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. Cathy

    All Americans, please keep the Senator and his family in your thoughts and prayers to give them the strength to overcome this tragic news.

    May 20, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    God Bless you Ted I will pray for you and your family!

    May 20, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Ruth Crocker Garland, TX

    My prayers are with Sen. Ted Kennedy and his whole family. This is a terrible blow to someone who has been so caring and protective of his family. Even though John and Robert were real "heroes" in their own right, it has been Ted who has endured and been like a real rock to his family and admirers. He has always displayed a lionlike leadership. Bless you, Sen. Ted Kennedy..........Ruth Crocker, Garland, TX.

    May 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  4. Stacy Clarks

    may GOD be with the Kennedys!!!

    May 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. SEB

    My heart and prayers go out to the Kennedy family. This is truely a sad day. Mr. Kennedy is a fixture in American politics and because of his service, this Country continues to be a global powerhouse.

    May 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Jazzy

    Washington Democrats and Republicans: Pull yourselves together and pray for this Senator who has given so much of himself to out country. Greather is he that is in Senator Kennedy than he that is in the world. God is a healer and He will not withhold any good thing from Senator Kennedy if he puts his trust in God. My prayers and my heart is with the Kennedy family. My family loves and respects all that the Kennedy family has done to make this country a better place to live.

    May 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. AJ

    Although he and I did not see eye to eye on a lot of issues, I recognize what a huge player he has been in Washington.

    This is very sad news. I hope the best for him and his family, and they will be in my prayers.

    May 20, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Patrick Purcell

    Get better Sen. Kennedy, best wishes to you. You are a good man and I hope you get well.

    May 20, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. Tenerife

    My warmest and suncerst wishes to Ted kennedy and Family. Wish a positive and healthy recovery.

    God Bless Ted Kennedy and family.

    May 20, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. Tenerife

    My warmest and sincerst wishes to Ted Kennedy and Family. Wish a positive and healthy recovery.

    God Bless Ted Kennedy and family

    May 20, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. D.Kimbro OHIO

    GOD BLESS YOU Mr. Senator. Thank you for all of your many contributions to our nation. I pray that you will have a speedy recovery and that your family will find comfort.

    May 20, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. beth

    The capitol is stunned as will the rest of the world be, when the news is all over. It is horrible news for Ted Kennedy and I hope that he and his family will get through this healthy and happy. He's a survivor in so many ways and we need him in our government in any capacity he can be. Godspeed on your recovery Uncle Teddy!

    May 20, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. Denise

    God bless him.

    May 20, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Corey

    Clearly this is not a good day. We should all take the time to pray for Senator Kennedy and his family and hope for a recovery. I have always admired him for the work he has done in the U.S. Senate for the past 46 years and he is without a doubt one of the greatest leaders of our country.

    May 20, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. HSNP

    It's very sad. I hope he'll be alright.

    May 20, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. Karen in Cape Cod

    Senator Kennedy is in my thoughts and prayers. I have not always agreed with him on issues, but GREATLY ADMIRE and RESPECT this INCREDIBLE public servant and leader! God Bless him!

    May 20, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. dee

    god bless you Ted all of America is praying for you and the family

    May 20, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. geoff

    A very tragic turn of events for one of the leading political figures of our time. Love him or hate him, this sad news prompts all good Americans to pause and offer a prayer for Sen. Kennedy and his family.

    May 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. pam Eugene OR

    God help him and he is in prayers. This man has done much good for our country.

    May 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. think people

    My prayers goes out to the Senator and his family at this time. He has been a lion in the Senate for the people.

    May 20, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. Will

    Best of luck, Teddy.

    May 20, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Heather

    I hope the seizure was any early warning sign allowing for the most successful of treatment. He has spent his life doing the peoples work and living out the duties that his brothers never had the chance perform. He carries America on his shoulders and in his heart and on his mind. He is a great American and he will fight for his good health as he has fought for others to have access to good health care.

    May 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. H-ROD

    We wish him all the best ! and we pray that he gets better !!!!

    May 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Brigitta

    I am stunned and heart-broken. My thoughts and prayers are with Senator Kennedy and the Kennedy family. I am just saddened to the deepest core of my heart right now. I love Senator Kennedy, he is a man of great honor. My best wishes and deepest reguard to him and the Kennedy family.


    May 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Greg in DC

    My heart goes out to the Kennedy family. I wish Senator Kennedy a speedy recovery. He is such an icon in Washington's political surroundings.

    May 20, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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