Ted Kennedy Remembered on Day of Health Care Bill Signing

President Barack Obama (AP, file) AP

Barack Obama

Before signing his landmark health care legislation today, President Obama took a moment to remember the late Sen. Ted Kenney (D-Mass.), a lifelong champion for universal health care.

"He was confident that we would do the right thing," the president said.

And so, after signing the comprehensive health care overhaul, Mr. Obama gave Kennedy's widow, Vicki Kennedy, one of the pens with which he signed the historic legislation.

In all, Mr. Obama used 22 pens to sign the bill into law. It is standard procedure for the president to use multiple pens for such legislation and give them as keepsakes to the people he wants to thank.

Two of the pens used today will go to the National Archives. Besides Kennedy and Mr. Obama himself, those who received a pen include: Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Max Baucus, Tom Harkin and Chris Dodd; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Reps. Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn, George Miller, Henry Waxman, Sander Levin, John Dingell and Charles Rangell; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; director of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle; the president's legislative affairs assistant Phil Schiliro; and Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association.

The president also showed special thanks to the late Ted Kennedy by wearing a blue "Tedstrong" bracelet (visible in the picture above), similar to cyclist Lance Armstrong's yellow "LiveStrong" bracelets, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs noted on Twitter.

On Monday morning, Kennedy's youngest son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), visited his father's gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery and left a hand-written note that read: "Dad, the unfinished business is done," the Washington Post reports.


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