(CNN) - Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy didn't wear his faith on his sleeve, but those close to him say Catholicism was much more than an ethnic and cultural identity.
Kennedy's family chose Boston's Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, also known as the Mission Church, for his funeral Mass on Saturday. The church held a special significance for the senator because he prayed there every day when his daughter, Kara, was diagnosed with cancer.
Kennedy died Tuesday night after a 15-month battle with brain cancer. He was 77, and had represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 1962.
The Rev. Gerry Creedon, a priest at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church near Washington, counseled Kennedy for more than 30 years. He was chosen to deliver the opening prayer at Friday night's "Celebration of Life" memorial service.
(CNN) - Former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is running as a more conservative alternative to Charlie Crist in the state's Republican Senate primary race, called the governor's appointment of George LeMieux to the U.S. Senate "disappointing."
"This is a disappointing pick for Florida," Rubio said in a statement e-mailed to CNN Friday. "George LeMieux is a talented political operative and the governor's best friend, but that doesn't make him the right choice to represent Florida in the Senate."
"Governor Crist had a wealth of consistent and principled conservative candidates to choose from, all of whom would have been a reliable check and balance on the excesses of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda," he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist tapped Friday one of his former aides, George LeMieux, to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.
LeMieux - like Crist and Martinez - is a Republican. He will serve out the remainder of Martinez's term, which expires in January 2011.
Martinez released a statement calling LeMieux a "bright, capable, and an accomplished administrator" and promised "a smooth transition."
Florida Democrats immediately blasted the pick, arguing in a statement that LeMieux's "only qualification is being Charlie Crist's crony."
"Today, Charlie Crist decided to play political games with the public's trust by appointing George LeMieux to the U.S. Senate," said Karen Thurman, chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - They're angry and not going to take it anymore. And now they are doing something about it – again.
On Friday, the "Tea Party Express" group will travel cross-country on a bus tour starting in Sacramento, California and winding down in Washington, D.C. on September 12.
It's at that point, the group notes, that a three-day march on the nation's capitol will take place to protest the country's rising deficit and fear over taxes being raised.
The tea party movement gained momentum this year as several parties were held across the country this summer to protest President Obama and the Democrats' economic stimulus plans, among other things.
On July 4, nearly 2,000 advocates - toting signs and chanting slogans - rallied outside Congress. Activists said the TEA Party Day - an acronym for "Taxed Enough Already" - was in response to what they called runaway government spending.
But now, the focus is namely on health care reform – a key issue that has created the spark for a bigger, wide-encompassing debate throughout the country and in Congress.
"What brought everything together was the Obama-care idea, which contains every odiferous objection," Tea Party Express organizer Mark Williams said Friday. "Is it health care? [Ted] Kennedy care?"
(CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has chosen George LeMieux to replace Sen. Mel Martinez, Florida GOP sources tell CNN.
LeMieux is a former Crist aide.
(CNN) - One year before the day of his death, an ailing Sen. Ted Kennedy electrified a crowd of thousands at the Democratic National Convention.
"There is a new wave of change all around us, and if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination - not merely victory for our party, but renewal for our nation," Kennedy said on August 25, 2008.
"And this November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans, so with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause."
(CNN) - The special election to fill Massachusetts' vacant Senate seat will be held on either January 19 or January 26, the Massachusetts secretary of state confirms.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will make the final decision on the exact date.
If a primary is needed that would be held either December 8 if the earlier general election date is chosen or December 15 if the latter one is chosen.
Massachusetts law currently states the special election has to be held between 145 and 160 days after a seat is vacated. Galvin gave his proposal to the governor's office Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Republican congresswoman apologized Thursday for saying that her party is looking for a "great white hope" to counteract President Obama's political agenda.
Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins told the Lawrence Journal-World that she did not intend to make a racist comment, and was simply saying that "Republicans have been suffering in recent years and we need a bright light."
"Obviously I was discussing the future of the Republican Party in response to a question about is there any hope for Republicans," Jenkins said. "I was explaining that there are some bright lights in the House, and I was unaware of any negative connotation. If I offended somebody, obviously I apologize."
Jenkins had been criticized for saying at an August 19 forum in Kansas that the GOP needs "to find the great white hope" to help the party succeed in the future.
"Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope," Jenkins said. "I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington."
The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.
CNN: Ted Kennedy visitation begins at JFK Library
A bell tolled atop Boston's Faneuil Hall on Thursday as the body of Sen. Edward Kennedy passed through the streets, while mourners lined up outside his late brother's presidential library for a chance to say goodbye.
CNN: Analyst: Post-Kennedy health care bill may be more sweeping
For almost 50 years, Sen. Ted Kennedy pushed unsuccessfully for legislation that would reform the health care system and ensure coverage for every American.
CNN: Kennedy takes with him a time and an era
He had a name that rang down through generations. It was a gilded name in politics, but Ted Kennedy's life was an almost impossible kaleidoscope of outstanding public service, astonishing personal failures and the heavy burden of the unfulfilled legacies and promise of three older brothers: Joseph, Jack and Bobby.
CNN: Kennedy was our 'greatest champion,' says gay activist
For writer John Aravosis, Edward "Ted" Kennedy's early support for gay rights was very important to a community that has faced a history steeped in discrimination.
CNN: Reid pushes idea of special appointment for Kennedy seat
As Massachusets politicians ponder whether the Senate seat of Sen. Edward Kennedy will remain vacant until there is a special election, one influential national Democrat is endorsing the idea of an interim appointment.
CNN: Commentary: Obama losing independent voters
Over the course of this summer, President Obama's approval ratings have plummeted among independent voters - the largest and fastest-growing segment of the American electorate.