Many of the early appraisals of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who died overnight, make the point that Kennedy was adept at making alliances and extending courtesies across the aisle and with adversaries. One example can be found in the papers of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, recently opened at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University.
Kennedy was a leader of the opposition to Rehnquist's confirmation as chief justice in 1986, but that did not stop him from wishing Rehnquist well in his battle with thyroid cancer in 2004 and 2005. Soon after Rehnquist's diagnosis was announced, Kenned sent him a handwritten note: "Dear Mr. Chief Justice -- I was saddened to hear about your illness -- I wish you a speedy recovery -- Best Wishes, Ted Kennedy."