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Team Obama Turns to the Web for Solace

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
MARTHA'S VINEYARD, Mass. -- As a heartbroken President Obama eulogizes Senator Edward Kennedy, he notes what some aides describe as "the gift" of the veteran Democrat's endorsement in the heat of last year's campaign.

In a statement released shortly after Kennedy's death, Mr. Obama said, "I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the presidency."

Today the You Tube video of that moment is "going viral" among some members of the Obama team. A White House staffer who worked on the campaign from the start told CBS News many veterans of the Obama '08 effort have been e-mailing each other to remember Senator Kennedy by looking at the video of the turning point moment in the campaign. Special Report: Ted Kennedy

They're clicking on the boisterous January 28, 2008, political rally that shows Kennedy's famous bellowing voice proclaiming, "I feel change in the air!"

With candidate Obama at his side, Kennedy said, "With Barack Obama we will close the book on the old politics of race against race, gender against gender, ethnic group against ethnic group, and straight against gay."

It was a key political point shortly after Mr. Obama won the South Carolina primary. Declaring that "it is time for a new generation of leadership," Kennedy in effect put his family's mantle on Barack Obama.

On that cold January day he revived the torch is passed theme from President John F. Kennedy's 1961 inaugural address. Kennedy told the crowd at American University, "I believe in the bright light of hope and possibility. I always have, even in the darkest hours. I know what America can achieve. I've seen it. I've lived it -- and with Barack Obama, we can do it again."

Today as the flag was lowered to half staff at clapboard fire halls and other buildings on Martha's Vineyard, an Obama aide remembered the "psychological boost" of the Kennedy endorsement. The official said it was a "high five moment" at a very difficult time in the primary battle.

At last summer's Democratic National convention, an already seriously ill Kennedy fired up the party again. In what will be remembered as his last major political appearance he declared, "The hope rises again and the dream lives on!" (You can watch the video of that appearance here)

Read more on the life and death of Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy:

Obituary: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy Dies at 77
Arrangements for Kennedy Funeral Announced
Quotes: Tributes to Kennedy
Kennedy Memoir Set for Release Next Month
Flags to Fly at Half-Staff for Kennedy
Mass. Gov Supports Quick Replacement for Kennedy
In His Own Words
Life in the Public's Glare
Brothers "Would Have been Proud"
In Pictures: The Kennedys
Washington Unplugged: Bob Schieffer and Tom Oliphant Remember Kennedy
CBS News Special Tonight at 8 p.m. ET: "The Last Brother" Special Report: Ted Kennedy

Peter Maer is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.
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