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Clinton, Jones on death of Ted Kennedy

National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were among the principals who shared personal memories of working with Sen. Ted Kennedy, who died today in Cape Cod at the age of 77. Jones’ statement: As a young Senate Liaison officer during the early 1980’s, I had the opportunity to get ...

National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were among the principals who shared personal memories of working with Sen. Ted Kennedy, who died today in Cape Cod at the age of 77.

National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were among the principals who shared personal memories of working with Sen. Ted Kennedy, who died today in Cape Cod at the age of 77.

Jones’ statement:

As a young Senate Liaison officer during the early 1980’s, I had the opportunity to get to know Senator Edward Kennedy who was then a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Senator Kennedy and his staff were among some of the best supporters the Marine Corps ever had on Capitol Hill.  Despite his many responsibilities, he always made time for me on issues of importance to Marines and their families.  Always gracious and well informed, the Senator was instrumental in the passage of the landmark legislation known as Goldwater-Nichols and military pay reforms, which ushered in the most comprehensive reforms of our military and defense establishment since the end of World War II.

Senator Kennedy, among the many things he will be remembered for, deserves to be honored for his genuine care and compassion for our men and women in uniform – his tireless work and his voting record clearly supports this distinction.  While he never shied from challenging our senior military leadership during hundreds of committee hearings, he could always be counted on to be fair and open-minded in letting witnesses like me make our case to the committee and to the American people.  He contributed a great deal to my "Washington education", and I’m sure he is most proud of the contributions many of his former staff members continue to make to our nation today.    

Clinton’s statement:

Today I join all Americans in mourning the passing of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, one of our nation’s finest statesmen and a dear friend. My thoughts and prayers are with Senator Kennedy’s wife Vicki, his children, grandchildren, and all the members of the extended Kennedy family.

For five decades, Senator Kennedy was at the heart of our greatest debates, serving on the front lines of democracy. With optimism and courage, he helped us meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of our times. He was a champion for women and families, for health care, education, civil rights and the environment. He inspired generation after generation of young Americans to enter public service, to stand up for justice and to fight for progress. And he was a legislator without peer, who understood both when to stand his ground and when to seek out the common ground on which compromise and progress is built.

When I was First Lady, we worked together to provide health insurance for America’s children. When I arrived in the Senate, he was a generous mentor and a thoughtful colleague. We worked together to raise the minimum wage, improve education, and champion the cause we shared so deeply: ensuring that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care. And as Secretary of State, I valued his counsel on how to make America a force for peace and progress around the world.

I will always treasure the memory of his friendship and the time we spent together, from the Massachusetts waters he loved so much, to the floor of the Senate that will feel empty without his booming voice and broad smile.

We have lost Ted, but his life’s work will shape our nation for years to come. His legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans who are freer, healthier, and more prosperous because of his efforts. As he said, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

 

Laura Rozen writes The Cable daily at ForeignPolicy.com.

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