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. Kim

    Welcome back Sen. Kennedy and we have you in our thoughts and prayers.

    November 17, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. values

    I like this guy Ted Kennedy best of luck to him and his family.

    November 17, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. Frank

    Welcome back, Senator Kennedy. I hope that you are up for one final accomplishment.

    May you have the strength to finally win health care, as a matter of right, for all Americans.

    It works in Canada, it works in Hawaii. It will work for all Americans if only we have the courage to try.

    November 17, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. Soccer Nana

    Glad you are back Senator Kennedy!!!

    November 17, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. kim - new york

    to Brian G, Sugar Land, TX. I hope that when you are there age that you will be ok with having someone put you out to pasture when all you want to do is still contribute. It's crazy to say they should go because of age. With Stevens, it should be for other reasons, but the whole group shouldn't be old or young. It's the mix that makes us as great as we are capable of being.

    November 17, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. DMD

    Socialized medicine does not work....just ask Canada.

    Socialism in and of itself does not work....just ask Canada, Russia, Cuba.

    One must NEVER forget that while we live in a DEMOCRACY, we are the REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Repeal or drastically rewrite NAFTA, avoid other pacts that are NAFTA-like, and bring our manufacturing jobs back home where they belong.

    November 17, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. grahame

    Idon't understand why people vilify this man. After all he has given his life to serve his country just as John McCain has. So your anger at Ted Kennedy seems a little stupid and illinformed. Ah well! So much for the so called American education system. May I suggest you all go and live in Alaska with all the other people who never got out of grade four.

    November 17, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. mike from New York

    Welcome back Mr. Senator! I don't agree with a lot of your ideas, but I'm glad to see you back to work!!

    November 17, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. TeddtN

    Glad to see him back looking healthy. All the peole who are still sore over President-elect Obama winning need to put that behind them and support him. He won the popular vote and the electoral vote. That tells you the majority of America wanted him. Hard to believe that conservative Republicans, who are 99.9 Christian, forget what the Bible says and continue to be bitter. Step back and think.

    November 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. grahame


    November 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. john in boston

    Senator Kennedy has been a leader on the Hill for decades and has been in thoughts and prayers of millions. If our country listened to him more, we would not be in the poor condition we are in today.

    November 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. allen

    The obama (show) is about giving life. The bush (show) is about death.

    November 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Robert

    Yeah, I want to get the same Health Coverage you got!

    November 17, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Welcome back Senator Kennedy.....I am glad you are going to have someone that cares and is willing to work with you on health care...the republican party could care less about those who are unable to afford or don't have health care until it effects them. I am so glad that the dems are back in control we may have our faults but they are minimal compared to the GOP....

    November 17, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. Annette

    Welcome back! Senator Kennedy

    November 17, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. recycle washington

    ====i don't trust the Clintons===

    ********i Regret my vote if the Clintons will be in charge again.

    The Clintons are all about Power and $$$$$$, and nothing more,
    you got to be an idiot not to realize that.

    November 17, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. frieda


    November 17, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. Bob in Ohio

    Too bad Mary Jo couldn't come back too. This guy should have been in prison for manslaughter. That said, I'm glad his health is improving. I don't wish cancer on anyone.

    November 17, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. Monica

    Universal health care is definitely a priority. I am a Canadian living in the United States. While the Canadian system has its problems and is far from perfect, I would trade it hands down, in a heartbeat, for what we have here in the US. Its no wonder our infant mortality rate amongst other measureables is so far down the pole compared to other countries. Who can afford to go to the doctor? Even with health insurance, which I have, I still avoid it as long as possible. Huge deductibles and copays and huge premiums. Its way too expensive!!! You gotta be rich to be able to get medical attention in this country or go broke trying to pay for it.

    November 17, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. Bill

    Sorry Americans, the socialized health care system in Canada works just fine. Stop drinking the Kool-aid. Your health care horror stories make ours seem like bedtime lullabies.

    November 17, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Samuel

    Teddy my man. You have no idea how my family is glad you are back. Hope has finally return to the Hill. I will devote all my time in prayers just to keep you alive and well.

    Universal Health Care, here we come. I feel healthy already.

    Go Teddy go.

    November 17, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. Bill

    DMD: the Republic of the United States of America??? Lay off the Star Wars.

    November 17, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. Phil in KC

    I'm glad Ted has recovered enough to return to the Senate. With everyone else focused on the economy, it might be good to have someone with such clout focused on health care. If you divide the work, it might be possible to work on several agenda items at once. Now all we need is someone who says his main focus will be the war – and the money to make it all happpen.

    November 17, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. That Other Jerry

    We can all debate health care with Sen. Kennedy some other time. The Kennedy family has had enough tragedy. I'm glad this didn't turn out to be another one. This Republican wishes him well.

    November 17, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. strong

    Will this guy EVER go away? We need new, fresh faces in gov't. I wish Kennedy would go and retire and enjoy your million$.

    November 17, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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