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. Justin W.J. in Phoenix

    That is great! Welcome back Ted! Ted is here to stay!

    November 17, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Justice Kotei

    Stayed blessed, it is only God who knows your heart. Thank you for taking Obama as your son and the love you have for him. Obama all the way.

    November 17, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. EW


    Hillary had 8 years to work on health care before and didn't do anything. Nothing but pandering and lip service.

    Why do we keep electing people that don't do what they say they will do?

    November 17, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Christine - CT

    I am so proud of you for all you've done for your country...welcome back!

    November 17, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Dogen

    Dear Jane: Get a clue.

    Michael Vick deserved to be punished for his dog-fighting involvement. But lets be realistic, most of the actual purpetrators 'rolled over' on him in order to recieve lighter or no sentences. I can't belive he actually had that much time to devote to the actions. Another case of a poor kid who gets rich playing sports and can't separate himself from his thug friends.

    Believe me, I am no fan of Vicks on or off the field. But to throw him in jail and ban him from the NFL is over-kill. To compare him to OJ Simpson a double-homicide (suspect) is stupid.

    If you are such a dog lover, wouldn't making vick work in an animal shelter for a year, and a stiff fine have been more appropriate?

    What about the rich wall street brokers and their theft of millions? Do they deserve jail??

    November 17, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    November 17, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. AJ

    Old Teddy must have come back to pay homage to Obama with the hope that Obama can absolve him of his sins (and there are so many of them.) I think it's awful that so many people in AK voted for Ted Stevens but why shouldnt they when MA keeps electing a murderer to the senate.

    November 17, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Kel in Auburn, AL

    Awesome! WELCOME BACK TED!

    November 17, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Mike the Independent from Ohio

    Universal health care hasn't worked anywhere, why would it work here. Anything the government touches it screws up. Social Security, government housing, I would not like to see health care added to that list, it's a nice dream, but we are not capable of achieving it

    November 17, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Joe

    What a hypocrit. If he wanted and believed in Universal Health Care, he should have went to the VA or a free clinic instead of Duke to have his tumor fixed.

    November 17, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. David Stein

    CNN, please post this...
    Medicare – a Canadian perspective.
    Cost of delivering our two beautiful children w/ o work insurance:$0
    Cost of treating and rehabilitating my brother in law after a severe brain injury: $0
    Cost of peace of mind : priceless

    November 17, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. Chris

    Hopefully, the universal health care plan that will be 'forced' on the working people will also be the same health plan all of our government workers (including congress and the president) will have. That would be appropriate would it not?

    November 17, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. ann

    Here comes sexist Ted who lied and pretended Hillary never helped his agenda as first lady.

    November 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Rich

    This piece of garbage needs to retire! We do not need universal healthcare! Its will just be more money stolen from our paychecks to give to the lazy!!! People come here from Canada and England to escape socialized medicine, IT DOESNT WORK!!!

    November 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. MD, TX

    Sorry to hear you're back in the Senate, but I guess your socialist agenda can use your support.

    November 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. maynard hopkins wi

    ted wrap it up you did your time on the hill now is the time to sit back and enjoy what is left of your life, thanks for your imput.

    November 17, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. pam Eugene OR

    Welcome back Senator.
    You will always be remembers for giving us the gift of your support for Barack Obama. Now let's get to work and get get health care for the millions of AMERICANS who need it!

    November 17, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Simmy

    Great to see you back – I wish you well!

    November 17, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. Gambi

    What a guy! God Bless and stay well our guy Barrack needs you!

    November 17, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Pat NY

    Lucky for Senator Kennedy that he has health insurance to cover his medical expenses. How much longer will we have to have spaghetti dinners and bake sales to help families pay to save their children from devastating illnesses? What kind of country is this anyway, where you can lose your home and entire life's savings if you are diagnosed with an illness and are unfortunate not to have adequate health care? It seems to me that as along as the people making decisions about ordinary citizen's health care have the best insurance in the country, nothing will get done. Let them go without it until everyone has coverage and we'd all be insured within the month!

    November 17, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. Simmy

    To the idoit that responded to John:

    You are an Idiot! You go away – to maybe Alaska or Russia?

    November 17, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  22. atlantan

    Welcome back Senator Kennedy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He's a champion for immigration reform also!!!!!!!!!!!! He will help on that matter, I'm sure, so we can get the economy back on track. Legalization means more taxes, more money, fines, more money, more consumers, more money!!!!!

    I'm soooo happy to see him well.

    November 17, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. Dorothy

    so happy to have you back Senator Kennedy; and yes, I believe we can accomplish wonderful things now that we have a new administration...and a new lease on hope and promise for our country. Welcome home!

    November 17, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. cool onlooker

    May God Bless you Ted. We can do better with your presence on the political stage.

    May health be with you!

    November 17, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. Milhouse van Houten

    Canada in the same breath as Cuba and Russia,jeez DMD you sure are an enlightened one aren't you.You're the type that gives Americans a bad name everywhere in the world one travels.

    November 17, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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