Fw: Travel pool report #6: Dedication ceremony

From: Eilperin, Juliet [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 12:43 PM
To: Allen, Jessica
Subject: Travel pool report #6: Dedication ceremony

The president, as well as other dignitaries including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Vice President Biden and Kennedy’s son, former Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), gathered in a massive tent outside of the institute to honor the late Edward M. Kennedy.

According to Tim Stancell-Condron, Director of Business Development and Events at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, the crowd at the dedication numbers 1,800.  In addition to Jarrett and Tchen, both White House chief speechwriter Cody Keenan, deputy communications director Amy Brundage, and David Simas--a Taunton, Mass. native and the director of the White House’s Office of Political Strategy and Outreach—are sitting in the audience in front of the press section.

Kennedy’s widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, introduced President Obama. She noted that Kennedy recruited Obama as a senator to the committee he chaired. She said it was her honor “to introduce a man my husband loved so much he gave him a puppy,” noting the president was able to sign into law the Affordable Care Act, “enshrining in law what Teddy called the cause of his life, health care for all Americans.”

Here are some quotes, but as this event was open press, please rely on the transcript.

Obama started out by saying he and Michelle Obama had been praying for decorated Boston police officer John Moynihan, who was shot on Friday in the line of duty. “We wish him a full and speedy recovery.”

Obama said he was pleased to be in the company of the Kennedy family, members of Congress ”and pretty much every elected official in Massachusetts.”

He also gave a shout-out to the enormous number of people who had worked for Kennedy, “Fifty years later a family that’s more than 1,000 strong. This is your day too.”

He noted that some of those people “now work for me.”

“So enjoy the day because we’ve got to get back to work,” he said.

The legacies of the Kennedy brothers “are as alive as ever, right here in Boston.”

“The Senate was a place where you instinctively pulled yourself up a little bit straighter,” the president recalled. “It fills you with a heightened sense of purpose. That’s the magic of the Senate. That’s the essence of what it can be.”

“We live in a time of such great cynicism about our institutions, and we are cynical about government and Washington most of all… And this place can help change that.”

And while he said it was not the time “to suggest a slew of new ideas for reform,” he said he would suggest “just one.”

“What if we carried ourselves more like Ted Kennedy? What if we worked to follow his example a little bit harder?”

Speaking of Kennedy’s long friendship and legislative partnership with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Obama said, “The point is we can fight on almost everything. But we can come together on some things. And those ‘some things’ can mean everything to some people.”

Obama stopped speaking at 12:40 pm. The  pool is now holding before Obama departs.

Juliet Eilperin

White House Bureau Chief

Washington Post

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