May 20th, 2008
01:40 PM ET
13 years ago

'Stunned silence' in the Capitol


(CNN) - Senate Democrats and Republicans were in their weekly closed policy lunches in the Capitol when the news broke about Sen. Ted Kennedy. Majority Leader Reid announced the news to his Democratic colleagues. The wind was taken out of the room, said one senator. There was “stunned silence,” said another.

Capitol police officers and Senate staffers gathered around TVs just off the Senate floor and watched the breaking news on CNN.

Kennedy friend Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, arrived late and entered a back door to the lunch. He looked drained. He declined to comment about the news except to nod yes when asked if he had spoken to Kennedy’s family.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Iillinois another close friend, spoke quietly on his cell phone just outside the lunch. He looked emotional when he hung up and told a reporter, "I can’t say anything,” as he returned to the lunch.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, predicted if anyone could overcome the illness Kennedy would. “Look what he’s been through in his life,“ Conrad said.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg D-New Jersey, said “Ted Kennedy makes the Senate the place that it is and has for so many years.”

Filed under: Ted Kennedy
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Damian Salter

    Sad news.. but he's not dead.
    He's an old boy, 'Stunned silence' , is a little melodramatic.

    I wish him well.

    May 20, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. Ted

    Senator Ted Kennedy, just like his beloved brothers and family, is highly respected and admired around the world. Our prayers and thoughts are with you, Senator. May God provide you with quick recovery. We want to see you back in the Senate chambers very soon.

    May 20, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. ronald bernard

    he is a fighter and im sure will be with us for a long time may the entire countries paryer and will wishes be there to help give him the strenght to deal with this and may the godes above watch ever him and give aid and comfort to him and his wife and family

    time to put a candel in the window to watch over him in this his hour of need god bless him

    May 20, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Go Obama 08/12

    Ted Kennedy Family and extended family .
    It is with Hope ,Yes We Can ,you have been a fighter for us all these years now with all our thoughts and prayers we will have you back in the Senate soon.

    Feel like an extended member though never met you I am 78 years.

    May 20, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. God Bless!

    Having had the HONOR to have shaken the hands of both your brothers JOHN (Fort Brag, N.C.) and ROBERT (N.Y.C.) I extend my hand to you in prayer that you´ll soon recover. All the best to you and family.

    May 20, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. VJmem

    May the family have the faith and strength needed to endure this process. God be with you.

    May 20, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. junebug

    Wishing you well Teddy.

    May 20, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. William Courtland North43ºWest93º

    Cancer doesn't just happen; it has an environmental cause(s) which results in the specific cellular mutation or disorganization.

    To cure Cancer: society must investigate and mark these causes then prevent them from entering the biosphere in the future.

    In the case of many cancers found throughout the body I blame the the catalyst used for mental inception. We can not remove the cause unless we can find it, and cancers can stem from many locations; one benefit of public health care would be a public data bank for patient history and thus greater probability of root cause diagnosis. A constitutional amendment is required to enact federal healthcare.

    As for cancers themselves: the cause remarks upon the type, and the type will respond differently to different treatments.

    America's best doctors should be volunteering to aide of the recovery of the Senator.

    May 20, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. George Ebong

    Get well soon Senator Ted Kennedy. We will be praying for you. I am not an American but I have learned a lot from you. God bless you.

    May 20, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Oregon

    I am deeply saddened by this news, but am confident in Ted's courage & strength to pull through. This man has been an absolutely remarkable public servant to our country...he deserves our utmost respect and appreciation for his tireless fight for all of us over the years!

    Get well soon, Senator...this country needs your leadership now more than ever.

    May 20, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. A CANUCK

    Ted Kennedy is tough and has his faith and family to give him support . Our thoughts and prayers are also with him.

    May 20, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. Stephen from TN

    God bless you Teddy....We will continue your fight.

    May 20, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. hrao

    May be there is some cure that is available for this type of cancer. Good luck

    May 20, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. Mike Smith

    Shame on elements of the GOP that made Kennedy into a bogeyman. Get used to it America, liberal is not a bad word. I hope these people are feeling guilty.

    May 20, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. ???

    I don't care who you are or what your political beliefs are, cancer is very scary and this man and anyone with this atrocious disease needs our help.

    May 20, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. LLC

    God's Sped. I will always wished you didn;t endorse Obama but I do understand why. I never knew life in politics without you but after John Jr terrible death,,,the Family had you to rely on. Thank-you

    May 20, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Nouri Akli

    Mr. Ted Kennedy ROCKS! He has and will still work tirelessly for the people in this country. He is a good guy among snakes.

    May 20, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. yvonne kelly

    senator kennedy i pray that god will heal you in accordance to his will. with him all things are possible

    May 20, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  19. Independant

    Can't wait for the day when he kicks it. Drunk.

    May 20, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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