How cozy. Former Democratic operative turned television news host George Stephanopoulos used his ABC News platform on Sunday to celebrate, with Vicki Reggie Kennedy, ObamaCare’s Supreme Court victory. Stephanopoulos excitedly plugged his “special exclusive guest” on This Week, announcing: “We begin with something special. The first reaction on the ruling from Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Senator Ted Kennedy who fought for universal health care...”
A giddy Stephanopoulos conveyed how he’s vicariously living in the glory of the liberal triumph: “I can only imagine what it must have been like for you, at the moment you heard that the Supreme Court had decided.”
A wide-eyed and smiling Stephanopoulos cued up Reggie to recall a moment only a liberal would appreciate: “Right after the decision, you received a call from Speaker Pelosi saying Teddy can rest.”
Audio: MP3 clip
Stephanopoulos soon read from a letter Ted Kennedy sent to President Obama predicting ObamaCare would win passage, but Stephanopoulos fretted “he did also refer to the continuing struggles,” prompting his guest: “What do you see as the biggest struggle going forward?”
From the top of the July 1 This Week on ABC, with Stephanopoulos hosting the “Washington” show in New York while Reggie appeared from a DC studio:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We begin with something special. The first reaction on the ruling from Vicki Kennedy, the widow of Senator Ted Kennedy who fought for universal health care throughout a Senate career that spanned almost half a century. A commitment captured in his final convention speech.
SENATOR TED KENNEDY, AUGUST 25, 2008: This is the cause of my life. New hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American -- north, south, east, west, young, old -- will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege!
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Vicki Kennedy joins us now. Thank you so much for coming in this morning.
VICKI KENNEDY: Thank you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I can only imagine what it must have been like for you, at the moment you heard that the Supreme Court had decided.
VICTORIA REGGIE: You know, George, as you just heard in that wonderful clip, this health care reform was the cause of my husband's life. He believed that it was a moral issue, that it defined the character of who we were as a society, who we were as a country, and that decent quality, affordable health care should be a fundamental right and not a privilege. And now all three branches of our federal government have affirmed that right and I think if Teddy were here, he would tell us now it’s time to roll up out sleeves, get to work, fully implement the law and move on with the business of our country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I do want to get to that, but I imagine that Senator Kennedy would have been surprised, like so many were, by the fact that the deciding vote was cast by Chief Justice Roberts.
REGGIE: You know, I don't think he would have. I think he felt very strongly in health care reform. He had studied this issue for more than 40 years. He believed in it. He believed in its constitutionality. He had looked at it in every way. I think he would have been pleased, but not surprised.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Right after the decision, you received a call from Speaker Pelosi saying Teddy can rest.
REGGIE: Yes, yes, it was a lovely, lovely call. She fought valiantly for health care. She led the House of Representatives beautifully in fighting and championing health care for all Americans. She really was a real, real heroine in this battle.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You mentioned how the Senator would be looking to the struggles ahead. I want to read a little bit of letter he wrote to President Obama shortly before he died where he gets into that. He was quite optimistic. Here’s what he said, he said: “I came to believe that soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all, and while I will not see the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will – yes, we will – fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and not a privilege.” But he did also refer to the continuing struggles. What do you see as the biggest struggle going forward?