Ted Kennedy, says Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, calmed her nerves when she was asked to speak -- as a freshman Democrat -- at the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Later that year, the veteran lawmaker offered advice on getting her signature swimming pool legislation through Congress.
"I was deeply saddened this morning when I learned of the death of Senator Edward Kennedy," she said today. "Americans have lost a giant in public service, someone who was never too big to reach out and lift someone else up."
And outgoing Sen. Mel Martinez, who worked closely with Kennedy on immigration reform, said he was "deeply saddened" by his death.
"Ted was an icon of passionate public service and gave selflessly to our nation," Martinez said. "I came to know him well through our work on immigration reform where he was a tough negotiator, and someone who knew how to reach bipartisan agreement for the good of an issue. He will be remembered as the Lion of the Senate for his voice, his style, his work, and his allegiance to always do what he thought was best for our country. Kitty and I offer our condolences and Senator Kennedy's family is in our thoughts and prayers."