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McCain on Kennedy: "The Most Effective Member of the Senate"


From CBS News' John Bentley:

Despite their ideological differences, John McCain and Ted Kennedy spent 22 years as colleagues in the Senate, and the news that Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor greatly concerned the presumptive Republican nominee. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to him," McCain said. "We hope and pray that they will be able to treat it and that he will experience a full recovery."

Calling him "the single most effective member of the Senate," McCain recalled that the two had worked on numerous pieces of legislation over the years, from campaign finance reform to defense issues. "He is not reluctant to share the credit. And when he fails, he is willing to take the blame," McCain said. "That's why he is one of the most effective members of the Senate and we will miss him for that and many other reasons."

McCain has endured the wrath of his party over the years for working with Kennedy. Several conservative organizations have criticized McCain for sponsoring bills with Kennedy, who is viewed by those organizations as the very embodiment of the liberal orthodoxies they reject. And while he and McCain disagree on several political points as well, one of the qualities most admired about Kennedy was his ability to get along with all members of the Senate. "He has the time, the patience, and the talent to argue his case, and sometimes not so quietly," McCain said. "You can have a very vigorous exchange, and two minutes later he'll be slapping you on the back."