Vicki Kennedy: People Will Never Let Obamacare Be Taken Away

Ted Kennedy's widow talks health care and Edward M. Kennedy Institute

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President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act on March 23, 2010. in Washington. The overview of premiums and plan choices was released Wednesday by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act on March 23, 2010. in Washington. The overview of premiums and plan choices was released Wednesday by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

She's certainly not as boisterous as her late husband, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, but Vicki Kennedy is quietly working to hold up his legacy on Obamacare and beyond.

"I don't strong arm people, it's not my style," she tells Whispers. "But I will do anything I can touting the benefits and continuing to talk about what a difference it makes in the lives of families," she says of the Affordable Care Act, which her husband was instrumental in getting passed.

Kennedy wasn't even threatened by House Republicans latest move, to defund the legislation.

"I think when all the dust settles, people will never let it be taken away and I think you're getting last gasps," she says. "It's been passed by the House, it's been passed by the Senate, it's been signed by the president, it's been affirmed by the Supreme Court, that's all three branches of government."

She talked health care Friday night at the annual Susan G. Komen Honoring the Promise gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Both she and her late husband were honored. "For me this is his award," she gushed. "And it's an award for all the people whose lives are going to be saved because of the research that he helped to make happen."

[READ: Ted Cruz Joins The Defund Obamacare Or Shut Down The Government Crowd]

While she was pumped to get the accolade, she's really geeked out about the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, which is currently being constructed in Boston, adjacent to the JFK Library.

"We have so many presidential libraries where people learn about the presidency, but as Teddy loved to say, 'look, the legislative branch is in Article 1 of the Constitution,'" Kennedy said. "What we're going to have is an interactive, totally cool, place."

The neatest part, according to Kennedy, is that the EMK Institute will contain basically a full-size representation of the Senate chamber, complete with interactive desks. "Each desk is going to have an equivalent of an iPad type computer on it, so that information will be at your fingertips," she explained. "So you'll learn about every senator who sat in that chair."

[MORE: Republicans Risk Shutdown On Obamacare ]

And while Sen. Kennedy will be remembered as the "liberal lion," the Institute's board is bipartisan, with former-Senate Majority Leaders Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Tom Daschle, D-S.D., both serving on it.

"Teddy was a joyous partisan, there's no question about it, but he always reached across the aisle to find common ground," his widow said of the across-the-aisle involvement. "This bears Teddy's name, but it's really about the Senate, the Senate that he loved, that was such a passion of his," she said of the center.

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