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The lion of the Senate

TIM RUTTEN

Empathy, public service and civility have distinguished Ted Kennedy's long tenure.

May 21, 2008|TIM RUTTEN

Sorensen thought Teddy a callow candidate. But his brothers' murders and personal tragedy changed that. For a time, it seemed he might become an American Parnell, a leader of vision and skill undone by personal appetites. That too was surmounted. Today, Sorensen judges him thus: "More respected and effective today than some presidents have been, Ted long ago came to terms with the fact that he need not be president to fulfill his portion of the Kennedy legacy. ... I think he will ultimately die in the Senate. More active and at home in that body than either of his brothers, Ted was -- and still is -- the most relaxed campaigner of the three, with an easier style on the public platform, the best politician, better able to work with other senators in both parties.

"Always the liberal lion, he has proven to be a courageous battler on the cutting edge of issues both domestic and foreign, maintaining the liberal tradition of his brothers, even when others in the Democratic Party showed less courage. ... Jack and Bobby would have been proud."

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timothy.rutten@latimes.com

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