I suppose it's a measure of how much Ted has been a part of our national life that, although this news was in some ways completely expected, it has really shaken me.
Edward Kennedy was never perfect - he had flaws, pettiness, he made terrible mistakes and I'm sure that there is much in his life that he would have changed if he had the chance. He was, in short, as human as any of us.
But he was a tireless advocate for the people who needed his help the most, a genius of the political system, a public servant in the most honorable tradition, and a survivor.
If it were anyone else I would refrain from adding the last part, but since we are talking about the nation's proudest Democrat and the Senate's most assiduous deal-maker, I'm sure he would himself have wanted me to add: that his passing leaves us one vote down on Health Insurance Reform. Passion for this cause was the driving force of his life, and it would be a cruel blow if his loss were to cost Americans the opportunity to finally achieve his dream.
RIP Teddy, we'll keep working for you.