Without exception, elected Republicans and party leaders are reacting to the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) with the sort of measured statements usually reserved for former presidents.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele:
He was a tireless champion of the weak and forgotten, and our nation has lost a true statesman and devoted public servant. For five decades, Senator Kennedy defended the causes of justice and peace on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Today is a day to put politics aside and our great state and country first, and recognize Senator Kennedy’s remarkable leadership and service to his constituents of Massachusetts.
When I first came to the United States Senate I was filled with conservative fire in my belly and an itch to take on any and everyone who stood in my way, including Ted Kennedy. As I began working within the confines of my office I soon found out that while we almost always disagreed on most issues, once in a while we could actually get together and find the common ground, which is essential in passing legislation.
It is with great sadness that Elaine and I note the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, one of the giants of American political life, a longtime Senate colleague, and a friend. No one could have known the man without admiring the passion and vigor he poured into a truly momentous life. We send our deepest expressions of sympathy to Vicki, his children, and the entire Kennedy family.
I would like to extend our sympathies to the Kennedy family as we hear word about the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy. He believed in our country and fought passionately for his convictions.
My friend, Ted Kennedy, was famous before he was accomplished. But by the end of his life he had become irreplaceable in the institution he loved and in the affections of its members. He grew up in the long shadow of his brothers, but found a way to be useful to his country in ways that will outlast their accomplishments.