Reflecting on the legislative achievement her late husband had spent his career pursuing, Vicki Kennedy on Monday expressed gratitude and paid tribute to the work of House Democrats in getting long-elusive health care reform legislation finally passed.
Appearing on CNN's 'John King, USA' (full interview tonight at 7PM ET), the widow of former Sen. Ted Kennedy pointed to the commitment made by President Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi as particularly critical for reform's passage.
"I think that President Obama showed incredible determination and courage and focus when he continued this battle; and Speaker Pelosi to continue to rally the troops and the leaders in the House of Representatives showed incredible determination and focus and courage," Kennedy said. "And I think it is a real tribute to all the members of the House of Representatives as well. I think it is a real tribute to all of them and I am deeply, deeply, grateful, as I think are the American people."
Kennedy echoed a common refrain from her late husband -- a longtime health care reform champion -- in arguing that the public will fully embrace the legislation's passage.
"You know Teddy always said that when we finally pass health care reform and when people understand what's in the bill and what benefits there are for them, they are going to say 'What took you so long?' And I think that's going to happen here," Kennedy said.
CNN's report also notes:
As the House was debating the controversial health care bill Sunday, Vicki Kennedy visited Arlington National Cemetery where she said she "spent some time" with her husband. Arlington is the final resting place for Sen. Edward Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who made health care reform his passion and lifelong goal.
"I thought yesterday was an important day to be there, because I had hope and confidence and certainly, you know, wish that the bill would pass," she said in an exclusive interview with CNN's John King.
Kennedy also explained what she told members of Congress who were making up their minds about how to vote on the bill. "You know no piece of legislation is perfect. But it's so important to make the progress, get -- get the ball rolling. Teddy always talked about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. And those are the kind of conversations I had."
Here are two clips from the interview airing tonight at 7PM ET: