Obama: Kennedy made people his cause
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President Obama recalled the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) as a rare lawmaker committed to promoting progress over partisanship during a Monday speech dedicating a museum and institute to Kennedy’s memory.

“His life’s work was not to champion those with wealth or power or connection,” Obama said at the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

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“It was to give voice to people who wrote and called him from every state desperate for someone that might listen and help.”

Obama praised Kennedy as selfless and devoted to helping those less fortunate.

“It was never ideology that compelled him, except insofar as ideology said you should help people,” he said.

“They were his cause: The sick child that couldn’t see a doctor; the young soldier sent to battle without armor; the citizen denied her rights because of what she looked like or where she came from or who she loves."

Obama also used the occasion to stand up for his administration’s controversial negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, as well as chide senators for prioritizing fundraising and political arguments instead of working to compromise on issues.

“I think he regretted the arguments now made to cameras instead of colleagues, directed at a narrow base instead of the party politick as a whole, the outsized influence of money and special interests, and how it all leads more Americans to turn away in disgust and simply choose not to exercise their right to vote,” Obama said.

He added that Secretary of State John Kerry wanted to attend but is currently working to finalize negotiations with Iran. Obama lauded Kerry for “standing up for a principle that Ted and his brother, President Kennedy, believed in so strongly: Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”

Kennedy served for almost 50 years in the Senate, including the entirety of Obama’s Senate career. The longtime Democrat endorsed Obama during his primary battle with then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), which helped sway momentum his way.