Good Morning America on Friday continued to demonstrate a fascination with the Kennedy family, highlighting Ted Kennedy and his "critical" role as a "politician and a leader." Co-host George Stephanopoulos introduced the piece by recycling, "They called Ted Kennedy the lion of the Senate."
Correspondent Claire Shipman caught up with Vicki Kennedy and recapped the current status of the famous family. Speaking of the late senator, the reporter enthused, "He was obviously so critical as a politician and a leader in our country. He was also a leader of the Kennedy family for so many decades."
The stated purpose of the piece was to note the groundbreaking of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston. But Shipman also tossed political softballs to the Senator's widow: "And what would the Senate lion have made of today's shutdown threats?"
GMA has repeatedly shown a fascination with the Democratic family. On February 15, 2010 the program celebrated an adulterous affair John Kennedy had, touting it as a "torrid" "love story" involving "American royalty."
On September 15, 2008, Shipman fawned over the Kennedys as "political royalty."
A transcript of the April 8 segment, which aired at 8:45am EDT, follows:
ABC Graphic: Life After Ted Kennedy: Vicki Kennedy on Husband's Legacy
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: They called Ted Kennedy the lion of the Senate. And for 40 years, that's where the younger brother of Jack and Bobby Kennedy carved out an extraordinary career that left a lasting mark on America. Today, his widow, Victoria, will break ground on the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate. And she spoke first to Claire Shipman about his legacy, their love and how she is living with loss.
CLAIRE SHIPMAN: They go everywhere with Vicki Kennedy, Cappie and Sonny. That's them at our feet. Cappie, a special new addition to the family once the senator became ill
VICKI KENNEDY: He's really a love bug.
SHIPMAN: Cappie is also first dog Bo's littermate and he's become a sort of four-legged talisman, providing some comfort to her in her new life without her husband. He brought him a lot of joy, huh?
KENNEDY: So much joy. So much joy. He brings me a lot of joy.
SHIPMAN: And on the eve of the ground breaking of the Edward M. Kennedy institute in Boston, she's looking forward to another measure of joy in the completion of a vision.
KENNEDY: Working on this institute is fantastic because it is something that was so important to him. But it was also import to me. It's something he and I did together.
SHIPMAN: The institute's mission? Teaching the nuts and bolts of the U.S. Senate.
KENNEDY: We're going to have desks. And at the touch of a finger, you'll know everything about the senator who sat at that desk.
SHIPMAN: He was obviously so critical as a politician and a leader in our country. He was also a leader of the Kennedy family for so many decades. And the glue that held that family- that huge family together. How is the family coping with that big, gaping hole?
KENNEDY: I think it's been hard for all of us. He had those big shoulders that all of us leaned on. It's been a huge adjustment, in all honesty, for all of us. Those are shoes that nobody can fill. You know, we lost Eunice and Teddy within two weeks of each other. We've just lost Sarge Shriver in the last couple months. So, there's, you know, a generation that is missing. We feel that loss very acutely.
SHIPMAN: A poignant family reunion is approaching. Ted Kennedy's son, Patrick, is getting married.
KENNEDY: Everybody is very excited about that.
SHIPMAN: Yes. Have you met her?
KENNEDY: Oh, absolutely. She is the loveliest young woman. So, we're really, really excited about that.
SHIPMAN: What are the moments, now, that are the hardest for you? Still?
KENNEDY: You know, the usual ones that I think anybody who has gone through a loss of a loved one. The big occasions. And sometimes, even the quiet ones. I just think that I was the luckiest- am the luckiest woman on the planet.
KENNEDY: Because I met the love of my life. And he made me so happy. I feel like I was the lucky one. We were so happy.
SHIPMAN: The two of you discussed a number of times, the possibility of you, at some point, running for his Senate seat.
KENNEDY: I think discussed is too strong of a word. No. I want to do work that Teddy did. I want to advance those causes. I don't want his job.
SHIPMAN: And what would the Senate lion have made of today's shutdown threats?
KENNEDY: One of the things that my husband did so well, is he was able to work well with both sides of the aisle. And that he was able to understand- he did understand that you always had to compromise.
TED KENNEDY: The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.
VICKI KENNEDY: He was so much about perseverance. Keep moving forward. Keep talking to people. Sure, there will be storms along the way. But if you keep a true compass and if you persevere, you'll get there. I believe that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What a great story.