Kennedy takes with him a time and an era





It was a gilded name in politics, but Ted Kennedy's life was an almost impossible kaleidoscope of outstanding public service, astonishing personal failures and the heavy burden of the unfulfilled legacies and promise of three older brothers: Joseph, Jack and Bobby.

Ted, the youngest of the Kennedys, became the patriarch of the family at 36 when Bobby -- whose 1968 presidential campaign championed the sick, the poor and the elderly -- was assassinated.

He would never be president. The dream of Camelot -- as Jackie Kennedy once described her husband's brief presidency -- was over the night Kennedy conceded the primaries to President Jimmy Carter.

Even before Kennedy's death, colleagues on the right and left mourned his absence in the health care debate. Now they feel it acutely.



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