Ted Kennedy

United States Senator (1932-2009)

Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (22 February 193225 August 2009) was the senior Democratic U.S. senator from Massachusetts. In office from November 1962 to August 2009, Kennedy was, at the time, the second-longest serving member of the Senate, after Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.



  • My brother need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.
    • Eulogy for Robert F. Kennedy (8 June 1968)
  • President Nixon has told us, without question, that we seek no military victory, that we seek only peace. How then can we justify sending our boys against a hill a dozen times or more, until soldiers themselves question the madness of the action? The assault on "Hamburger Hill" is only symptomatic of a mentality and a policy that requires immediate attention. American boys are too valuable to be sacrificed for a false sense of military pride.
  • I have requested this opportunity to talk to the people of Massachusetts about the tragedy which happened last Friday evening. This morning I entered a plea of guilty to the charge of leaving the scene of an accident. Prior to my appearance in court it would have been [im]proper for me to comment on these matters. But tonight I am free to tell you what happened and to say what it means to me.
  • I made immediate and repeated efforts to save Mary Jo by diving into the strong and murky current, but succeeded only in increasing my state of utter exhaustion and alarm. My conduct and conversations during the next several hours, to the extent that I can remember them, make no sense to me at all.
  • In sum, I believe that the basic constitutional arguments supporting the power of Congress to change voting qualifications by statute are the same in the case of literacy, residence, or age. So far as I am aware, the Administration proposals in the area of literacy and residence have encountered no substantial opposition on constitutional grounds. Both proposals were incorporated as amendments to the Voting Rights Act in the bill passed by the House of Representatives late last year, and they are now pending before the Senate. If Congress has the authority to act by statute in these areas, as it must if the Administration bill passed by the House is constitutional, then Congress also has the authority to act by statute to lower the voting age to 18. I am hopeful, therefore, that we can achieve broad and bipartisan agreement on the statutory route to reach our vital goal of enlarging the franchise to include 18 year-olds.
    • speech in favor of lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, which eventually be done through the 26th Amendment


  • Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized – the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old....When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.
  • Field reports to the U.S. Government, countless eye-witness journalistic accounts,reports of International agencies such as World Bank and additional information available to the subcommittee document the reign of terror which grips East Bengal (East Pakistan). Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops, systematically slaughtered, and in some places, painted with yellow patches marked "H". All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad. ..'
    • report dated November 1, 1971 Senator Edward Kennedy. Crisis in South Asia - A report by Senator Edward Kennedy to the Subcommittee investigating the Problem of Refugees and Their Settlement,Submitted to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, November 1, 1971, U.S. Govt.Press, pp.6-7. Quoted in Benkin, Richard L. (2014). A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus., p. 75.
  • Ulster is becoming Britain’s Vietnam. Indeed, it is fair to say that Britain stands toward peace in Northern Ireland today where America stood in Southeast Asia in the early 1960s. The parallel is uncanny. When President Kennedy died, only 120 American soldiers had been killed in action in Vietnam between 1961 and 1963. This week we learned that 128 persons had died in Northern Ireland in the two years of bitter violence that has gripped that land since British troops first arrived in 1969. We know that the years from 1961 to 1963 were only an early chapter in the American horror of Vietnam. We know the tragedy that unfolded there in later years: 45,000 Americans have now died in the war; hundreds of thousands of North and South Vietnamese soldiers have been killed; millions of innocent civilians have died and millions more are homeless refugees in their own country.
  • Field reports to the U.S. Government, countless eye-witness journalistic accounts, reports of international agencies such as World Bank, and additional information available to the subcommittee document the reign of terror which grips East Bengal (East Pakistan). Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops, systematically slaughtered and in some places, painted with yellow patches marked "H". All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered, and implemented under martial law from Islamabad. ..'
    • report dated November 1, 1971, Senator Edward Kennedy. Crisis in South Asia - A report by Senator Edward Kennedy to the Subcommittee investigating the Problem of Refugees and Their Settlement, Submitted to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, November 1, 1971, U.S. Govt.Press, pp.6-7. Quoted in Benkin, Richard L. (2014). A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus., p. 75.
  • In fact, the legal system is in part responsible for their very size and growth. And too often when the individual finds himself in conflict with these forces, the legal system sides with the giant institution, not the small businessman or private citizen.
    • On big business and big government; speech before American Bar Association, New York (August 8, 1978), reported in Alan F. Pater, Jason R. Pate, What They Said in 1978 (1979), p. 168.
  • Well I'm, umm, were I to, to make the, the announcement to run, the reasons that I would run is because I have a great belief in this country, that it is, there's more natural resources than any nation of the world, has the greatest educated population in the world the greatest technology of any country in the world, the greatest capacity for innovation in the world, and the greatest political system in the world. And yet I see at the current time that most of the industrial nations of the world are exceeding us in terms of productivity or doing better than us in terms of meeting the problems of inflation that they are dealing with, their problems of energy and their problems of unemployment. It just seems to me that this nation can cope and deal with its problems in a way that it has in the past. We are facing complex issues and problems in this nation at this time, but we have faced similar challenges at other times and the energies and the resourcefulness of this nation, I think, should be focused on these problems in a way that brings a sense of restoration in this country by its people to in dealing with the problems that we face primarily the issues on the economy, the problems of inflation, and the problems of energy and I would basically feel that that it's imperative for this country to either move forward, that it can't standstill or otherwise it moves backwards.
  • As President, Jack was a glory on the mountaintop. The New Frontier of which he dreamed touched deep and responsive chords in the American character. He could make lightning strike on the things he cared about. He was an irresistible force that made immovable objects move. He taught us to redeem the promise of health care for America's senior generation, to whom the nation owes so much of its present greatness. He taught us to control the atom, to end the threat of nuclear annihilation, so that we could leave our children a safer world. He taught us to make freedom ring in America --freedom for black and brown as well as white; freedom to live and work and vote; freedom to sit at a public lunch counter, to learn in a public classroom, to play football on a public field. He added a new dimension in foreign policy by tapping the idealism of our youth. He led us beyond our planet and launched us toward the moon. And in our own hemisphere, he summoned us to a new alliance of effort for the benefit of those less fortunate than ourselves. That is the way it was with Jack. There was a sense of progress and adventure, a rejection of complacency and conformity. There was a common mission, a shared ideal, and above all the joy of high purpose and great achievement. Jack believed that America's promises, that challenges are opportunities in disguise, that our spirit can soar again.


  • We must cure our addiction to foreign oil. Not only does the administration claim we face the gravest crisis since World War II, they also claim they are making hard decisions to meet that crisis. Long before Afghanistan, they proposed a stand-by gasoline rationing plan, and that is all they propose today. The time for a stand-by plan is over. The time for a stand-up plan is now. We must adopt a system of gasoline rationing without delay – not rationing by price, as the Administration has decreed, but rationing by supply in a way that demands a fair sacrifice from all Americans. I am certain that Americans in every city, town, and village of this country are prepared to sacrifice for energy security. President Carter may take us to the edge of war in the Persian Gulf. But he will not ask us to end our dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf. I am sure that every American would prefer to sacrifice a little gasoline rather than shedding American blood to defend OPEC pipelines in the Middle East.
  • I am committed to this campaign because I am committed to those ideals. I am committed to an America where the many who are handicapped, the minority who are not white and the majority who are women will not suffer from injustice, where the Equal Rights Amendment will be ratified, and where equal pay and opportunity will become a reality rather than a worn and fading hope. I want to be the President who finally achieves full civil rights -- and who passes an economic bill of rights for women . And I am committed to an America where average-income workers will not pay more taxes than many millionaires, and where a few corporations will not stifle competition in our economy. I want to be the President who at last closes tax loopholes and tames monopoly, so that the free enterprise system will be free in fact. And I am committed to an America where the state of a person's health will not be determined by the amount of a person's wealth. I want to be the President who brings national health insurance to safeguard every family from the fear of bankruptcy due to illness. And I am committed to an America where the cities that are the center of our civilization and the farms that are the source of our food will be preserved and strengthened. I want to be the President who halts the loss of rural land to giant conglomerates and who declines to accept urban slums, unequal schools, and an unemployment rate in the inner city that approaches 50 percent. And I am committed to an America that will safeguard the land and the air for future generations. I want to be the President who stops the seeding of the earth with radioactive wastes from nuclear plants and who refuses to rely on a nuclear future that may hazard the future itself. And I am committed to an America that is powerful enough to deter war and to do the work of peace. I want to be a President who does not rush to a helter-skelter militarism or a heedless isolationism, who improves our military without gilding our weapons, who lifts at least a little the nuclear night that hangs over the world and who makes the world itself a little safer for both diversity and democracy. And for all these commitments, I have only just begun to fight.
  • A year ago, a number of us in Congress took up a cause and a challenge that had already stirred at the grassroots across the country. We called for an immediate, mutual and verifiable freeze between the United States and the Soviet Union on the testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons.
  • Now in the 1980's, a moment of history and a sense of hope call your generation to work as great as any that has gone before -- the work of peace. The challenge comes with special warning now because the danger has become so present and so clear. The difference each of you can make, if all of you try, may mean the difference between peace and war, between a just society and a garrison state.
    • Address at Brown University (4 June 1983)
  • I hope for an America where neither "fundamentalist" nor "humanist" will be a dirty word, but a fair description of the different ways in which people of good will look at life and into their own souls.
  • We cannot pretend we do not see or hear when Louis Farrakhan predicts race war by 1986, or implies that 'Jewish editors and Jewish writers' distort the news, or threatens the life of a black reporter for doing his job, or refers to Hitler as 'a very great man,' or shakes the hands of Colonel Gaddafi. Such conduct can never be condoned -- and it must be unequivocally condemned.
  • Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy ... President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.
    • Senate speech opposing Bork’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court (1 July 1987)
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act will end the American apartheid. The act has the potential to become one of the great civil rights laws of our generation. Disabled citizens deserve the opportunity to work for a living, ride a bus, have access to public and commercial buildings, and do all the other things that the rest of us take for granted. Mindless physical barriers and outdated social attitudes have made them second class citizens for too long. This legislation is a bill of rights for the disabled, and America will be a better and fairer nation because of it.

The Dream Shall Never Die (1980)Edit

Concession speech in his campaign for nomination as the Democratic Presidential candidate against incumbent Jimmy Carter at the Democratic Convention in New York City (12 August 1980)
  • My fellow Democrats and my fellow Americans, I have come here tonight not to argue for a candidacy but to affirm a cause. I am asking you to renew the commitment of the Democratic Party to economic justice. I am asking you to renew our commitment to a fair and lasting prosperity that can put America back to work.
  • The serious issue before us tonight is the cause for which the Democratic Party has stood in its finest hours— the cause that keeps our party young— and makes it, in the second century of its age, the largest political party in this Republic and the longest-lasting political party on this planet. Our cause has been, since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the cause of the common man— and the common woman. Our commitment has been, since the days of Andrew Jackson, to all those he called “the humble members of society— the farmers, mechanics, and laborers.” On this foundation, we have defined our values, refined our policies, and refreshed our faith.
  • I speak out of a deep sense of urgency about the anguish and anxiety I have seen across America. I speak out of a deep belief in the ideals of the Democratic Party, and in the potential of that party and of a president to make a difference. I speak out of a deep trust in our capacity to proceed with boldness and a common vision that will feel and heal the suffer— the division of our party.
  • The economic plank of this platform on its face concerns only material things; but is also a moral issue that I raise tonight. It has taken many forms over many years. In this campaign, and in this country that we seek to lead, the challenge in 1980 is to give our voice and our vote for these fundamental Democratic principles: Let us pledge that we will never misuse unemployment, high interest rates, and human misery as false weapons against inflation. Let us pledge that employment will be the first priority of our economic policy. Let us pledge that there will be security for all who are now at work. Let us pledge that there will be jobs for all who are out of work— and we will not compromise on the issue of jobs. These are not simplistic pledges. Simply put, they are the heart of our tradition; they have been the soul of our party across the generations. It is the glory and the greatness of our tradition to speak for those who have no voice, to remember those who are forgotten, to respond to the frustrations and fulfill the aspirations of all Americans seeking a better life in a better land.
  • The 1980 Republican convention was awash with crocodile tears for our economic distress, but it is by their long record and not their recent words that you shall know them. The same Republicans who are talking about the crisis of unemployment have nominated a man who once said— and I quote—“Unemployment insurance is a prepaid vacation plan for freeloaders.” And that nominee is no friend of labor. The same Republicans who are talking about the problems of the inner cities have nominated a man who said— and I quote—“I have included in my morning and evening prayers every day the prayer that the federal government not bail out New York.” And that nominee is no friend of this city and of our great urban centers. The same Republicans who are talking about security for the elderly have nominated a man who said just four years ago that participation in Social Security “should be made voluntary.” And that nominee is no friend of the senior citizen. The same Republicans who are talking about preserving the environment have nominated a man who last year made the preposterous statement— and I quote—“Eighty percent of air pollution comes from plants and trees.” And that nominee is no friend of the environment. And the same Republicans who are invoking Franklin Roosevelt have nominated a man who said in 1976— and these are his exact words—“Fascism was really the basis of the New Deal.” And that nominee, whose name is Ronald Reagan, has no right to quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
  • The great adventure which our opponents offer is a voyage into the past. Progress is our heritage, not theirs. What is right for us as Democrats is also the right way for Democrats to win.
  • It is surely correct that we cannot solve problems by throwing money at them; but it is also correct that we dare not throw our national problems onto a scrap heap of inattention and indifference. The poor may be out of political fashion, but they are not without human needs. The middle class may be angry, but they have not lost the dream that all Americans can advance together.
  • The demand of our people in 1980 is not for smaller government or bigger government but for better government. Some say that government is always bad, and that spending for basic social programs is the root of our economic evils. But we reply, the present inflation and recession cost our economy $200 billion a year. We reply, inflation and unemployment are the biggest spenders of all.
  • We are the party of the New Freedom, the New Deal, and the New Frontier. We have always been the party of hope. So this year, let us offer new hope— new hope to an America uncertain about the present but unsurpassed in its potential for the future.
  • Finally, we cannot have a fair prosperity in isolation from a fair society. So I will continue to stand for national health insurance. We must not surrender to the relentless medical inflation that can bankrupt almost anyone— and that may soon break the budgets of government at every level. Let us insist on real controls over what doctors and hospitals can charge. Let us resolve that the state of a family’s health shall never depend on the size of a family’s wealth. The President, the Vice President, and the members of Congress have a medical plan that meets their needs in full. Whenever senators and representatives catch a little cold, the Capitol physician will see them immediately, treat them promptly, and fill a prescription on the spot. We do not get a bill even if we ask for it. And when do you think was the last time a member of Congress asked for a bill from the federal government? I say again, as I have said before, if health insurance is good enough for the President, the Vice President, and the Congress of the United States, then it is good enough for all of you and for every family in America.
  • There were some who said we should be silent about our differences on issues during this convention. But the heritage of the Democratic Party has been a history of democracy. We fight hard because we care deeply about our principles and purposes. We did not flee this struggle. And we welcome this contrast with the empty and expedient spectacle last month in Detroit, where no nomination was contested, no question was debated, and no one dared to raise any doubt or dissent.
  • For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.
    • This has sometimes been misquoted as "The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die."


  • I won't yield to anyone about guns in our society. I know enough about it.
  • She was a blessing to us and to the nation? and a lesson to the world on how to do things right, how to be a mother, how to appreciate history, how to be courageous. No one else looked like her, spoke like her, wrote like her, or was so original in the way she did things. No one we knew ever had a better sense of self. ... No one ever gave more meaning to the title of first lady.
  • I come here as a Democrat. I reject such qualifiers as New Democrat or Old Democrat or Neo-Democrat. I am committed to the enduring principles of the Democratic Party, and I am proud of its great tradition of service to the people who are the heart and strength of this nation -- working families and the middle class. I would have lost in Massachusetts if I had done what Democrats who were defeated in other parts of the country too often tried to do. I was behind in mid-September. But I believe I won because I ran for health reform, not away from it. I ran for a minimum wage increase, not against it. I continued to talk about issues like jobs, aid to education, and job training. And I attacked Republican proposals to tilt the tax code to the most privileged of our people. I stood against limiting welfare benefits if a mother has another child, and I will stand against any other harsh proposals that aim at the mother but hit and hurt innocent children. I spoke out for gun control, and against reactionary Republican proposals to abandon crime prevention as a weapon in the war on crime. I rejected the Republican double standard that welcomes government as benign when it subsidizes the affluent, but condemns government as the enemy when it helps the poor. I ran as a Democrat in belief as well as name. This turned out to be not only right in principle -- it was also the best politics.
    • "What Democrats should Stand For," (11 January 1995), as quoted in Vital Speeches of the Day, 0042742X, 2/1/95, Vol. 61, Issue 8
  • If Democrats run for cover, if we become pale carbon copies of the opposition and try to act like Republicans, we will lose -- and deserve to lose. As I have said on other occasions, Democrats must be more than warmed-over Republicans. The last thing this country needs is two Republican parties. If we fall for our opponents' tactics, if we listen to those who tell us to abandon health reform, or slash student loans and children's programs, or engage in a bidding war to see who can be the most anti-government or the most laissez-hire, we will have only ourselves to blame. As Democrats, we can win, but only if we stand for something.
    • "What Democrats should Stand for," (11 January 1995) as quoted in Vital Speeches of the Day, 0042742X, 2/1/95, Vol. 61, Issue 8
  • Never say in grief you are sorry he's gone. Rather, say in thankfulness you are grateful he was here.
  • If we set the precedent of limiting the First Amendment, in order to protect the sensibilities of those who are offended by flag burning, what will we say the next time someone is offended by some other minority view, or by some other person's exercise of the freedom the Constitution is supposed to protect?
    • Constituent letter (1997)
  • There are some who seek to wreck the peace process. They are blinded by fear of a future they cannot imagine—a future in which respect for differences is a healing and unifying force. They are driven by an anger that holds no respect for life—even for the lives of children. But a new spirit of hope is gaining momentum. It can banish the fear that blinds. It can conquer the anger that fuels the merchants of violence. We are building an irresistible force that can make the immovable object move.
  • We dared to think, in that other Irish phrase, that this John Kennedy would live to comb gray hair, with his beloved Carolyn by his side. But like his father, he had every gift but length of years.


  • I believe that the most enduring legacy of the September 11 attacks is a new sense of community among all Americans. Four hundred years ago, the poet John Donne wrote that "No man is an island." Today, our country reaffirms the truth of those words. We understand that if one of us is hurting, all of us hurt. This renewed national spirit leads us to reaffirm the basic social bond that unites us all. Every American should have the opportunity to receive a quality education, a job that respects their dignity and protects their safety, and health care that does not condemn those whose health is impaired to a lifetime of poverty and lost opportunity
  • I have come here today to express my view that America should not go to war against Iraq unless and until other reasonable alternatives are exhausted. But I begin with the strongest possible affirmation that good and decent people on all sides of this debate, who may in the end stand on opposing sides of this decision, are equally committed to our national security. The life and death issue of war and peace is too important to be left to politics. And I disagree with those who suggest that this fateful issue cannot or should not be contested vigorously, publicly, and all across America. When it is the people's sons and daughters who will risk and even lose their lives, then the people should hear and be heard, speak and be listened to. But there is a difference between honest public dialogue and partisan appeals. There is a difference between questioning policy and questioning motives. There are Republicans and Democrats who support the immediate use of force - and Republicans and Democrats who have raised doubts and dissented.
    • Speech at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies opposing the buildup to the Iraq War (27 September 2002)
  • The question is not whether we will disarm Saddam Hussein of his weapons of mass destruction but how. And it is wrong for Congress to declare war against Iraq now, before we have exhausted the alternatives. It is wrong for the president to demand a declaration of war from Congress when he says he has not decided whether to go to war. It is wrong to avert our attention now from the greater and far more immediate threat of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda terrorism.
  • You are what this debate is about. It is about good people who come to America to work, to raise their families, to contribute to their communities, and to reach for the American Dream. This debate goes to the heart of who we are as Americans. It will determine who can earn the privilege of citizenship. It will determine our strength in separating those who would harm us from those who contribute to our values.
  • What is the price, we ask the other side? What is the price that you want from these working men and women? What cost? How much more do we have to give to the private sector and to business? How many billion dollars more, are you asking, are you requiring? When does the greed stop, we ask the other side? That’s the question and that’s the issue.
  • I'd like to speak for a moment regarding the Hate Crimes Amendment -- at a time when our ideals are under attack by terrorists in other lands, it is more important than ever to demonstrate that we practice what we preach, and that we are doing all we can to root out the bigotry and prejudice in our own country that leads to violence here at home. Now more than ever, we need to act against hate crimes and send a strong message here at home and around the world that we will not tolerate crimes fueled by hate.
  • So it is with Barack Obama. He has lit a spark of hope amid the fierce urgency of now. I believe that a wave of change is moving across America. If we do not turn aside, if we dare to set our course for the shores of hope, we together will go beyond the divisions of the past and find our place to build the America of the future. My friends, I ask you to join in this historic journey - to have the courage to choose change. It is time again for a new generation of leadership. It is time now for Barack Obama.
  • I get up very early in the morning. I enjoy the quietness, the stillness, the rawness in the winter and fall. It's a special time.
    • Esquire: The Meaning of Life (2009), p. 81
  • I will never forget the 5th anniversary of the Peace Corps where I sat with the very first group of volunteers. I asked each of them why they decided to get involved. They said it was the first time anyone asked them to do anything for their country. Today, another young president has challenged another generation to give back to their country

DNC Speech (2000)Edit

Speech to the Democratic National Convention (16 August 2000)
How proud he would be of Caroline this evening -- and of the magnificent woman she has become.
  • Thank you, Caroline. I love you and thank you for all that you mean to me, to our entire family, and to millions of Americans everywhere. I see in you the poise and the strength of purpose that belonged to your father -- and the dignity and grace of your mother that inspired a nation. I remember election night in November of 1960. The results were so close that my brother went to bed still not certain that he had won. It was nearly dawn when victory finally became clear. And here is how Jack learned about it -- from three-year-old Caroline, who woke him up by jumping on his bed and shouting, "Good morning, Mr. President." It was the first time he ever heard those words from anyone. How proud he would be of Caroline this evening -- and of the magnificent woman she has become. How proud he would be of Al Gore and our party and the new barrier of bigotry we are breaking down with the choice of Joe Lieberman as the next Vice President of the United States.
  • This truly is a homecoming for me. It was here, in this City of Angels, on a warm summer night forty years ago, that America first looked across the New Frontier. A New Frontier, as my brother said, where there were "unsolved problems ..., unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice; unanswered questions of poverty and surplus." We were given just a thousand days on that journey of hope. Yet the challenge of those days and the resonance of my brother's words are still with us. Because today, our generation faces its own new frontier. And we are called upon to address our unsolved problems; our unconquered prejudice; our unanswered questions. Will we dare to dream of a far horizon -- or will we look inward; look backward; lower our sights and narrow our vision? That is the choice we face in the election of 2000.
There have been only three times in my life that I have supported candidates for President as early and as enthusiastically as I have supported Al Gore. Two of them were my brothers.
  • If you believe that prosperity is a challenge to do better -- that we have to seize this extraordinary moment to make progress in providing decent, quality health care that all Americans can afford -- If you believe that we must provide access to health care for all our children -- that we must provide access to prescription drugs for all our seniors -- that we must assure for all our citizens that medical decisions be made by doctors and nurses and not by HMOs that put profits ahead of patients' health-- Then this is your convention. This is your cause. And I ask you to dedicate yourself to elect Al Gore as the next President and of the United States. There have been only three times in my life that I have supported candidates for President as early and as enthusiastically as I have supported Al Gore. Two of them were my brothers.
  • I support Al Gore for President, not solely because he has helped lead us to the strongest economy in American history -- as important as that is. I support him with my whole resolve because I know from his record -- and not just from his words -- that Al Gore will not stop fighting -- Al Gore will not stop striving -- until we have quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
  • Two weeks ago, at the convention in Philadelphia, we heard a partisan negative attack on the past eight years as a time of lost opportunity and stalemate.
  • Well, I've been there on the front lines fighting for working families. And I can tell you, we weren't coasting, we were seizing an opportunity when Al Gore and I worked with Republican Senator Orrin Hatch to pass landmark health care coverage for children. And now, two million more children have health coverage. That's called progress -- not partisanship -- and that is Al Gore's way. We weren't drifting, we were moving ahead when Al Gore and I worked with Republican Senator Nancy Kassebaum to see that a family doesn't lose health coverage just because a parent loses a job or changes jobs. And today, we are working with Republicans and Democrats alike to make it even stronger. That's called progress -- not partisanship -- and that is Al Gore's way. We weren't gridlocked, we were raising up our nation when Al Gore and I worked with Republican Senator Jim Jeffords to make sure that people with disabilities can keep their health care when they join the workforce. And today, more and more of the disabled are putting their abilities to work for themselves and for America. That's called progress -- not partisanship -- and that is Al Gore's way.
  • I've been a Democrat all my life -- and I am proud of it. But I say to you, there is no Democratic or Republican way to heal a sick child. There is no Democratic or Republican way to make the right medical decision. No Democratic or Republican way to fight cancer, or ease the pain of HIV and AIDS. This is not the time to play partisan games with human health. Let there be no mistake about it. There is a profoundly deep difference between the Democratic and Republican nominees on this issue -- this life and death issue -- of health care for all Americans. Al Gore is the only candidate committed to moving this country, step by step, to universal health coverage -- starting by covering every child by the year 2004. He believes in it heart and soul.
  • So I say to all Americans, regardless of party -- if you believe we should use our prosperity to make our children healthy and whole -- fight for Al Gore. Because he's fighting for you. Al Gore will put Medicare in an iron-clad lockbox where politicians can't raid it or cut it. He will veto any effort to use money from Medicare for anything but Medicare. So if you believe in quality health care for all our seniors, no matter what your politics -- fight for Al Gore. Because he's fighting for you. Al Gore believes that no senior citizens in America should ever have to choose between the food on their table and the medicine they need. So if you believe in prescription drug coverage for our seniors -- then fight for Al Gore. Because he's fighting for you. Al Gore has been leading the fight for a real Patients' Bill of Rights. He's been working with leaders of both parties to do it. So if you believe medical decisions should be made by doctors and nurses on the basis of sound medicine -- not by accountants and number-crunchers, sitting at computer screens hundreds of miles away -- then fight for Al Gore. Because he's fighting for you. The fight for health care has been the driving dream of my public service -- starting with my brother's crusade to pass Medicare into law.

DNC Speech (2008)Edit

Speech to the Democratic National Convention (25 August 2008)
  • My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here.
    And nothing — nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight.
    I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals, and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States.
  • For me this is a season of hope -- new hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few — new hope.
    And this is the cause of my life — new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American — north, south, east, west, young, old — will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.
  • We are told that Barack Obama believes too much in an America of high principle and bold endeavor, but when John Kennedy called of going to the moon, he didn't say, "It's too far to get there. We shouldn't even try."
    Our people answered his call and rose to the challenge, and today an American flag still marks the surface of the moon.
  • There is a new wave of change all around us, and if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination — not merely victory for our Party, but renewal for our nation.
    And this November the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans, so with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.
    • This last line references the last line of his DNC speech in 1980 where he said "the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."


  • What we have in the United States is not so much a health-care system as a disease-care system.

Quotes about KennedyEdit

Kennedy’s message [to Yuri Andropov] was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election.
  • Nixon was more worried about another Democratic presidential contender: Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts senator who fast became the loudest voice in Congress decrying the atrocities in East Pakistan...When the killing started in East Pakistan, Kennedy quickly got hold of some of Archer Blood’s cables and began giving speeches harshly denouncing Yahya’s killings, Nixon’s silence, and the use of U.S. arms by Pakistan. On May 3, he told the Senate that thousands or even millions of lives were at stake, “whose destruction will burden the conscience of all mankind.” He complained that Blood’s reports were being suppressed, and that he was being denied access to cable traffic from the Dacca consulate.
    The flight of millions of refugees gave Kennedy a platform: he was chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on refugees. He highlighted the ugly fact that the bulk of the exiles were Hindus, blasted the White House for “rhetoric and tokenism and paper plans” in helping the refugees, and denounced Nixon’s “continued silence, and apparent indifference, over the actions of the American supplied Pakistan army.” He was so vocal that he became an overnight hero among Bengalis, while Pakistan griped that his meddling in its domestic affairs was a violation of the United Nations Charter.
    • quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014). The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.
  • I'd like to say a personal word to Senator Kennedy. Ted, you're a tough competitor and a superb campaigner, and I can attest to that. Your speech before this convention was a magnificent statement of what the Democratic Party is and what it means to the people of this country and why a Democratic victory is so important this year. I reach out to you tonight, and I reach out to all those who supported you in your valiant and passionate campaign. Ted, your party needs and I need you. And I need your idealism and your dedication working for us. There is no doubt that even greater service lies ahead of you, and we are grateful to you and to have your strong partnership now in a larger cause to which your own life has been dedicated.
  • According to Soviet documents unearthed in the early 1990’s, Kennedy literally asked the Soviets, avowed enemies of the U.S., to intervene on behalf of the Democratic party in the 1984 elections. Kennedy’s communist communique was so secret that it was not discovered until 1991, eight years after Kennedy had initiated his Soviet gambit.
    • Sean Davis, Ted Kennedy Secretly Asked The Soviets To Intervene In The 1984 Elections, The Federalist, 10 March 2015
  • But exhilarating as it was, as rewarding as it was, it wouldn't be victory that would leave the lasting impression on Ted Kennedy from these years at Virginia. It would be all those defeats and disappointments along the way that had led to Virginia. Ted Kennedy, the boy who, as his father said, couldn't get away with anything, had known what it was like to fail, what it was like to disappoint, what it was like to be disappointed, what it was like to be disrespected. The moot court triumph couldn't expunge that. Ted Kennedy knew failure, and Ted Kennedy would use that knowledge.
    • Neal Gabler, Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932-1975, 1917-1991 (1998), p. 93
  • Kennedy’s message [to Yuri Andropov] was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.”
    • Peter Robinson, Ted Kennedy's Soviet Gambit, Forbes, 28 August 2009
  • When President Reagan chose to confront the Soviet Union, calling it the evil empire that it was, Sen. Edward Kennedy chose to offer aid and comfort to General Secretary Andropov. On the Cold War, the greatest issue of his lifetime, Kennedy got it wrong.
    • Peter Robinson, Ted Kennedy's Soviet Gambit, Forbes, 28 August 2009
  • Well don't throw anything now, because we're not talking about philosophy or party. The finest legislator I ever worked with was Ted Kennedy. He had a magnificent staff, he even had a parliamentarian on that staff of his. So when you were in the legislative arena and you were bringing your lunch and staying late, you wanted to get Ted on your side or least use some of his expertise. I would go to him sometimes early on and say look, you'll have to trust me, what the hell do I do right now to move this bill? Boy I'll tell you he had ways to do it and as you can see he uses those skills on issues in which I was totally on the other side. I can't remember them all there were so many. We were never on the same side. But he is a legislator.
  • When did Ted Kennedy become Jabba the Hutt? He's huge! You're a Kennedy, not a Macy's Day float!! Bring him down, we're voting! No sir, I said "no" to the Krispy Kreme!!
  • Teddy Kennedy was the weak kitten in the litter, never able to measure up to his brothers. … One problem Teddy has always had was keeping it in his pants — even when other people are around.
    • Cleo O'Donnell, (Cleo O'Donnell died in 1953, Cleo O'Donnell Jr. Kennedy family friend was the captain of Harvard Football in 1946),wife of a former Kennedy campaign aide, quoted in Senatorial Privilege: The Chappaquiddick Cover-Up (1989) by Leo Damore, p. 285. This has sometimes been quoted with "The accident at Chappaquiddick displayed his chronic immaturity" as part of the quotation of O'Donnell, but this is actually a statement by author Leo Damore.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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Kennedy in his own wordsEdit