MIDDLETOWN, Connecticut (AP) - Filling in for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and tying himself to the family's legacy, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama urged college graduates Sunday to "make us believe again" by dedicating themselves to public service.
"We may disagree as Americans on certain issues and positions, but I believe we can be unified in service to a greater good. I intend to make it a cause of my presidency, and I believe with all my heart that this generation is ready and eager and up to the challenge," Obama told Wesleyan University's Class of 2008.
The Illinois senator peppered his speech with references to the Kennedy legacy: John F. Kennedy urging Americans to ask what they can do for their country, the Peace Corps and Robert Kennedy talking about people creating "ripples of hope."
He devoted special attention and praise to Edward M. Kennedy, the longtime Massachusetts senator who had planned to deliver the graduation address but backed out last week after he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.