Republican Senator: Ted Kennedy ‘Set a Wonderful Example for Us’

By Staff | July 9, 2015 | 2:56pm EDT
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.) and Rep. John Boehner (R.-Ohio) stand behind President Bush as he signs the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002. (White House photo)

( - Sen. Lamar Alexander (R.-Tenn.) said on the Senate floor on Wednesday that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass) set a wonderful example for other senators.

“He set a wonderful example for us, and it is nice to be reminded of him,” said Sen. Alexander.

Alexander’s remarks came while the Senate was discussing his proposal to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act that imposes federal regulations and sends federal money to local public schools. The initial No Child Left Behind Act was co-sponsored by Kennedy and Rep. John Boehner (R.-Ohio) and signed into law in 2002 by President George W. Bush.

During Wednesday’s debate on the No Child Left Behind Act--while discussing whether the law should be amended to require local public schools to do a criminal background check on applicants for teaching jobs--Sen. Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.) recalled that Sen. Kennedy had once been placed on the terrorist No-Fly List:

“It wasn’t that many years ago, our colleagues may remember, that our colleague Senator Ted Kennedy ended up on a no-fly list. He kept saying: Why am I on a no-fly list? It was a mistake. It was a government mistake that identified him as a danger to the country. Mistakes can be made. There needs to be a due process requirement in here so those accused of something that they are not guilty of have a chance to have their day to tell their story as best they can.”

Following on this, Sen. Alexander recalled what “a wonderful example” Sen. Kennedy had been:

“I thank the Senator from Illinois for his remarks. I was thinking, as he was talking about Senator Kennedy, whom we all loved, I think the mistake was that he was on a Republican no-fly list. That was the mistake. But he loved telling that story and enjoyed it very much. It is nice to be reminded of him today because he was chairman of this committee that is producing the fix for No Child Left Behind.

"He would make, in my view, the most outrageous liberal speeches from the back of the Senate, and then he would come to the front of the Senate and would work out a good bipartisan agreement and get a good piece of legislation. He set a wonderful example for us, and it is nice to be reminded of him.

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