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September 1, 2009

Ted Kennedy dead, age 77

POLITICS - Senator Edward Moore Kennedy died last Tuesday, more than a year after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Like his brothers JFK and Bobby Kennedy, Ted Kennedy was a giant in American politics, and the only one of the three brothers who wasn't killed by an assassin's bullet.

"He was given a gift of time that his brothers were not. And he used that time to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow," said President Barack Obama during the eulogy, who also described Ted Kennedy as "a veritable force of nature" and the "baby of the family who became its patriarch, the restless dreamer who became its rock."

Overshadowed by his brothers deaths (John F. Kennedy was the nation's 35th president when he was assassinated in 1963 and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was killed five years later as he campaigned for the presidency) Ted Kennedy avoided the seat of the president (although he did attempt it in 1980 but failed in the primaries against Jimmy Carter), becoming instead a powerful figure in the United States senate, serving in the senate for 46 years (the third longest serving senator in American history).

Ted Kennedy played a major role in passing many laws, including immigration, cancer research, free health care for children, ending apartheid, disability discrimination, AIDS/HIV funding, civil rights, education and volunteering.

"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." - Ted Kennedy during JFK's 1963 eulogy.

"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." - Ted Kennedy conceding defeat to Jimmy Carter in 1980.

"I won’t yield to anyone about guns in our society. I know enough about it." - Ted Kennedy debating against Mitt Romney in the Senate, 1994.

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