CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An emotional tribute to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) set the tone for the first night of the Democratic National Convention here, reminding delegates of the key facets of his legacy, from health care to his early support of President Barack Obama.
A seven-minute video was broadcast to delegates and a national audience, ending with a picture of Obama walking side-by-side with an ailing Kennedy, ambling with a cane in the waning days before he lost his battle with cancer.
Kennedy’s image served as both a hopeful reminder of the energy that surrounded Obama’s 2008 campaign and an eerie foil to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who challenged Kennedy in 1994 for his long-held Senate seat. The video cut by the Democratic National Committee included footage of Kennedy attacking Romney in a now-infamous debate.
“On the question of the choice issue, I have supported the Roe v. Wade [decision]. I am pro-choice. My opponent is multiple choice,” Kennedy said in a clip from a debate between the two men.
Although the DNC chose a clip of Kennedy and Romney as adversaries, the two Massachusetts politicians worked together on the state’s universal health care law when Romney was governor. The current GOP presidential candidate praised Kennedy and his assistance in the bill’s signing ceremony in 2006.
Kennedy died in 2009 before Obama’s signature health care measure — which the longtime Massachusetts Senator called “the cause of my life” at the 2008 convention — was signed into law.