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« Bauer To Call For Sanford's Resignation | Blog Home Page | Obama and Kennedy Last Spoke In July »

Obama: Kennedy Made It Possible For Me To Pursue Dreams

President Obama called Ted Kennedy a "singular figure in American history" who allowed people like himself to pursue their dreams.

He noted that Kennedy was often "the target of partisan campaign attacks," but was greatly respected by his colleagues in both parties.

"His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth, and good cheer," Obama said. "He could passionately battle others and do so peerlessly on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintain warm friendships across party lines. And that's one reason he became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy."

Obama, vacationing in Kennedy's home state of Massachusetts, said he spoke with Kennedy's wife this morning, and offered his thoughts to the entire family. Though his passing was not unexpected, there was "no small amount of dread" in awaiting it, he said. But on a positive note, he said the time since his diagnosis to this day has allowed for "the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you -- and goodbye."

Obama made no special mention of health care, which was the late senator's great passion. But his passing will no doubt color the discussion in the weeks ahead.