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. PDT; Austin, Texas

    We love you Senator and all you do for our country. My heart goes out to you and your lovely family.

    May God Bless and Comfort you; in Jesus name I Pray, AMEN.

    May 20, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Mary

    May God hear all of our prayers for strength for Senator Kennedy and his family during this struggle. May God cure him and reward him with many more years.

    God Bless you, Senator Kennedy and your family as well.

    May 20, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Jagdish , Vancouver,Canada

    he is a fighter and a survivor...he will do both.

    May 20, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. Toronto Observer

    Ted Kennedy has faced challenges in life that would have crushed many, and through it all he has displayed the greatest face of what makes us human: to learn from our mistakes, rise above our personal tragedies, and place the welfare of others above our own. A true leader who throughout his years of public service, has remained the conscience of U.S. Government – oft stating the truth that no one else wants to hear and challenging many to find the courage to listen. Although he has already written an amazing legacy and lived a truly enlightened life, his presence remains necessary as the country moves toward what may well be a golden age. He remains in our prayers.

    May 20, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. Danielle for Obama

    hang on senator!
    We need you!

    May 20, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. matilda Johnson

    I am sadden by this news. I wish him well.

    May 20, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. Kentucky

    Today is a very sad day for many Americans. Senator Kennedy has been on the battle field for the homeless, children, and all of those that could not /cannot battle the system. Get well soon the people of this country needs you.

    May 20, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. Colleen, Madison, WI

    Very few people born to privelege have cared so much for the many who were not. Mr. Senator, I wish you the best – as you have given to your country.

    May 20, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Aaron

    Senator Kennedy has been in the senate for as long as I and my mother have been alive, and we are all wishing him a complete recovery from this tumor. You can make it, Senator! We believe in you!

    May 20, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Randy M

    God be with you and your family Mr. Kennedy. Whether you like his politics or not, he has been a faithful servant of our nation. Get well soon.

    May 20, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. bridgette

    Let's pray for him and his family. He has had a great life. He was blessed out of his brothers to live a full and long life. Even from some of his nephews. So we should be rejoicing. Everyone will have a homegoing and he has had a wonderful life. I pray for his family to have strength.

    May 20, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Marilyn

    Ted Kennedy is the very definition of what a "public servant" should be. Thank you Senator Kennedy for your years of service to this country and may God be with you.

    May 20, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. taylor richmond virginia

    You have done alot of great things for alot of people in this country. stay strong.

    May 20, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Allan

    America is holding you close in her thoughts and prayers.

    May 20, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    My best wishes are with Sen. Kennedy and his family in this difficult hour...May he get better soon!

    May 20, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. Gillian

    I am sorry that Mr. Kennedy is facing yet another tough time in his life. Our thoughts are with you, sir.

    May 20, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. Aaron

    Few people in the history of our government have done as much to help the less fortunate in our nation as Sen. Kennedy. God speed to a full recovery.

    May 20, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. KIKI

    who cares, next.

    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. stop the madness





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


    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. PRinNJ

    Whether you agree or disagree with his politics and stands, Senator Kennedy has shown integrity and strength over the years. He is truly a lion of the senate. May God be with him and his family.

    May 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Lorna, NY

    My heart is broken...

    May 20, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. BHO

    I hope Kenneday will come back!

    May 20, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. randy

    Your the best senator.

    May 20, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Conniel

    S. Kennedy wis a great leader and a great person who's done more for this county than many politicians. My prayers go out to him and his family.

    May 20, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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