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. mmartin arkansaw


    May 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. Amateur

    A great American. No matter your political leaning it's hard not to have but the utmost respect for this GREAT CHAMPION. He will pull through this. My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends

    May 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. I Pray he gets better

    He has served his country for a long time, my prayers are with the family.

    May 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. Remi N.(Atlanta)

    All prayers for Senator Ted. Kennedy. God is in control, He will be fine in Jesus Name.

    May 20, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Kimberly from Dallas

    Sen. Ted Kennedy I am praying for you! You are an amazing public servant and a caring man! God is watching over you and your family!

    God bless you.

    May 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. James

    I hope he gets better. I will put him in my prayers.

    May 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. AL

    I am from way out west and lean too the right in just about everything politically. Even I wish Ted Kennedy the very best of comfort and a full recovery if possible. A very intelligent man and an institution !

    May 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Bukky

    It's amazing the level of emotion that people are feeling about this... I hope he pulls through

    May 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Frank, San Diego

    Hang in there, Senator. America needs you, perhaps now more than at any other time in your life.

    May 20, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. Kiah

    This news is extremely troublesome and I am praying he makes a speedy recovery.

    May 20, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. WeLuvObama

    Stay strong Senator. We are praying that God gives you a speedy recover. If anyone can beat this thing, you can!.

    May 20, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. jonathan with cancer

    I want to know how this man got treated at the hospital so fast ...It took my doctors 4 months to find out that i had a brain tumor ....I wanna know why the america political system has better health care than me ...Iam sorry the man might have a tumor .....but iam still upset on the prefrencail treatments of politions ..I wonder that he might phone call after phone of bill collectors

    May 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Lyonel.

    My thoughts and prayers go to the Kennedy family in this tought time.

    May 20, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Adam

    Best wishes to the Kennedy family and a speedy recovery to the the Senator.

    May 20, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Low

    May God Bless Seantor Kennedy and his family. Our thought s and prayers are wirh you.

    May 20, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Latin Momma for Obama

    Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family,

    May 20, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Ross

    I have watched Sen. Kennedy's courageous fights in the Senate from my home in Kentucky for my entire life. He is a source of inspiration to people around the world, but particularly to this liberal in a red state who learned from Sen. Kennedy to get up a fight even in the face of long odds. He's in my prayers.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. Gregory H. Brooklyn New York

    Senator Kennedy, God answers prayers, and someone in Brooklyn, New York is praying for you. Don't worry, you'll see President Barack Obama.

    May 20, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. WFK

    My thoughts and prayers are with the Senator and his family. He has been at the center of American Life since my birth in 1950. May God be good to him and to his family. And may God continue to bless America.

    May 20, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Misty

    You can beat this. We all know you can and will. We have made progress in cancer research.

    May 20, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. petra

    Senator this wont be the end of the world,, for you,,,God will see you through ,,we keep our fingers crossed here in europe and we pray for you,,,,God will answer us,,,you are blessed,,

    May 20, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. Cindy Miller

    God bless you and your family as you deal with this health crisis. Stay prayerful...

    May 20, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Joe, Boston

    He would not have won his re-election bid anyway. After the way he treated Hillary Clinton he turned a lot of MA residents off big time. I wish him the best but glad that we will finally have new blood in the Senate from this state.

    May 20, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Sifa

    God bless you Senator Kennedy and I pray God to give you a full recovery. This country needs your leadership now than ever.

    May 20, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. Nelson

    Senator Kennedy...May God bless you and provide you and your family with the strength and faith to get through this.

    May 20, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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