November 17th, 2008
01:13 PM ET
14 years ago

Kennedy back on the Hill

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Kennedy is heading back to Washington this afternoon."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Massachusetts Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy returned to work Monday after a battle with brain cancer that hospitalized him in May.

Greeted by 100 waving staffers beneath a banner that read "Welcome Back," Kennedy appeared eager to get back to work.

"I feel fine ... looking forward particularly to working with Barack Obama on health care", he said.

Known as the "Lion of the Senate," Kennedy underwent surgery on a malignant brain tumor this summer following a seizure suffered at his home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts.

The 76-year-old Democrat chairs the Senate Committee on Health and wasted little time addressing a universal health care bill widely expected to be introduced in the new Congress.

"I'm very hopeful this will be a prime item on the agenda", he said. "The president-elect has indicated that this is going to be a priority and I certainly hope it will."

Kennedy, who has represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate since his election in 1962, made his first appearance on Capitol Hill since surgery this summer to vote on a Medicare bill where he received a standing ovation.

In August, he made a second dramatic appearance at the Democratic National Convention, pledging to see Barack Obama to the White House and his own return to the Senate floor.

One of only six senators in U.S. history to serve more than 40 years, he is an iconic liberal champion of social issues such as health care, family leave, and the minimum wage.

Kennedy is also the youngest of four brothers in a powerful and legendary family. They include Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, a former U.S. attorney general, a front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president when he was assassinated in 1968, and John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, also a victim of an assassin's bullet.

Ted Kennedy ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1980. He endorsed then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for the 2008 nomination.

During a speech given at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, he compared now President-Elect Obama to the late President Kennedy.

Filed under: Ted Kennedy
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. Susie oklahoma

    I'm so glad Kennedy is back. He's a heck of a man and a great senator. Welcome back!!

    November 17, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. mitch

    welcome back ted!

    November 17, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. loribee

    Welcome back, Teddy!

    November 17, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. ToddA

    'Paul' is a fool. No one supports abortion. Most of us just think that a deeply "personal" decision for a woman is just that – none of your or my business.

    To the guy who likes to shoot deer in Canada, I would very gladly be taxed more in the US to pay for health care. It would be a lot cheaper than the foolish and wasteful so-called system of health care we have now, where sick poor people end up in emergency rooms, where corporations go bankrupt because they can't afford to compete due to their high health care costs, where doctors are incentivized to give treatments, rather than care, and their patients get only sicker. I also don't rate a country by the size of its bloated military. Canada is a country far superior in most measures to our much-declared 'best country in the world'.

    We've allowed ourselves to become second rate by our obsession with our own greed.

    Welcome back, Ted. We need you. Now give 'em Hell!

    November 17, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. DMD

    Note To CNN Moderator: Thank you for allowing my posts through to spur a rather raucous conversation here. I love my country and its Freedoms (speech, specifically here) much to the chagrin of the natives of other countries. 🙂 🙂

    November 17, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. Chris

    God bless Sen. Kennedy in his battle with brain cancer and God bless all politicians, regardless of party as they try to bring health insurance to millions of uninsured!

    November 17, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Elizabeth Daniel

    Okay, so there is way too much hate going on, whoa. I am Canadian, we do have universal health care, and we pay higher taxes, but we are secure in knowing that if we are develop cancer for example, we don't have to worry about paying for the treatments etc., I am okay with paying higher taxes as I have had family members with serious illnesses, and they have had the best care....and yes there are waits, but my sister-in-law just had a CT scan and it happened two days after a visit to the doctor, where she complained of constant, perhaps more research by the people making these claims against our health care is in order. I cannot believe the hostility, as Sarah Palin would say, Golly Gosh!!

    November 17, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. wait a minute

    If we can fix our healthcare system, we will become more competitive globally. Every citizen should have some basic preventive health care. Beyond that, you and your employer can pay for it accordingly. Insurance companies should not be able to cherry pick their customers. The whole insurance idea is based on probability. There should be no picking in this industry.

    November 17, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. DickNH

    To Kevin @ 3:01,

    Thanks to your idol, GWB, we're ALREADY BANKRUPT!!!

    November 17, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Tom

    Senator kennedy was asked by Senator Clinton to chair a subcommittee on working to provide universal healthcare for everyone. He turned her down. Lets see if he accomplishes this. i don't believe he will. All those years in Congress and he has very little to show for it. Gosh, I can't believe how this election cycle has open my eyes to how our elected officials are really are. Once, Senator Kennedy was a hero to me – no more. I think Senator Clinton has learned by her mistakes of trying to bring universal healthcare to America in l990's and I believe she is the only one who could get it right.

    November 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Ellen


    does that mean that you know what God wants for his children?

    November 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. Hill Lover

    TED is a Loser............period

    November 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. mitch

    paul: pathetic, dude. nothing but disdain for those with differing views than yours. you sound hateful to me.

    November 17, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Kevin

    Brendan H,

    I don't disagree with your comments about the Bushes or McCain, but if you think the Kennedy's worked for what they have as opposed to the above mentioned people, you are kidding yourself. They are a great family, but they earned their money the same way the Bushes did. They stole it. Grandpa Kennedy was a bootlegger for Godsake!

    November 17, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Hill Lover


    November 17, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. Hill Lover

    Where was the "Lion" in July 1969????


    November 17, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Norah (Boston, MA)

    Teddy is incredible. How many people would survive what he has in his life? Yet Teddy still keeps coming. His overwhelming concern is for us and he will fight for us as long as he can. As he said health care is a right and not a privilege. With Teddy in the lead and with Obama in the White House maybe we will finally get what every other civilized nation has- health care for everyone.

    November 17, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. Onlooker

    Oh come on Paul! Don't be so naive, all politicians lie. Haven't you seen their lips move?

    November 17, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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