Sen. Kennedy ‘frustrated’ by absence from DC

By ERIC TUCKER
Associated Press Writer
Friday, Aug 21, 2009

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rep. Patrick Kennedy said Friday that his father, Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, has been “very frustrated” to be absent from Washington during the debate over health care reform.

Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat, told The Associated Press that his father, who has made health care a core issue during his 47 years in the Senate, has a unique ability to read his colleagues and negotiate compromises.

“Every other senator in that Senate knows that there have been very few senators like Ted Kennedy over the years that can bring both sides together and hammer out a deal that can then go to the president,” said the younger Kennedy, who called his father a “master legislator” and statesman.

Patrick Kennedy plans his own town hall meeting on Sept. 3. He said critics of the reform have blatantly misrepresented facts, causing confusion and unnecessary concern that people would be forced to change their health plan even if they like it. If the health care overhaul fails, he warned, Americans would be left with an unmanageble system.

“It’s very hard to have any logical and honest debate when you’re trying to discuss an issue in which two people are coming at it from a totally different set of suppositions,” he said.

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