July 9th, 2008
04:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Kennedy: 'It feels great to be back'


Watch Senator Kennedy's return to Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy on Wednesday made his first appearance in Congress since being diagnosed with brain cancer nearly two months ago, casting a single vote to help break a Republican filibuster of an important Medicare bill.

Kennedy was greeted by his colleagues with a lengthy standing ovation when he walked onto the Senate floor just after 4:15 p.m. He was in the Chamber for about 10 minutes, and left the Capitol before the results of the vote were known.

"It feels great to be back. I'm glad to be back in the Senate," Kennedy told CNN as he was leaving Congress.

"It's enormously important... for our seniors to be able to be protected is a key defining issue for this Congress and for this country, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to be able to express my voice and my vote."

"I'm feeling fine," he added. "I'm fatigued once in awhile, but otherwise pretty good."

He said he hopes to be back full-time soon.

A vote just over a week ago fell one vote shy of the 60 needed to end the filibuster. Wednesday's effort to break the filibuster succeeded, 69-30. Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, did not vote.

Kennedy, a 76-year-old Massachusetts Democrat, had surgery to remove the tumor June 2 and is now undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Kennedy is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and is an influential Democrat on health-care issues.

President Bush earlier threatened to veto the legislation - so even though the Democrats beat the filibuster, they may need to corral votes afresh to override a veto.

But a spokesman for Harry Reid said it would be "politically impossible" for Republicans who switched their vote after Kennedy's dramatic appearance to change sides again and support a veto.

Filed under: Ted Kennedy
soundoff (178 Responses)
  1. John in Columbus Ohio

    Good luck Senator Kennedy. You're one of the great ones.

    July 9, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Fred Muna


    July 9, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Guess filibusters only should be sustained when Democrat's initiate them. Apparently Kennedy didn't have the same movement to action when so many judicial nominees have been held up. What a hypocrite he is.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. William,from Cali!

    Ted Kennedy needs to "retire", at his age (76), he needs to "move-on", and find something else, to "champion".There should be a limit, on age;of our elected "office holders"; some of them, have "overstayed " their time, of "affective purpose".I'm sure, he doesn't need the money.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Clinton Supporter

    Glad to see Mr. Kennedy do what it takes to bring leadership on something that means a great deal to and to all Americans.

    I wish him well.

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Kevin

    Way to go Ted Kennedy!!

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Kentucky

    God Bless Mr. Kennedy

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Charkey

    Go get em Teddy

    DEM 08

    July 9, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. C!

    Kennedy's strength and dedication is truly inspiring!

    Dems `08!

    July 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. George

    This is news???????????

    He needs to be out of the Senate. Term Limits accross the board. Democrats or Republicans. They are making this a Lifetime job.

    July 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Ian M

    I saw this live. Go go go Ted Kennedy, we love you.

    July 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |

    Goes to show you can't keep a good man down.

    July 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    I may not like his lifestyle nor his policitics, but I like his dedication to the job of defending what he stands for. I find his return very powerful.

    July 9, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  14. deedee

    geez, the man just underwent surgery for a BRAIN TUMOR!!
    Shows how desperate the democrats are,, calling in people who should be in bed resting. Its so very sad that they would expect someone who is healing from brain surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to come and rescue their vote.

    July 9, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. John in PA

    You don't have to like or even respect Teddy Kennedy as a politician, but you have to admire his courage and fighting spirit for what he believes in...

    July 9, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. Phil in KC

    Go, Teddy, Go!

    July 9, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    I can't wait to see Caroline's recommendation for VP also.

    July 9, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Elizabeth

    God bless, you, Senator Kennedy. You've always walked the walk.

    July 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. usa

    i think the republicans are behind this,and ,yet he still manages to make it to the floor for a vote on medi-care.a true american patriot!

    July 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. LA

    Great to see you back, Ted!

    July 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Good going Senator Kennedy. Get them straighten out!

    July 9, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. Beebe

    Ted, you're awesome!

    July 9, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. Clinton, no, wait, McCain Supporter

    What a jerk Obama is. Talking about pimping one's daughter(s)!

    He knew exactly what he was doing. Show the cute kids, hear them talk, make me look like a good old fashioned dad.

    Then pretend I didn't know what I was doing and say I won't do it again.

    Is that like saying, "Strike that from the record?"

    Can't have it both ways, Barack. You USED your kids for own purposes, unlike any other president or presidential candidate all the way from Clinton to Bush and so many others who do not use little kids to make them look good.

    You are an opportunistic PHONY, Barack Obama!

    July 9, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. shelly

    Glad to see you back!! Stay strong and healthy...prayers are with you.

    July 9, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Eddie . - Proud Voter

    Welcome back, sir!

    July 9, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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