The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Joe Biden

Biden Mourns the Passing of Claiborne Pell

Vice President-Elect Joe Biden issued a statement on the passing of former senator Claiborne Pell today at age 90. Biden's statement in full:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Pell family as they mourn the loss of one of our country's greatest public servants. Claiborne Pell was a man of extraordinary integrity, grace and decency. Chairman Pell was a mentor to me and one of our nation's most important voices in foreign policy for over 30 years. He was a leader in the effort to reduce the size of the world's nuclear arsenal and to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Few Senators have done more to expand opportunity in America. Because of Senator Pell and the Pell Grant, the doors of college have been opened to millions of Americans -- and will continue to be opened to millions more. That is a legacy that will live on for generations to come.

Posted at 5:15 PM ET on Jan 1, 2009  | Category:  Joe Biden
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I never understood why it is okay for middle class kids to graduate with $150,000 in student loan debt, while the 'poor' kids sitting right next to them in class get college free.

Social engineering at its best!!!

Posted by: MYSTICMOUSE44 | January 2, 2009 9:54 PM

Rest in Peace, Senator Pell. I remember well the big help receiving the grants named for you were when I was a college student.

Posted by: richardling | January 1, 2009 8:44 PM

A great Senator and, although a wealthy man, a great representative of his blue collar Rhode Island constituents.

A descendant of Congressmen and a Vice President, married to an heir of the A & P fortune, Pell was the finest example of the educated man who looked upon public service as a means to leave the nation a better place than he found it.

He was my representative in the Senate for the five years I lived in little Rhody. We would laugh at his somewhat shabby dress...his ill fitting suits, out of style ties and rumpled shirts......but he did more for college students than any other Senator has done before or since.

He was also the main sponsor of the bill that created the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was active as an advocate for mass transportation initiatives and domestic legislation facilitating and conforming to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In 1987 he was among those selected for the United Nations Environment Programme's Global 500 Roll of Honour, in the first year that award was established. He served as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1987-1994.

Upon his retirement from the Senate, Rhode Island's Newport Bridge was redesignated the "Claiborne Pell Bridge" and the Pell Center of International Relations and Public Policy was established at Salve Regina University, in Newport, Rhode Island, Pell's home town.

In 1993, during the bitter confirmation battle over Roberta Achtenberg, a lesbian, as Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Pell stated that his daughter was a lesbian, and that he hoped that it would not be a barrier to federal employment for her; Achtenberg became the first openly gay person to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Rest in peace Senator....

Posted by: toritto | January 1, 2009 8:44 PM

jaked writes: "Pell grants are un-Constitutional. The States granted limited power to the federal government and anything in the Dept. of Education exceeds said power. Next question?"

OK, this has to be a troll. Who is JakeD really? Todd Palin? The kid Bristol hooked up with? His mother? Britney Spears? K-Fed?

I'm guessing you're aiming for a guest spot on the Maury Povich show.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 1, 2009 7:00 PM

Maybe Alito and Roberts can fix it for you, if they agree. You seem quick to condemn a democratic government for trying to help people. More prisons and war industry are great though, good Christian stuff!

Hey! Scalia says torture is not "cruel and unusual punishment" His glib opinion,"Who said it was punishment?" An insidious subversion of the framers intentions to avoid cruelty, I'm sure.

Beware of education for people who can't afford it because they lost the profit of their labor to their greedy bosses and financial institutions.

Ronald Reagan had a bullet removed from his chest by a doctor who got through college on a government program Reagan had opposed. The doctor, who saved Reagan's life, said he never would have been a doctor if Reagan had gotten his way.

Government by the people, and for the people. Good idea.

Posted by: rooster54 | January 1, 2009 6:53 PM

The States granted limited power to the federal government and anything in the Dept. of Education exceeds said power. Next question?

Posted by: JakeD | January 1, 2009 6:29 PM

In your own words, please tell us how you think Pell grants are unconstitutional.

Posted by: rooster54 | January 1, 2009 6:15 PM

Pell grants are un-Constitutional.

Posted by: JakeD | January 1, 2009 5:25 PM

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