Former President Jimmy Carter fought off Senator Edward M. Kennedy in an at-times bitter Democratic primary in 1980, but after his presidency worked with the senator on issues such as fighting diseases around the globe, and most notably preventing discrimination against the mentally ill at home.
"We've already expressed our personal condolences and prayers to the Kennedy family, with a firm expression from our family that we've never seen anyone in the Senate that more assiduously and constantly and enthusiastically dedicated his life to trying to make sure that everything that the US government decided was in the best interest of the people who were deprived of poor, neglected, or felt the ravages of discrimination," Carter told CNN from Ramallah on the West Bank.
"And we really appreciate what Ted Kennedy meant to us personally and to our nation, and I don't think there is anybody, either, that can say there has been a more effective Senator in promoting his own ideals, which are very high, than Ted Kennedy did."
Carter acknowledged that one of the differences he had with Kennedy was how to get a universal health care bill passed, but said that he hopes now, with the senator's passing, momentum for the health care overhaul will grow now in Congress.
"My hope now is, by the way, that although Ted Kennedy won't be active on the floor anymore, that his legacy, his commitment, the resonance of the speeches he made, his dedication over our lifetime will be remembered by his peers in the Senate, and also his friendship of people in the House, and that we can still have a comprehensive health program passed this year," the former president said. "That's my hope, and I believe that would really be the culmination for the Kennedy family of acknowledging the great contribution that he's made to our country."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.