“Ted Kennedy thought this moment would come, though by this spring he did not expect to see it. In May he wrote to President Obama that he was ‘confident …that while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the president who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated. It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of victory sustained me-and the work of achieving it summoned my energy and determination.’ Kennedy influenced Obama’s growing commitment to health care—an issue that was more Hillary Clinton’s in the 2008 primaries. He did it in private, talking the issue up before making his critical endorsement, and again and again on the stump and at the Democratic convention, when he said “this is the cause of my lifemdash;new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American—north, south, east, west, young, old—will have decent quality health care as a fundamental right and not as a privilege.’”
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