May 20th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Colleagues react to Kennedy

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Bush and several of Sen. Ted Kennedy's colleagues on Capitol Hill are expressing support for the Massachusetts Democrat following the news doctors have found a malignant tumor in his brain.

Bush said Kennedy is a man of "tremendous courage."

"Ted Kennedy is a man of tremendous courage, remarkable strength, and powerful spirit," he said. "Our thoughts are with Senator Kennedy and his family during this difficult period. We join our fellow Americans in praying for his full recovery."

All three White House hopefuls praised Kennedy, calling him a Senate icon. Sen. Barack Obama, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president, told CNN that the news about Kennedy is "heartbreaking."

"I would not be sitting here as a presidential candidate were it not for some of the battles he fought as a senator - he battled for voting rights and civil rights when I was a child. I stand on his shoulders," Obama said. (Related video: Watch Sen. Obama discuss Kennedy.)

Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying, "Ted Kennedy's courage and resolve are unmatched, and they have made him one of the greatest legislators in Senate history. Our thoughts are with him and Vicki and we are praying for a quick and full recovery." (Related video: Watch Sen. Clinton on Kennedy.)

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who is the GOP's presumptive nominee for president, said: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to him. We hope and pray that they will be able to treat it and that he will experience a full recovery."

Speaking in Florida aboard his campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express, he added: "I have described Ted Kennedy as the last lion in the Senate. And I have held that view because he remains the single most effective member of the Senate." (Related video: Watch Sen. McCain on Kennedy.)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "The thoughts and prayers of the entire Senate family are with Ted and the Kennedy family. We are not sure when he will return to the Senate, but we all look forward to his recovery. Millions of Americans have benefited from the work of Ted Kennedy, and I know he’s not done yet.” (Related video: Watch Sens. Reid, Dodd, and Kerry on Kennedy.)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Kennedy a "fighter."

"I know that that fighting spirit will hold him in good stead in the challenge that he faces now," she told reporters. "I know I speak for all of my colleagues when I say that our prayers and thoughts and good wishes are with Senator Kennedy, with his wife Vicky, with our colleague Patrick, his son, and with the entire Kennedy family."  (Related video: Watch Pelosi react to Kennedy's diagnosis)

Sen. Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, another close friend of Kennedy, spoke quietly on his cell phone just outside the lunch where Senate Democrats learned of the news. He looked emotional when he hung up and told a reporter, "I can't say anything."

He later released a statement saying, "Ted Kennedy has spent his life caring for those in need. Now it's time for those who love Ted and his family to care for them and join in prayer to give them strength."

Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat, predicted if anyone could overcome the illness, Kennedy would. "Look what he's been through in his life," he said.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg said, "Ted Kennedy makes the Senate the place that it is, and has for so many years."

Sen. Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, described Kennedy as a "personal mentor" and said: "Senator Kennedy approaches every obstacle with tremendous courage, poise and resolve. And I know his tremendous heart and spirit will prevail now."

Related video: Watch Sen. Mitch McConnell discuss Sen. Kennedy

Related video: Sen. Specter: Kennedy diagnosis 'devastating news'

Related video: Watch Sens. Durbin, Warner, Specter, and Leahy on Kennedy

Related video: Sen. Byrd: 'distraught and shaken' by Kennedy diagnosis

Related video: Watch Sen. Kerry on Kennedy


Filed under: Ted Kennedy
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. April in Texas

    Its not just colleagues but many americans in the world. My thoughts and prayers are with the family during this time. The Kennedy family has had many tragedies and I know once again they will get through this with style and grace.. Good thoughts are with you.

    May 20, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. H-ROD

    MY HEART GOES OUT TO THE KENNEDY FAMILY !

    May 20, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Marie in California

    Sorry about Teddy.....he is the last of the Kennedys. Should he not survive his cancer, it will be the end of a dynasty.

    May 20, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. Vancouver, BC

    As a Canadian who grieved the lose of two great Americans, I send my thoughts and prayers for this great man who stood by and for his countrymen. You are truly a great man and are admired beyond your borders.

    May 20, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Veteran Voter

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Kennedy and his family.

    May 20, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. Jim

    Although I loath this individual and what he stands for, I wish this illness on no one. My prayers for a quick recovery go out to Senator Kennedy and his family.

    May 20, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. We Love You Ted

    I love the Kennedys. They have been a great inspiration to America. We are praying for you Ted.

    God speed.

    May 20, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. sophia nyc

    Get well, Senator. This news is devastating.

    We Americans must be reminded that McCain is the same age. As heartbreaking as this is, it would have been made worse if this had been our President.

    May 20, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Independent99999

    Obama should cancel his IOWA rally and visit Kennedy today

    May 20, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. James

    Please get better. God be with you.

    May 20, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Ray jay

    Remember Pat Kennedy is elected and has been for some time. There are others from the clan that are electedv and making the Kennedy name live with the next generation.
    I'm from Canada and I know meny here in the north have great feelings for the Kennedy's They respect us and stand up for us and now we stand up for him

    May 20, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. Shane

    BEST WISHES AND HE IS IN MY PRAYERS FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY. I WENT TO SENATOR TED KENNEDY'S HOME PAGE AND YOU CAN SEND GREETINGS

    May 20, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Get Real

    Peace be with you Senator Kennedy!

    May 20, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Michael

    Get well Teddy we are praying for you. Can't wait to hear that you are up and fighting the good fight!!!

    May 20, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. Ding, Washington, DC

    My heart goes to Senator Kennedy and his family. I wish you all the best of luck. God bless

    May 20, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. white female

    My Prayers and thoughts for this great, great, man who has been our ROCK for so many years, to his Family for all their blood, sweat, and tears that they have given for us and this country will be bless through all our prayers and the mighty hands of God to let us share a bit more time with him in the coming future.
    Teddy from my house to yours, may God bless you with a speedy recovery we will be praying for you. You will DANCE AT SEN. OBAMA'S BALL IN 2009 AND THAT'S A FACT THAT WILL BE YOUR REWARD FROM GOD.....FOR ALL YOU HAVE DONE FOR US IN THIS COUNTRY.
    "remember Man gives out AWARDS and God gives REWARDS.
    MAY gOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

    May 20, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  17. Susan

    I join my fellow Americans in sending positive thoughts and prayers to Mr. Kennedy.

    May 20, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. JC

    Speaking in Florida aboard his campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express, he added: "I have described Ted Kennedy as the last lion in the Senate. And I have held that view because he remains the single most effective member of the Senate."

    Senator McCain is 100% right about Senator Kennedy being the most effective member of the Senate. That is because he loves our country more than anything and is willing to work across party lines. The most recent example is the Immigration Reform Bill, which he collaborated with Senator McCain, for which McCain got whipped last year.

    May 20, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. Obama/Kennedy

    My prayer are with the kennedy and his family. Kenendy is true American Hero who has done much more of his share to this country. I wish him get well very soon with the grace of God.

    May 20, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. independent

    My thoughts and prayers are with Senator Kennedy and his family.
    God will heal you ok
    God bless

    May 20, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Carolina Girl

    Our prayer go out to Ted Kennedy and his family as well as our
    wishes for a swift recovery.

    I figured he had something wrong with his brain to endorse Obama— especially when he's lacking so much in talent and experience.
    We don't need another "earn-while-you-learn President" back to back.

    It 's obvious that Hillary is the better candidate, and ready to handle this red-hot world we live it. Go Hillary

    May 20, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Tim from Ohio

    We love you Senator Kennedy!

    Tim from Ohio

    May 20, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. The Truth

    My thoughts are with the Kennedy family. He is a good man most of the time.

    But now here is the news:

    The states Hillary has won total 300 electoral votes. If we, Democrats, had the same rules as the Republicans, she would be nominee right now.

    However Democrats have different rules, so what we've got to figure out is who can win 270 electoral votes. Obombus has won states totaling 217 electoral. Do the MATH.

    Go HILLARY - 2008

    May 20, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Susan

    It is nice to see them unite to wish the Senator wel.. Our prayers are with the Senator.

    May 20, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. BillJ

    Hope you get well.

    May 20, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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