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tv   Larry King Live  CNN  August 27, 2009 12:00am-1:00am EDT

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hey. that does it for this edition of "a.c. 360." larry king starts right now. tonight, the life and death of edward kennedy, the youngest in a political dynasty. once in the shadow of jfk and rfk, he rises to political power, triumphs over tragedy, and emerges as an icon all on his own. the senate's liberal lion is silenced forever. is it the end of an era? next on a very special edition of "larry king live." >> larry: a very special program tonight, and some outstanding guests. we begin in washington with senator joe lieberman, independent of connecticut.
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he knew senator kennedy in the '70s, they became close friends when joe came to the u.s. senate in '89. senator john warner, the former senator from virginia, longtime friend of senator kennedy. warner did advance work for nixon while kennedy was doing advance work for his brother. representative ed markey is in boston, democrat of massachusetts and longtime friend of the late senator. and on the phone from shanghai, china, is former senator bill frist, former senate majority leader and a good friend of senator kennedy. what's your first reaction, joe lieberman, to all of this? >> first reaction is that this was -- this is the end of an era, certainly the end of a generation of a great american family. president john f. kennedy inspired me and a lot of others of my generation into public service. ted kennedy carried it along. i also thought, with a kind of gratitude, that unlike three of his brothers, though his passing is sooner than any of us who loved him, served with him would
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have wanted, he died of natural causes, and he lived a full and wonderful life. an inspiring, ultimate irresistible person. and i feel lucky, blessed to have known him personally, and learned a lot from him about how to get things done in politics. >> larry: senator warner, you're a republican, you're an opponent of his on many issues, yet many senators are using the word "love" tonight. do you use that word? >> you know, i was privileged to know ted for 50 years. you mentioned that we were on opposite sides in the 1960 presidential campaign. i worked for vice president nixon, he worked for his brother, and we boxed a good deal during that campaign. and through the years, our friendship solidified. and particularly the 30 years we served in the senate. and joe, you remember, we were all in the armed services committee together, and he was
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very much against a lot of the policies, and certainly war. but he loved the men and women in uniform and their families and whenever we needed a vote to get them health care, educational benefits, anything else, he was there. >> he was always there. larry, that's such an important point. part of the kennedy record that's probably not as much publicly known, he was really the senior democrat on the armed services committee. he chose to be chairman of the health committee, carl levin is the chairman, but he served with distinction and honor and really was loyal to the men and women in uniform for us around the world. >> no question about it. >> larry: ed markey, what kind of friend was he? >> well, for me, you know, just a kid growing up in massachusetts, at the immaculate conception grammar school and john and robert and ted kennedy are saying, in 1960, ask not what your country can do for
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you, but rather what you can do for your country. so he inspired me, he inspired millions of other people, and it was a great honor for me, obviously, for 33 years, to be a congressman from massachusetts with him. and every day, for me, was a fulfillment of a political dream, because he was an idealist without illusions, as his brother used to say. he wanted to get things done. he knew when to cross over the aisle in order to cut deals, but at the end of the day, he was an inspiration to me. he is going to be missed because he leaves a huge void. the good news is that he passed the torch on to a new generation, through barack obama and through millions of others in the country who will pick up his cause. >> larry: senator frist, you opposed him often on the floor of the senate. what was he like for you? >> you know, larry, we did, but
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in truth, we came together because of his unique ability to reach across the aisle. but i think in addition to what my colleagues have said, this whole personal aspect of a man whose passions are dominant, whose passions are supreme, but the passions were never about the kennedys or about himself, but it came back to these passions that are more than just a bunch of stories, but almost a melody that carried throughout his life and the passions are for the underserved, for healing, for health, for passion. and that's the dramatic that's beginning to play out as people tell their stories over the next several days. >> larry: ted kennedy was only one of six senators in the united states history of the senate to serve over 40 years. when i interviewed him in 2006, we talked about his long tenure. take a look. you've been there 44 years. running again, right? >> yes.
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there's always people out there that are interested in the challenge, so we've worked hard at it and we're going to continue to work hard. >> larry: how long you want to stay? >> i say until i get the hang of it. i usually hear that question from my nieces and nephews, wondering, how long you going to stay? >> larry: you've been called one of the great senators of all time, time magazine dubbed you the deal maker. that must be a great honor to you. you like the senate, obviously? >> i enjoy it. i enjoy it. >> larry: joe lieberman, is it true that his word was his bond? >> it is true that his word was his bond. and you can't stress how important that is in politics and legislative politics enough. we don't sign contracts. we make agreements and it's your word that counts or doesn't count. i'll just tell you a quick story. john mccain and ted kennedy led a bipartisan group a few years back to try to achieve
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immigration reform. we had about 12 of us, six democrats, six republicans. agreed, finally, on a compromise and also agreed that we had to stick together to defeat all amendments, even though there would be amendments from the left and right that various of us would wish we could vote for. and i will tell you the truth, that not everybody kept that agreement. but ted kennedy did. he stood up and voted no on some amendments that he really wanted to vote before, because he had come to a compromise that was going to achieve immigration reform. unfortunately, it didn't ultimately do it. but that was kennedy. his word was his bond. he was willing -- he knew when to stand and advocate, to use that almost operatic tenor of his to fill the room with anger and passion. but then he knew when to sit down and negotiate, make an agreement and keep his word. >> larry: we'll continue in a moment. by the way, as is customary,
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when a member of the senate d e dies, ted kennedy's desk in the senate is now draped in black, has a white vase of flowers on it, a copy of the robert frost poem "the road not taken" placed on the desk as well. frost cited an original poem at jfk's desk in in the 1977. >> the cause endures, the hope sti still lives, and the dream shall never die. we have only just begun to fight. we will never give up, we will never give in. and in 1992, we are going to win. that is our challenge. that is our new frontier. cross it, we can, and cross it, we must. the work begins anew!
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i'll support the candidate who inspires me, who inspires
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all of us, who can lift our vision and summon our hopes and renew our belief that our country's best days are still to come. it's time again for a new generation of leadership. it is time now for barack obama. >> larry: by the way, we've learned that president obama will deliver one of the jeweulis at the funeral on saturday. the president is already in massachusetts on vacation. would it be correct, senator warner, to call kennedy the lion of the senate? >> oh, yes. i've never seen that defined, but he certainly earned it. you mentioned the word "love" in the first question you threw to me. and i thought about that for a minute. that was a man that had love in his heart.
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he loved his wife. she really stood by him courageously throughout this last episode. his children, his family, he loved the people who were less fortunate than he. he stopped to look back through his work in the senate. he was always to try and take care of those who needed health care, whether they needed educational benefits. always thinking of those less fortunate than himself. a man who was born into wealth, but never stopped thinking one day in the senate about those less fortunate. >> larry: well said. ted kennedy cast votes on most of the crucial issues in the second half of the 20th century and many of those in the 21st. you called iraq the overriding issue. you voted to go there or not? >> no. the best vote i cast in the united states senate was -- the best vote i cast in the united states senate was --
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>> larry: in your life? >> absolutely. >> larry: was not to go? >> yes, not to go. >> larry: why did you vote against? >> well, i'm on the armed services committee, and i was inclined to support the administration when we started the hearing. and it was enormously interesting to me that the -- those that had been -- that were in the armed forces, that had served in combat were universally opposed to going. virtually all of them said, no, this is not going to work. >> larry: and that bugged you? >> and that really was a -- influenced me to the greatest degree. >> larry: congressman markie, does that surprise you, that that he considered his greatest vote? >> well, you know, i think the reason that so many americans admire him is that he didn't
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just measure his success by his victories, but how fiercely he fought, even in defeat. if he felt that an important principle was at stake. i think that's really what makes him such a special senator, such a special american. because people knew that when he spoke on the senate floor that they were listening to true north. they knew that this man was speaking the truth and they believed in him. and so, no, not at all. there are many achievements that he has and we can talk about them for the rest of the night and not even get to the end of the list. but in a lot of ways, when the senate was in the minority, the democrats, that is, and he didn't have a great chance for success. that's when he stood up. that's when his voice was loudest. and i think that's what he should be most proud of, because when that war in iraq was being
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debated, his was a lonely voice, but he was proud of it. and he should be. >> larry: and in a couple of minutes, we'll ask senator frist about what it was like to deal with senator kennedy. be back in a minute. portant. new centrum ultra women's. a complete multivitamin for women. it has vitamin d which emerging science suggests... supports breast health... and more calcium for bone health. new centrum ultra women's. special interest groups are trying to block progress on health care reform, derailing the debate with myths and scare tactics. desperately trying to stop you from discovering that reform won't force you to give up your current coverage. you'll still be able to choose your doctor and insurance plan. tell congress not to let myths get in the way of fixing what's broken with health care. learn the facts at
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tylenol pm quiets the pain that keeps you awake. and helps you sleep, in a non-habit forming way. >> larry: health care reform was at the top of senator kennedy's agenda. here he was in 1980, and then again in 2008, talking about what he called the cause of his lifetime. watch. >> we cannot have a fair prosperity and isolation from a fair society. so i will continue to stand for a national health insurance. we must -- we must not surrender to the relentless medical inflation that can bankrupt almost anyone and that may soon break the budgets of government at every level. let us insist on real controls over what doctors and hospitals
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can charge and let us resolve that the state of a family's health shall never depend on the size of a family's wealth. and this is the cause of my life. new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every american, north, south, east, west, young, old will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege. >> larry: the guy ted kennedy was. i wrote him a letter when it was revealed that he had brain cancer, and expressed my thoughts and hopes for him. and i got this letter back. september 9th, 2008. "dear larry, my doctors tell me
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it's important to wear rose-colored glasses these days and things look even brighter because of you. with our blue and red wristba s wristbands, we can conquer any challenge. i was very touched by your letter and your kind words, knowing how well you've overcome health problems of your own, your personal support and encouragement were especially welcome. thank you so much, larry. it's reassuring to have such a caring friend. vicki and i are deeply grateful to you for reaching out to us at this time. you've truly lifted our spirits. all the best, ted." we'll be back with ted kennedy's friends from the congress after this. some people buy a car based on the deal they get.
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>> larry: senator frist, what was it like to take him on? >> larry, it was fascinating. i think your last segment brought out the consistency of his thematics, the melody of serving the uninsured of health. and that played out in 1972 when i was an intern in college. i came and spent an hour and a half in his office because of his commitment to this same thing, the same speech that you just played on universal care and national health insurance. and all the way through becoming majority leader, he consistently had that theme. would negotiate hard, would stay at the table, would stick with his liberal principles, but at the end of the day, he was always there for the greater good. in that last segment, you also mentioned the caring, and joust because it hadn't been brought out, being in the senate family with ted kennedy, he was the first to call when my parents died. they died within 24 hours of each other. of all the united states
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senators and congressmen, it was ted kennedy and vicki kennedy who called, not just to give their condolences, but to grieve by sharing a little bit about their past. that consistency, that themic, and caring are what we saw in the senate, day in and day out. >> larry: ted kennedy's life encompassed both triumph and tragedy. we talked about that in our interview in '96. can you take a step back, senator, and explain what it is about the family that keeps them going. >> i think, like many other families, we were blessed with two parents. different, but complimentary in so many ways, that made a very special house. at least, i think most family members would feel that way about their own home. wonderful brothers and sisters, all of whom are best of friends. all different personalities. >> larry: has it been a burden to be, sort of, the patriarch in this family? i mean, two brothers gone, you
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sort of -- they all come to you, don't they? >> they do, but it's a wonderful experience. the circumstances that brought it about, obviously, remain with me every day but, they're really wonderful and so many of them are doing such interesting things, i know that my brother jack and brother bobby would be enormously proud of their children. >> larry: joe lieberman, how do you explain the kennedys? >> what a story. a father committed to america and committed to seeing his family succeed. and giving them the support to do so. a mother of profound religious faith, who instilled that faith in her children and gave them the optimism, and i think, the ability to transcend difficulties that comes with faith. and, you know, this family loved
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america. they wanted to serve it, make it better. i think that -- you know, something i was thinking about today, larry. when john f. kennedy was elected, what struck all of us was not just his intelligence, his -- the nobility with which he approached public service, he broke a barrier. he was the first roman catholic to be elected president. well, for me as a jewish kid growing up with, maybe beginning to think about politics, probably for a lot of other minority groups, including racial groups, minority groups. maybe that said to us, you know, anything really is possible in this country. i would say there's a direct line between the kennedy family and the fact that barack obama is our president today. >> larry: well put. >> so a great american family who set a model for all the rest of us for public service. ted kennedy, i think, was one of the most productive senators in american history. and the great thing to say is that though he didn't fill out the dream he had to be
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president, once he acknowledged that, he came back and set himself on being the best senator he could be and he was one of the greatest in american history. >> larry: would you say, senator warner, that he's one of those who's irreplaceable? >> well, he's certainly going to have a chapter in senate history. and it's a very interesting thing that occurred here in this interview and you might not be aware of it. you asked the question of him, what was his most important vote, and he gave you a clear answer. and to show you the uniqueness of the senate, and joe lieberman and i say, with a deep sense of humility, we're among ted's best friends, yet that vote was cast against a resolution drawn up by john warner and joe lieberman. >> it didn't have a bit of effect on our relationship. >> not at all. >> i hope and believe, because we both -- we all knew what we believed we were doing what was
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right and we would be working together on the next one. >> that's the strength of the united states senate. >> larry: great story. thank you all very much. congressman ed markey, former senator bill frist, former senator bill warner, good to have them all with us, and senator joe lieberman of connecticut. we'll talk with nancy reagan next. i never thought i would have a heart attack,
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the energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve in it. >> when you try and remember the more hopeful times of those we loved and impressed you with. >> larry: nancy reagan, the former first lady joins us on the phone, but you and your husband were quite friendly with the kennedys, were you not? >> we were very friendly with them, yes, we were. many people didn't realize the friendship or didn't accept -- or didn't know about the friendship. you know, ronny was so identified with the republican party and teddy, obviously, with the democrat party. but that doesn't make any
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difference, larry, really, it shouldn't make any difference. i'm afraid it does now, but it shouldn't. >> larry: i remember you telling me a story, the night that you and ronny went up to the kennedy home in mcclain for an evening of fun and frivolity, right? >> that's right. and actually, what happened was that teddy had asked ronny to speak at the library in mcclain and do a fund-raiser for them, which he did. very happily. >> larry: what was your reaction to the news? i guess it wasn't unexpected. >> no, of course it wasn't. it's still sad, you know. terribly, terribly sad. but not unexpected, no. >> larry: you think a common bond was also the irish ancestry? >> well, could be. i never thought about that, but certainly possible.
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they both certainly enjoyed good stories. >> larry: yeah, they did. >> they both had very definite opinions about thing. it was a wonderful, wonderful friendship. >> larry: said a lot about america, didn't it? >> yes, it did. yes it did. and i wish, i wish, larry, that i could say that of now. >> larry: no, that's gone. you had a lot of common ground on the issue of stem cells, did you not? >> yes, we did. i was the one who was always calling people. >> larry: no kidding. >> these four men, i'm sure, every time someone came in and said, oh, mrs. reagan is calling again, they said, oh, my god, though, not again. >> larry: we hear a lot about vicki. what's she like? >> i didn't know her well, at
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all. but, yes, i understand she's lovely, lovely woman, who's made him very, very happy. >> obviously, huh? well, he had a long and wonderful life. how, by the way, before you leave us, how are you doing? >> i'm fine. except, you know, i broke my pelvis and that's not much fun. >> larry: yeah. you're pretty ambulatory. >> kind of. kind of, larry. i walk with a walker now. and that's no fun. you know, this whole thing is not for me. >> larry: is it true that there's no such thing as the golden years? >> that's true. there certainly isn't. whoever made that up should be spanked. >> larry: thanks, nancy. thanks for joining, as always. >> thanks, larry. >> larry: the former first lady, terrific lady, nancy reagan on the passing of ted kennedy. we'll be back.
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my brother need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life. but to be remembered simply as a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.
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those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world. >> larry: that was a great eulogy. coming up in a couple minutes, we'll be joined by david gergen, cnn senior political analyst, served as white house adviser to presidents ford, nixon, reagan, and clinton. and ted sorenson, who served as special adviser to john f kennedy, and author of the best-selling memoir, "counselor: a life at the edge of history." but first, we're joined by governor duvall patrick, the democratic governor of massachusetts. what's your reaction to his passing? >> well, larry, it's been just a long and sad day here in massachusetts. we lost one of the commonwealth and the country's brightest lights last night.
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he was larger than life and completely down to earth, at the same time, as some of your other guests have said. and i certainly admired and respected him for his total commitment to social and economic justice. but i also just loved spending time with him, personally. >> larry: prior to his death, he urged state lawmakers to change the special election law to allow you to point an interim senator. is that going to happen? >> well, i think it remains to be seen. you know, we have a provision in our current law that requires a special election in circumstances like this one. i support that law. so did senator kennedy. i also believe that the senator's request to permit the governor to point someone to serve for the approximately five months between now and that special election is imminently reasonable. and i think that massachusetts needs two voices in the united states senate, especially at a time of momentous change like this one. but having said that, now is the time for us to reflect on his life and his contributions and to pray for the comfort of his wife, vicki, and his family.
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>> larry: but if the legislature passed such a bill to change this current law, you would sign it? >> i would sign it, yes. >> larry: would you run for the senate? >> goodness, no. i've got my hands full with my current job. >> larry: what's your best memory of ted? >> well, there's so many great ones. you know, i can remember him stewarding my confirmation through the senate judiciary committee when i was up for head of the civil rights division in the clinton administration. and i can remember him and vicki and two wonderful broadway stars and the conductor of the boston pops and his wife sitting in our home in western massachusetts, singing show tunes until the wee hours of the night. just a -- as i say, at the same moment, both larger than life and totally down to earth. smart, kind, warm, savvy, and wicked funny. >> larry: we will not see his likes again. thank you, governor. >> thank you so much, larry.
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>> larry: governor deval patrick, democrat, massachusetts. coming up, ted sorenson and our own john king. than tylenol® rapid release gels®. advil® liqui-gels rush real liquid relief... wherever you hurt. advil® liqui-gels. liquid fast. advil strong.
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among the many mourning the loss of ted kennedy today were president obama and vice president biden. watch. >> over the past several years, i've had the honor to call teddy a colleague, a counselor, and a friend. and even though we have known this day was coming for some time now, we awaited it with no small amount of dread. since teddy's diagnosis last year, we've seen the courage with which he battled his illness. and while these months have no doubt been difficult for him, they've also let him hear from people in every corner of our nation and from around the world just how much he meant to all of us. this gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers, john and robert, were taken from us. the blessing of time to say thank you and good-bye.
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>> he changed the circumstances of tens of millions of americans, in a literal sense. literally. literally. changed the circumstances. he changed, also, another aspect, that i have observed about him. he challenged not only the physical circumstance, he changed how they looked at themselves. and how they looked at one another. >> larry: there was another big loss today. good friend, dominick dunne died of bladder cancer at his home in manhatt manhattan, a home i recently visited. he was 83. he was an author, commentator, special correspondent for "vanity fair." he wrote about the rich and the famous and is well known for chronicling big cases. he became a vocal victims rights advocate after the murder of his daughter and he was a great friend to this show. there was no one like dominick dunne and his late friend,
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gregory dunne. he had a style unlike any other. the words flowed. a grand man. we'll miss him. ( siren blaring ) special interest groups are trying to block progress on health care reform, derailing the debate with myths and scare tactics. desperately trying to stop you from discovering that reform won't ration care. you and your doctor will always decide the best treatment for you. tell congress not to let myths get in the way of fixing what's broken with health care. learn the facts at need a lift? hey buddy, i appreciate the ride, you know. no problem. ♪
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i think the first impression that i've always had is so fortunate i've been to have grown up in a family and been able to learn what i have tried to learn and continue to learn, but most of all, learned what i did from wonderful parents and great brothers and sisters.
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>> larry: anderson cooper is going to host "a.c. 360" at the top of the hour. anderson, i guess i know what's up. >> yeah, larry, we're going to continue, obviously, a look at the remarkable life and legacy of ted kennedy. after 77 years, 47 of them spent as a senator from massachusetts, there is a lot to discuss. both political and personal, the heroic and the tragic. all the angles tonight with the people who knew and covered senator kennedy over the years. we'll also be digging deeper into the causes most important to the senator and the impact he made in the fight for civil rights and the health care coverage. and a sad day, in many ways, author and reporter dominick dunne has also died. a friend of yours, larry, a friend of mine since i was a little kid. we'll look back at his remarkable life as well, larry? >> larry: well said. joining us now in hyannis port, massachusetts, david gergen.
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in new york, ted sorenson, special council and adviser to the president. author of the best-selling memoir, "counselor: a life at the edge of history." and our own john king, anchor "state of the union with john king." a great show every sunday. john, what can you tell us about president obama attending the funeral? >> reporter: well, larry, president obama, we are told, will attend the funeral mass. it's the mission church a couple of miles where i am from the library. it was a church where senator kennedy went to pray and receive communion and reflect repeatedly when his young daughter, kara, was being treated for lung cancer. so he formed a bond with that church. and president obama will attend the funeral and deliver a eulogy at that mass. that is on saturday. then, of course, they will fly on to washington and he will be buried at arlington national cemetery near his brothers. and here at the library, larry, over the next two days, there will be -- the senator will lie in repose. the people of massachusetts and others can visit him and reflect on him, but there'll also be a big celebration, an irish wake, if you will, here on friday night where senator john mccain,
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senator john kerry, other family members and friends will speak and celebrate the life of senator kennedy. >> larry: that's john king at the kennedy library in boston. david gergen in hyannis port, in the history of the senate, where does he rank? >> very high, larry. but let me just say, for starters, it's an honor on a night like this to be with ted sorenson on the panel. it's sad that the kennedy leaders were with lions of the liberal movement in the united states and ted sorenson was the man who helped them find their roar. so hats off to him. because i know this is a very meaningful night for him. i think ted kennedy will always be remembered as the man who rose from the ashes. in fact, not much was expected from him. he had many personal failings as he was free to admit. but, yet, overcame them.
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and the last 40 plus years of his life, had an enormous impact upon american public life, as a voice for freedom, for equality, for justice. a man who often pursued lost causes, but championed them in a way that brought them back to life repeatedly, such as national health insurance, that fight now. but he also, larry, will be remembered as one of the most popular members of the senate, because he stood up to these old traditions of making the senate a body that tried to get work done. not just talk, but work done. and that meant he reached across the aisle on numerous occasions, formed friendships with republicans like orrin hatch. that were the life and blood of a senate that often did great things. and he deserves an awful lot of credit for that. >> larry: david has a lot of commitments, so we thank him. we'll be calling on him again probably tomorrow night. david gergen, thanks so much, and thanks for those nice words about ted attorneyson. ted, if we used one word to
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describe ted kennedy, would it be growth? >> that's exactly right. like all his brothers, he demonstrated extraordinary growth. so many politicians, once they get to washington, they think they know it all, they stop growing. the kennedys, when they reached washington, knew there was a lot they did not yet know and that they wanted to know and ted kennedy was one who reached out for more information, more issues, new horizons. >> larry: historically, was he one of the greats? >> yes. not only because of the length of his service, 46 years, but because he became a champion of so many causes, whether they were popular or not. and i can assure you that although i love the state of massachusetts, not all of his causes, including civil rights, equal opportunities for all americans, regardless of color,
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were at all times unanimously supported, even in his own party back in massachusetts. >> larry: john king, what was he like to cover? >> reporter: he was very fun to cover, larry, because he loved his job so much. he was someone who truly loved legislating in the senate, truly loved public battle. he loved to go to the floor of the senate. and in the old days, the senate's not what it used to be, but in the old days, the republicans wouldn't leave the chamber. they would come into the chamber and sit down and listen. because you knew if teddy was up giving a stem wirnd, even if you disagreed with everything he was about to say, it was going to be a great speech. and he also loved, though, doing the business. ted kennedy, tip o'neill were from a generation where you did battle with the ronald reagans or the george h.w. bushes during the day and then at night you would have a drink and see if you could get what you wanted. i covered my first days in washington a debate about whether to raise the minimum
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wage. he would pull you aside, ask this senator if he was ready to cave on that. he lived the give and take with the press as well. and he always shuffled around the halls. he had that horrific back pain from the plane crash, couldn't lift his feet all the time. but he always had laughter. despite the pap in in his life, despite the tragedy in his life, he had that big trademark, big tooth kennedy smile and laughter all the time.
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>> larry: ted sorenson, how do you think he was able to overcome so many early deficits in his life?
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the kopechne thing and the rest? >> you said one word was growth, i would say one word was survivor. all of his older brothers were violently killed when they were still young. he must have wondered, as a national figure who was often subject to words of scorn and hate, he must have wondered about the hate mail pouring into his office, whether he would survive. he survived a plane crash in which he might well have been killed, as his oldest brother was. he survived the automobile accident in which his passenger was killed. he kept coming back, because he was strong, because he was determined, and because he believed that he had a commitment to fulfill as the legity of his older brothers.
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>> larry: how much will his loss affect, john king, the health care debate? >> reporter: it is a fascinating policy question, as we reflect on the life and legacy of the senator, what will come of his death. you know, many -- and ted could tell you better than i, i only know it from the history books -- that lyndon johnson was able to pass some of the things that john f. kennedy wanted to pass that he couldn't get through in his day, because there was a change in the political dynamic after president kennedy's assassination. will there be a change in the health care dynamic, the cause of senator kennedy's life, after his passing? if you do the math, the answer would be probably not. but sometimes math doesn't apply to politics. here is the challenge right now. president obama so could have used the help of senator kennedy to bridge the differences within the democratic party and then perhaps some of the differences with the republicans. but the big challenge is in the democratic family. the challenge now is for the president to do this himself. and whether he can invoke senator kennedy's memory and legacy in trying to muster that will within his party is the
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defining challenge when the president returns back to work next month. >> larry: ted, we only have a minute left. we must ask this. did you write the line "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"? >> well, larry, i'm flattered that on a day when so much else is so much more important, that you even asked that question, but you were nice enough to say some kind words about my book and i try to set forth in full in that book the background of that phrase. so my answer has to be the same one i've given to others for all these years -- ask not. >> larry: well, we're all going to miss ted kennedy and i thank all of our guests tonight. nancy reagan, our panelists earlier from the senate and from the house, david gergen, the cnn senior political analyst, john king, who hosts "state of the union with john king," that great sunday morning program,
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and of course, ted sorenson, one of the heroes of anybody who's ever written a line. the brilliant ted sorenson. i'm going to end a minute early tonight and we'll end simply by saying, ted, we'll miss you. good night. >> in short. i will continue to fight the good fight. i will continue to see issues in the way i have always sought to see them. not as numbers and words, but as individuals and families with worries and dreams. we must resist disillusionment, the tendency of politics to be cautious and cynical. john kennedy belongs so strongly that one's aim should not just be the most comfortable life possible, that we should


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