August 26, 2009

Kennedy A Quarreling Force With Presidents

Posted: 12:04 PM ET

By Susan Milligan via Boston Globe

WASHINGTON – Senator Edward M. Kennedy – ailing from cancer but beaming at his success in passing a national service law – stood behind the curtain at a Washington, D.C., elementary school in March, an aide ready to help him on stage for a ceremony heralding the new law. art_tedkennedy_gi

President Obama, a backstage observer recalled, practically pushed a Kennedy staffer aside, grasping the senator’s briefing book and gently guiding the 77-year-old senator up the small set of stairs to the stage. And as former President Clinton stood to the side, Obama lauded Kennedy for his work on the national service bill that carried Kennedy’s name.

“It is fitting that this legislation is named after Ted Kennedy, a person who has never stopped asking what he could do for his country,’’ Obama said.

The clear deference shown by Obama reflected the Massachusetts senator’s unusual importance in the presidencies that have spanned his 47-year tenure in the Senate. Whether as a crucial ally or formidable opponent, Kennedy – who tried and failed to win the presidency himself – helped shape the histories of all who served in the White House during his Senate years.

He was the younger brother to the first president of his Senate career, and even long after John F. Kennedy’s death in 1963, Ted Kennedy referred to him in interviews as “President Kennedy,’’ and not “Jack’’ or “my brother.’’ The hand-written note John F. Kennedy wrote to his mother in 1932, asking whether he could be Ted’s godfather, hung in Kennedy’s inner office for many years.

As a young lawmaker and determined liberal, Kennedy was a frequent irritant to President Nixon, who was so suspicious of the senator that he contemplated a scheme to plant Secret Service agents to collect information about Kennedy as they protected him.


Filed under: Kennedy

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george   August 26th, 2009 12:39 pm ET

is the burial planned for Arlington cemetery? a military funeral ?..

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