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. Karen - Proud of This Country

    Welcome Back Ted Kennedy and glad to see him coming back to what he loves. Obama will need you on Capitol Hill to push Healthcare through Congress.

    November 17, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. legare

    The LION is back.

    November 17, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Liberian-Canada in Toronto

    Hey DMD, I don't think that you know much about the USA let alone Canada. Canada is a capitalist and a federal country. One of the primary different between the US and Canada is that our (Canadian)constittution encourages collective security and welfare as opposed to the individual. Here in Canada, our law does not permit fatuitous lawsuit just to enrich the few. As well, our health care system is publicly founded and I wouldn't trade it for any thing or any country including the United States.
    By the way did you know that every year, countless numbers of Americans come to Canada to take advantage of our health care? Flu shots, cheaper prescription and free hospitals stay etc.
    Please know your facts before you write or talk, I did think you have visited Cuba, Australia or the UK to really speak about their health care issues...

    November 17, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Dogen

    Regarding Obama's transition team and change: You would have to be deaf, blind and dumb NOT to see the progress already made by Obama. He has already put into place the most diverse transition team in history, met with President Bush, reached out to Hillary and John McCain and has already said he would include a Repbulican on his cabinet!! Duh...? And some would still question his committment to change?? He's already done more than the Republicans have done in almost 8 years. Get over the hate people, lets move on.

    November 17, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Proud to be American

    Yeah! Welcome back Ted am so happy that you have return... the American People know you are working for us..... and praying that your health care agenda will work according to your plan.

    November 17, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Ken in NC

    Welcome back Senaotr Kennedy. So glad to see you are doing better. I prayed for your recovery and now I will pray for your continued health.

    November 17, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. john

    to the idiot that said Sen Kennedy should "go away"...check his record, he has been a hard working senator for all his terms, he fights tirelessly, he has turned out to be a great champion for us all....inform
    yourself before you speak.

    November 17, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. Shirley in Virginia

    Welcome back to work, Sen. Kennedy! You are a true American hero. Democrat, Republican, Independent, whatever, we all prayed for you, and it's good to have you back.

    November 17, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. Dogen

    Regarding the McCain/Obama meeting: I think it's LONG overdue that partisan nonsense becomes history. Our country is in dire straits and anyone who is truly American and loves this country realizes we all fall or rise TOGETHER. That's why Obama had such an overwhelming victory.

    I also feel McCain truly loves this country or he'd be out on Bush's ranch hunting instead of sitting next to Obama.

    November 17, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. J.P.

    Single-payer government-provided iPods for everyone NOW! Hip and nifty digital music players are a right not a privilege!

    Maybe our beloved president-elect Mr. Obama can give Uncle (*hic*) Teddy a cabinet position. I mean, he's hiring every other washed-up Clinton administration staffer available... I guess this is more of that "change" we keep hearing about. So when does Monica get her job back?

    November 17, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. just a thought

    you are looking well senator kennedy, i hope all goes well for the health care plan.

    November 17, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. Al

    Welcome back, Mr. Kennedy!

    November 17, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Truth and justice

    Those who commit murder apparently go to one of two places... to prison, or to the senate. Depends on the lawyer I guess

    November 17, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. DeeJam - Los Angeles

    Go Ted Kennedy! Help Obama put this country back together.

    November 17, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Washington Observer

    Change? Don;t bet on it. Now all the long term Dems come out and tell Obama what HIS agenda will be - Look for Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, Dodd, and other long term DC fixtures to run the country.

    Any of you Obama groupies that really thought Barack was going to bring change to washington, get a grip on yourself. It is business as usual for the Dems – tax and spend us into oblivion

    The joke is really on all you Obamabots -- I will be watching to see how CNN spins this about their hero. Jack McCafferty and Roland Martin – you two are gonna have egg on face

    November 17, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. independent

    God Bless the liberal lion. Now let's hear you roar with healthcare and immigration reform.
    President Obama and the county need you.

    November 17, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. DMD

    Liberian-Canada in Toronto: I have known Canadians that have moved here because their taxes that pay into their Socialized Medicine were TOO high for them and that the waiting period for such things as surgery were very long and people have come to this Country because they didn't want to wait that long to get the surgery/medical care they fel they needed. Granted, some people here get their mediciines from Canada because they are cheaper, but you are paying enormously higher taxes to fund such public medicine. And we have freedom of speech here that allows me to vent in any which way I can, despite some foreigner telling me otherwise. Perhaps it is you, Liberian-Canada in Toronto who should stay out of US Political conversations that go on in this country.

    November 17, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. bill

    welcome back teddy.and god are looking good

    November 17, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Wallace Fraiter

    Let H. Clinton work with Ted on health care. There must be an answer to the problem.

    November 17, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. dan


    November 17, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. muffy

    God bless Teddie and give him more years to do his good work for the people of this country. He is truly a lion and a great man, the people of MA love him except for a few nut cases.

    November 17, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. anne in Pa

    Welcome back Ted, we need your expertize,,,,,,,,,,,,,stay Well. God bless You !

    November 17, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. Susan

    Welcome back, Senator Kennedy, and may God bless you!

    November 17, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. strong

    ... in response to "John":

    I am not an idiot. I am informed.

    Enjoy your koolaid to the last drop.

    November 17, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Iroko Nija

    Thank you Sen.Ted Kennedy for all what you did for Barack Obama during both the primaries and election proper. I salute your courage and will continue to pray that the good Lord will give you a more beffiting life time here on earth.

    November 17, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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