CHARLOTTE -- Democrats turned to liberal icon Edward Kennedy, who has been dead for three years, to skewer Mitt Romney tonight.
As part of a video tribute to the senator, clips from a Kennedy-Romney debate during the 1994 U.S. Senate race were shown on screen to remind the Democratic faithful that Romney has changed his views on abortion. Kennedy defeated Romney by 17 points in that race.
"I am pro-choice. My opponent is multiple choice," Kennedy said then. The crowd inside the Time Warner Cable Arena roared with approval.
Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted:
Classless Dems use tribute video of deceased Ted Kennedy to attack Mitt Romney.
The Kennedy video, complete with some of the senator's noted oratory and snippets from his well-timed endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008, was a highlight on the convention's opening night. President Obama will close the convention Thursday with his speech accepting the nomination for a second term.
Joseph Kennedy III, a nephew of the senator who died in 2009, introduced the tribute video with a recap of his uncle's work in the Senate -- mentioning the steps he took to help bring an end to apartheid, peace to Northern Ireland and health care for all Americans. The younger Kennedy is running for the Massachusetts congressional seat now held by Democratic Rep. Barney Frank, who is retiring.
It was at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, where Obama was first nominated, that Edward Kennedy exhorted the party faithful to make his dream of health care for all a reality. That quest officially ended in June, when the Supreme Court ruled the health care law signed by Obama was constitutional.
"This is the cause of my life," Kennedy said four years ago, as the video clip played on the large screens inside the arena here. "New hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American ... will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege."