Reid and Kennedy Praise Kerry
Here's what they had to say:
Senator Harry Reid
"I have had the good fortune in my lifetime, my adult life, to see people for whom I have developed a tremendous respect and admiration, and certainly one of those people is John Kerry. Why? Why would I say that about John Kerry? Why would I say that as I have traveled through life he is one of those people who has meant so much to me in being a role model for the things that I do and the things that I think the American people should focus on?
"We all looked at him with admiration. John Kerry has had a Silver Star, multiple Purple Hearts -- I repeat, multiple awards for bravery. He is a political activist, someone who at great sacrifice decided to do gallant things after his heroic efforts in Vietnam. He came home and continued being a hero politically.
"John Kerry was my nominee for President of the United States. I worked hard for John Kerry. I believed in John Kerry. I believed John Kerry would change the direction of this country and the world. I still believe that. John Kerry came within a few votes of being President of the United States in one of the dirtiest, most negative, unfair campaigns I have ever witnessed. I am not going to go into all the things they did to John Kerry other than to say that to try to take away from this man, his gallantry as a warfighter, was beyond the pale, but they did it.
"John Kerry and I have shared heartache together. We have done it recently. I will always have admiration and respect for John Kerry. The mere fact that he announced he is not running for President speaks well of this gallant man, this heroic man, because he could run for President. He has money in the bank, so to speak. He knows people all over America. He has the best e-mail addresses in the country. He has chosen that this is not the time. But I will continue to look to John Kerry for his leadership in foreign affairs. He is a man who knows this world.
"So I say to John Kerry: I love you, John Kerry. I am so sorry things didn't work out for our country, but that doesn't take away from the fact that I will always care about you greatly and remember the times we have spent together. We have a lot more to do for Massachusetts, Nevada, and the country."
Senator Ted Kennedy
"I know how difficult of a decision this is for Senator Kerry to make. And today, I say to the people of the country how proud all of us in Massachusetts are of John Kerry, and his outstanding service in the United States Senate for our State and for our country. Throughout his career, he has been a true hero in every sense of the word.
"He has been my colleague since 1984, and I have deeply valued the opportunity to work side-by-side with him, but most of all I'm proud to call him my friend. Over the years, Vicki and I have grown so close to John and his wonderful wife Teresa and his loving daughters Vanessa and Alexandra. They are a special family, and their friendship is one we cherish.
"Now John has decided to continue to devote his passion, his interest, and his energies toward bringing our troops home from Iraq safely, and how fortunate they are to know that he will devote all of his energies to that cause over the next months--hopefully not years. All of us in Massachusetts look forward to his continued service in the United States Senate for years to come and to his voice and his vote working here for the working people of Massachusetts, for their jobs, for their health care, for the education of their children, for the betterment of their environment, and for their hope for a better quality of life. He's been there for us in the past on so many of these critical concerns, and we take comfort in knowing he'll be there for all of us in the future as well.
"I know this has been a difficult time for John. I congratulate him on an outstanding presentation this afternoon, and for his courage and determination. I congratulate him for continuing to want to make a very important difference on the overarching and overriding issue of our time, and that is how we can remedy this catastrophic mistake of Iraq and bring our servicemen home safely.
"I'm grateful to be able to call John Kerry my colleague and friend, and look forward to working with him for years to come."