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Biden: Kennedy 'Changed The Political Landscape For Almost Half A Century'

Remembering Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), his friend and colleague, Vice President Joe Biden holds back tears. Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Remembering Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), his friend and colleague, Vice President Joe Biden holds back tears.

Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

This morning, Joe Biden was supposed to speak about the Energy Bill. Instead, he remembered his colleague and friend, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA).

"Today we lost a truly remarkable man," he said, fighting back tears. "And to paraphrase Shakespeare, I don't think we shall ever see his like again. But I think the legacy he left is not just in the landmark legislation he passed, but in how he helped people look at themselves and look at one another."

Biden, who became a senator at the age of 29, befriended Kennedy early in his career. When Biden was running for senate, Kennedy campaigned for him in Delaware. They sat next to each other on the senate floor, on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and in caucuses.

"For 36 years, I had the privilege of going to work every day and literally, not figuratively, sitting next to him and being a witness to history every single day the senate was in session," Biden said. "And every important event in my adult life — every single one — he was there. He was there to encourage, to counsel, to be empathetic, to lift up."

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The vice president said he will miss Kennedy's optimism, which he called "infectious."

You could ust see it in the nature of the debate. In his embrace. In the nature of how, every single day, he attacked these problems. And you know, he was never defeatist. He was never petty. He was never small. And in the process of his doing, he made everyone he worked with bigger. Both his adversaries and his allies.

There was, Biden said, a selflessness to Kennedy: "The unique thing about Teddy was it was never about him. It was always about you. It was never about him."