WATCH: Biden’s emotional tribute to Ted Kennedy

Vice President Biden on Monday gave an emotional dedication to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, whom he credits for having helped him continue his political career after the death of his wife and young daughter.

“It’s close to certain I would have never been sworn in as a United States senator if not for your father, your father’s encouragement,” he told the Kennedy children, including former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), who spoke before him.


“Literally reaching out to me and pulling me to Washington.”

Just weeks after his election to the Senate in 1972, Biden’s first wife and his toddler daughter were killed in a car crash that badly injured his two sons.

Biden recalled how he missed his swearing-in in the Senate, but Kennedy sent the secretary of the Senate to Delaware to swear him in from the hospital. He also attributed his electoral victory to Kennedy's support in the waning days of the tight election.

Biden spoke during the dedication of the Edward Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, minutes before President Obama took the stage.

“My guess is that every one of you in the audience has a story about Ted Kennedy’s generosity and friendship towards you, stories that made a difference in your lives,” Biden said.

"All politics is personal and no one in my life understood that better than Ted Kennedy.”

Kennedy served almost 50 years in the Senate, more than 30 alongside Biden, and championed many liberal causes, including universal healthcare. Before his death from a brain tumor in 2009, he took to the Senate floor for one final time to vote for the Affordable Care Act.

Biden recalled how that last appearance halted the partisan rancor over the law.

“As divided as the body was on that act, every single senator stood with thunderous applause and tears in their eyes welcoming back the 'Lion of the Senate.' ”