Colleagues, Friends Mourn 'Patriarch' of the Senate Gallery
By Paul Kane
Friends and colleagues of the late Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) on Wednesday mourned the loss of the Senate's "patriarch," whose outsized personality and legislative and political skills continued to impact official Washington until his dying days.
President Obama was awoken by a top aide about 2 a.m. and notified of Kennedy's death, a spokesman said. Obama spoke by telephone to the senator's widow, Victoria, and issued a statement that said he and first lady Michelle Obama were "heartbroken" at the loss of a political mentor and cherished friend.
"An important chapter in our history has come to an end," said Obama, who is vacationing with his family at a rented compound in Martha's Vineyard, Mass., a short ferry ride from the Kennedy compound where the ailing senator died late Tuesday. "Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States Senator of our time."
Aides said the president was expected to speak to reporters about Kennedy at 8:30 a.m.
Posted at 8:31 AM ET on Aug 26, 2009
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