U.S. President Barack Obama paid tribute Tuesday to the late U.S. Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy, as he prepared to sign health care reform into law.
During the ceremony at the White House, the president acknowledged Kennedy for his decades-long commitment to health care reform. He recognized the late senator's wife, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and son, Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who were in the audience and joined the president up front as the bill was signed.
During Tuesday's ceremony, Patrick Kennedy gave the president a copy of the national health care bill Edward Kennedy introduced in 1970 and on which Patrick had written a personal message.
The White House says at the signing ceremony, Mr. Obama wore a blue bracelet that honored the late senator and was given to him by Victoria Kennedy earlier in the day.
Senator Kennedy had made universal health care his signature issue and attempted several times to move legislation on the issue.
He had served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, until his health forced him to step aside last year. He continued to work on health care reform from his Massachusetts home.
Kennedy died last year from brain cancer.