pays an eloquent tribute to a fellow Irishman.

A transcript of Biden’s emotional tribute to his late friend and colleague can be found here:     http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/26/bidens-emotional-kennedy_n_269331.html

“I truly, truly am distressed by his passing,” Biden said haltingly. “You know, Teddy spent a lifetime working for a fair and more just America. For 36 years, I had the privilege of going to work every day and sitting next to him and being witness to history. … He restored my sense of idealism.”

“He was never defeatist,” Biden said. “He never was petty. Never was petty. He was never small. And in the process of his doing, he made everybody he worked with bigger, both his adversaries, as well as his allies … He changed the circumstances of tens of millions of Americans and in a literal sense literally, literally. he changed the circumstances … not only the physical circumstances, he changed how they looked at themselves and how they looked at one another.” Later he added, “The unique thing about Teddy was he was never about him. It was always about you. It was never about him.”

Ted Kennedy’s passing has left a great void in our public life.  He will be sorely missed, especially now as the debate about health care reform heats up.

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