Boston: US President Barack Obama said today that American politicians in an era of partisanship should try to carry themselves more like Edward M. Kennedy, as politicians from both parties lauded the late senator's collegial spirit at the dedication of an institute that bears his name.
The USD 79 million institute, built next to the John F. Kennedy presidential library on Boston's Columbia Point, envisioned by Kennedy before he was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008. He died the following year. Edward Kennedy was the late president's youngest brother.
Obama said it was appropriate for Kennedy to want "a monument not to himself but to what we the people have the power to do together." He said he hoped the institute could help restore confidence in government at a time of great cynicism, giving a young student a chance to debate in its full-scale replica of the Senate chamber.
"What if our politics, our democracy, were as elevated as he envisions it to be?" Obama said. Instead, he said citizens are cynical about government and disgusted by politicians' trivial pursuits and grandstanding for "cameras instead of colleagues."
"Fear so permeates our politics instead of hope. People fight to get in the Senate only to get afraid," the president told some
1,800 Kennedy friends, family and politicians from both parties gathered for the dedication. He said Kennedy was never afraid to compromise with Republicans, even if it would anger his supporters.
"What if we carried ourselves more like Ted Kennedy?" Obama asked.