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. Alice


    Now, let's hope he makes it to Pres. Obama's inauguration!

    July 9, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Billy J -Austin-Tx

    Glad he is well enough. But still part of the effete that have ruined this election season for this particular democrat. I have not got a lot of use for him or any of the other soft handed, out of touch, party leaders .

    Godspeed on your recovery, and ... way to go... taking your presidential run alllll the way to the convention when Carter had you thoroughly beat. And not by just a little the way this primary was. And your excuse then?... 'I am more electable'. But your message now? "Hillary, for the good of the party, please step down." (please note: last paragraph started sincere and ended sarcastically)

    July 9, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. ProundToBeDemocrat

    Jesse Jackson is an idiot for making this kind of comments, he call him self a black activist and goes around behind close doors with Fox news and try to undermine obama's effort to help the black community, People like Jackson have been benefiting from the weakness of the black community for years, now he is trying to undermine obama's effort. Shame on you Jackson.

    July 9, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Mike Jones

    Welcome back Senator. God's speed in your full recovery.

    July 9, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Jeff

    The senator approaches the well...leans over to whisper hello to Senator Obama and cuts the loudest fart in Senate History!

    July 9, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. s for obama

    Welcome back senator. We missed you!!!!!!!!

    July 9, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  7. Rave

    Thank God, Mr. Ted is back and doing well.
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    July 9, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Tim

    We are glad to see him back!!!!

    July 9, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Mark Webb

    Yesssss! A true patriot indeed.
    Go Kennedy! Go USA!

    July 9, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. new york

    go teddy go go go

    July 9, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. Weepy

    Pat-Pittsburg. RIGHT ON.

    July 9, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. baljeet

    hey moderater are you on obama payroll or should i complain to cnn that you are filtering comments that are not favourable to BARAK HUSSAIN OBAMA.

    July 9, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. SANTE


    July 9, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. Amy Jacobson


    July 9, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. Weepy

    Oh, come on! It is a good thing when someone seems to be recovering from a grave medical problem. Good for him. But, he isn't the KING of AMERICA. Not that the Kennedy's don't want him to be.
    Why wasn't everyone so nice and cordial on the occasion of Geo. W's birthday? Huh???

    July 9, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. susie

    The Democrat controlled Congress has a 9% approval rating! That is not good!

    July 9, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  17. Ted

    GO TED! Hope your recovery continues smoothly.

    July 9, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. Sam

    He has had a privileged life. Question is if he is ready to face God. Every man and woman will have to ask that question sometime in their life.

    July 9, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. Daniel Mayinja

    Teddy, the main Dude of the Senate, graying mane, roar away Teddy, roar like the lion you are. And get well fast dear Senator, we sooooooooo need you in those chambers.

    July 9, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. FormerGOP

    Welocme back Teddy! we missed you!

    July 9, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. Shame ON YOU REV!!!!!

    According to Jackson, a Fox News microphone picked up comments he meant to deliver privately that seemed to disparage the presumptive Democratic nominee for appearing to lecture the black community on morality.Jessie is just Jealous as a rev if you don'have anything good to say then don,t say anything......Senator Obama is a strong man.......He take hits from Mccain and his supporters,Hillary supporters the Media Blogs and has received a Good Beat Down and is still Standing Strong ,how could I leave out SEAN and RUSH .....GOD BLESS YOU SIR!

    July 9, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. McLooser a 3 times removed G. Pa

    Get well Senator Kennedy and do rest /just how you keep going is amazing .
    Tell Caroline we love her and she looks like the real deal beside Obama all the way to the White house .vpvpvpvpvpvpvpvpvpvpvpvpvp

    July 9, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. Franky

    I swear, I think Ted got the "Boston of Magic" going on now. I mean, look at it, they're winning everything for crying out loud, LOL!!!

    July 9, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. Barbara Lee Ruiz LCSW-R

    Welcome home, I call us the "cranies" those of us who have experienced what we have, and lived to tell about it! Now, let's get the job done.(craniotomy)

    July 9, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. Reid

    As the spouse of a stge 4 cancer patient, I know first hand what it takes to go through treatment. I know that my wife will continue to be in remission because she has has the same strong zest for life, courage, great health insurance coverage, and the stamina to persevere that you have, Senator Kennedy.

    Yet, there are many cancer patients who will not survive due to the lack of health insurance coverage needed to cover the costs which the patient will have to bear. For example, common Tumor Markers such as CA 27-29 have now been listed as experimental because insurance carriers want to save the costs. Research for breast and cervical cancer and the early detection programs have been cut by 7% for the forthcoming FY 2009. And, just as bad, Funding for Cancer Research to the NIH and the NCI has been flatlined. So, clinical trials will be cut, or stalled, or slowed.

    None of this will ever save my wife. I just hope that the great standing ovation that Senator Kennedy received today will be remembered by those standing when it's time to change the budget before its too late.

    Let's stop cheering, and start doing.

    July 9, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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