It was one year ago to the day that the "liberal lion" stepped on to the stage of the Democratic National Convention in Denver and delivered what was to be his last major political speech (below), an emotional endorsement of Barack Obama but also a vow that the "dream lives on."(Bob Shrum, who wrote his 1980 and 2008 speeches, writes about both nights here).
Ted Kennedy's passing marks the end of an era, and is particularly heartfelt for many in the entertainment industry who looked to his brand of liberalism as a source of inspiration as they pursued political activism.(A personal note: I was named after him).
Networks are lining up special tributes to Sen. Edward Kennedy, including CBS and ABC, and CNN will show the documentary "Teddy: In His Own Words," this evening. MSNBC will air "The Kennedy Brothers: A Hardball Documentary." Meanwhile, one group, Conservatives for Patients Rights, has pulled its ads against the Obama healthcare reform plan until after the Kennedy burial. Kennedy attended a star-studded tribute at the Kennedy Center in March for his birthday, with Bill Cosby, James Taylor and Lauren Bacall among those in salute to him. Brian Lowry writes about the best tribute you'll probably see all day long about Kennedy: Sen. Joseph Biden's tribute to him this morning. The White House also has a photo blog.
Here's some tributes, which I will update throughout the day:
Dan Glickman, chairman of the MPAA: “Ted Kennedy was a titan not only to his family but also for this country he so loved. I had an opportunity to know him and learn from him not only during my years serving in Congress, but also during my service as the director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Ted was the driving force behind this institution which embodied his family’s devotion to public service and his quest to inspire young people to serve in politics. Ted accomplished so much in his career because he was driven by his passion for justice for every citizen. He frequently found allies for his causes with some of his most ideologically opposite colleagues, yet he never compromised his ideals or his values.
“Ted famously said that ‘Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. As our country continues to face difficult challenges, the leadership and bipartisanship that Senator Kennedy personified will be surely missed. Yet, his passion for doing the right thing and effecting positive change to create a better future will serve as a beacon for our leaders.”
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: "Teddy inspired our country through his dedication to health care reform, his commitment to social justice, and his devotion to a life of public service. I have personally benefited and grown from his experience and advice, and I know countless others have as well. Teddy taught us all that public service isn't a hobby or even an occupation, but a way of life and his legacy will live on.”
Barbra Streisand: "Ted Kennedy was America's Senator for so long and he inspired so many millions of us with his wisdom and compassion. He is gone but he leaves us with his vision of America to guide us and his clear voice that will reverberate forever. He was always a fighter for justice, working to help those left behind. He will be terribly missed."
Bill Cosby: "Ted Kennedy set the tone for the people defined by what he has done. The void left by his passing must be filled carefully, thoughtfully and most importantly with integrity.I'm not only speaking about a leader to fill his Senate seat, but a leader who has the same commitment, activism, and service to the public." (via Twitter).
Nicole Avant, U.S, ambassador to the Bahamas and California finance co-chair, Obama for America campaign: "Out of all of the political figures whom my parents hosted at their home, he was always my favorite. I always felt a strong sense of purpose, determination and responsibility after being in his presence."
Bob Scheer: "I would put Kennedy alongside my other hero, George McGovern, as the two most trusted standard-bearers of the Democratic Party's too-often-sabotaged liberalism. I just could never imagine either of them ever selling us out. Indeed, I haven't felt quite so sad about the passing of a political leader since the day when people started bawling all over the Bronx with the news that FDR had died. In a political world dominated by bipartisan cynicism, there are few touchstones of integrity for the common folk, and Kennedy was one of them."