TOPICS > Politics

Kennedy’s Cadence Ran in the Family

August 26, 2009 at 6:45 PM EDT
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Judy Woodruff explores the legendary Kennedy cadence that made the family so famous and persuasive.
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TRANSCRIPT

JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, remembering the Kennedy cadence.

Whether it was President John F. Kennedy delivering his inaugural in 1961…

JOHN F. Kennedy, former president of the United States: We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

JUDY WOODRUFF: … or Senator Robert F. Kennedy announcing his candidacy for the presidency in 1968…

SEN. ROBERT F. KENNEDY, D-N.Y.: I run to seek new policies, policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in our cities, policies to close the gaps that now exist between black and white, between rich and poor, between young and old in this country and around the rest of the world.

JUDY WOODRUFF: … Ted Kennedy shared with his siblings an unmistakable voice…

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, D-Mass.: There are questions not yet asked waiting for us in the recesses of the future.

JUDY WOODRUFF: … a cadence rooted in New England that was used to inspire his supporters at the 1980 Democratic Party convention…

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY: There will be setbacks and sacrifices in the years ahead, but I am convinced that we as a people are ready to give something back to our country in return for all it has given to us.

JUDY WOODRUFF: … a cadence that often enraged his political opponents and sometimes addressed the personal demons he battled.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY: I recognize my own shortcomings, the faults in the conduct of my private life. I realize that I alone am responsible for them and I am the one who must confront them.

JUDY WOODRUFF: One family friend and adviser today argued that what the Kennedys said was more important than the way in which they said it.

Ted Sorensen was President Kennedy’s special counsel, wrote speeches for Ted Kennedy, and advised all three Kennedy brothers.

TED SORENSON, former Kennedy speechwriter: I think they’ve lost one of the powerful, eloquent voices of our time, an articulate and eloquent voice for justice, for peace, for understanding, and that voice will be sorely missed, because there’s no one else who quite has that same standing.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY: And this November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans. So with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on.