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Bill Richardson: Kennedy 'gladiator for the poor'

Bill Richardson: Kennedy 'gladiator for the poor'

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson paid tribute to Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, calling his death Wednesday "a great tragedy not just for Americans but for the world because he was a great humanitarian."
Kennedy, Richardson said, "was probably the most effective senator in history," citing Kennedy's advocacy, among other things, of civil rights, immigration rights and health care reform.
"He was a gladiator for the poor and for those who have been left behind," Richardson said. "He felt it was his responsibility to stand up for those who are left behind."
Richardson recalled that Kennedy made a campaign appearance during Richardson's first run for Congress in 1982 and said that it "cemented my victory."
"He was a giant and a mentor to me," the governor and former U.N. ambassador said.
"It's not that he's going to be hard to replace _ that's out. He won't be able to be replaced."
Richardson is in Cuba on a five-day agricultural trade and cultural mission.
Kennedy died late Tuesday night after a struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.