Remembering Kennedy

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.

Audio Transcript:

KATY CLARK: In Washington and around the nation, today was a day to pay tribute to Senator Edward Kennedy. He died last night at the age of 77. President Obama interrupted his vacation in Massachusetts to read a statement. He called Kennedy �the greatest senator of our time.� Kennedy's long political career was full of memorable events. We're going to highlight one of them right now. It was a moment in 2005 when Kennedy sparred on Capitol Hill with then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Kennedy was a forceful opponent of the war in Iraq. And, as this clip shows, he was a vocal critic of Rumsfeld's handling of the conflict.

SENATOR EDWARD KENNEDY: So you basically have mismanaged the war and created an impossible situation for military recruiters and put our forces and our national security in danger. Our troops deserve better, Mr. Secretary. I think the American people deserve better. They deserve competency and they deserve the facts. In baseball, it's three strikes, you're out. What is it for the Secretary of Defense?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Well, that is quite a statement. First, let me say there isn't a person at this table who agrees with you that we're in a quagmire and that there's no end in sight. The presentations today have been very clear. They have been very forthright.

SENATOR KENNEDY: Mr. Secretary, I'm talking about the misjudgments and the mistakes that were made, the series which I mentioned � disarming of the Iraqi army -- those were judgments

that were made. And there have been a series of gross errors and mistakes. Those were on your watch. Those were on your watch. Isn't it time for you to resign?

SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Senator, I've offered my resignation to the President twice, and he's decided that he would prefer that he not accept it. And that's his call.

CLARK: Rumsfeld did resign as Secretary of Defense, in December of 2006. Later in the program, we'll hear about another chapter in Senator Kennedy's career � when he spearheaded legislation to impose economic sanctions on South Africa's apartheid regime.