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. mominny

    To allen:

    Full term abortion support is about life? what are you thinking?

    November 17, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. GA Independent

    Welcome back Senator Kennedy. You have been missed. Go yell at some Republicans – please?

    November 17, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. prairieguy

    To the complainers...Senator Kennedy has accomplished more by just moving his little toe than you will in your entire lifetime.

    He has done more to help the average American than anyone in the Senate.

    Yes, he made a mistake in 1969 and has to live with that...but he wnet forth and contributed to this country while the complainers continue to do just that....complain!!!!!!

    November 17, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. Dave

    Thanks for the warning.

    November 17, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Phil-Little Rock

    I know Robert Byrd will probably cry tears of joy seeing Kennedy back......

    "Thank God for you, Ted.........Thank God for you........I love you..........and I miss you"

    ha ha, remember that??

    November 17, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. DMD

    for those of you who are less informed : the United States is a Repbulic. Go look it up, we are the Republic of the United States of America. My intentions are not to offend anybody, and I apologize ahead of time, but I kinda resent people from other countries telling us here how to run our country, who to vote for and what should work for us and would not work for us. All this stuff is for US to decide. Otherwise, come here and become a citizen before you tell us how things are done.

    November 17, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. huff

    I never understand these people. Why do they think that others can't take over their places and do an even better job. You are old Senator, you are sick. Stay home and rest up. Even without you, life goes on. The senate and America is bigger than you. Retirement age is 67 for the rest of us. The same should apply to Mccain, and ted stevens. Just give other people the chance to take your places.

    November 17, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. george montgomery

    He's been a Senator for over 40 years and has still been unable to get his heath reform. His Senate record is on par with his driving record!!!!

    November 17, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Jesse - San Antonio, Texas

    Let us not forget, Ted Kennedy is the very type of Washington Politician Barak Obama said he wanted to change. Now, they are more vocal and even in his cabinet.

    Do you honestly think that this man will will allow Obama to change his ways?

    So much for change you can believe in. Obama played you, and you fell for it.

    November 17, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. Tam/Stone Mountain

    Welcome back to Ted Kennedy. I feel Hillary should be the one to push Universal Healthcare not Kennedy. Since Kennedy backed Obama during the primary I believe that he also backed Obama's plan which is not Universal Heathcare. Clinton is the one who should be pushing the plan and I am not sure why Kennedy thinks he should received the credit.

    I hope Ted Kennedy will work with Obama as he moves to the center and keep the far left under control so we can actually get something done in Washington.

    November 17, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. M

    Let's bankrupt healthcare too. So far USA has the best quality healthcare and delusion that universal healthcare is the answer is growing.

    SOCIALISM is not the answer – look at USSR and Eastern Europe – it failed, bankrupt, collapsed and hospitals and going down, cause the BUDGET doesn't have any money to pay them. Is this really what you think it will take to solve the problem? No, prosecuting incompetent doctors and staff and taking licenses away instead of malpractice insurance and endless lawsuits. Anytime you involve the lawyer, the price sticker doubles or triples.

    If we reduce the government spending and reduce taxes for everyone, more companies will be offering better health insurance. It's easy for congressman to make economical changes without any knowledge how it will effect the economy.

    Stop export of jobs and economy will be better, cancel CAFTA and unemployment will go down. That should be the most important task for anyone wasting their time in Capitol.

    November 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. Turning the page

    God bless you Sen. Ted Kennedy. You're a true warrior and I hope you live to be 100.

    November 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. Richard Rohde

    Another worthless program from those who gave us the 3 trillion dollar "Great Society."

    November 17, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. juliet

    welcome back ted....definitely my favorite politician and defintiely the most honest one out there...glad to see you doing well.

    November 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. Kathy S. Cloughn

    Teddy, you are one of the great politicians of our time. Hope yoou live a long and healthy life and that you continue to do well by the American people.

    Bless you!

    November 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. ade

    God bless you senator kennedy and your healthcare reforms

    November 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Pedro

    Used to be a fan of T Kennedy. But took a dislike to him when he and the rest of the Kennedy clan piled on on Hilary Clinton. Now they strike me as opportunists trying to keep the family name as legendary.

    November 17, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. Dave

    thanks for the warning!

    November 17, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. Dianne

    GOD BLESS YOU SENATOR TED KENNEDY. America needs you . I am very happy to have you back on the Hill. You have always been there for the everyday people of America. I sincerely Thank You for your service to our America. You represent the Kennedy Family as we have seen there patroitism, courage, and faithfulness to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. SENATOR TED KENNEDY A TRUE AMERICAN AND A TRUE KENNEDY.

    November 17, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. Tulsa

    Let me guess......Dumb, and More Dumb?

    November 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. George

    Re: Allen " November 17th, 2008 1:09 pm ET

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

    Unless you're an unborn baby, then the Grim Reaper will be waiting for you.

    Why is it that Liberals who cry when a man who kidnaps, tortures and murders a child is put to death are so gung-ho on allowing the murder of the unborn?

    Can I get a better answer than:

    1. It's a choice.
    2. Nobody would want the babies.

    Both of them are bogus answers. It's not a choice for the baby, who dies. And there are lists of people just waiting for a baby.

    So let's try again.

    November 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Sean McDonald


    Welcome back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. chuck

    Where's the Change
    Terry in NY
    Nom dePlume
    Welcome to the Obama Show

    A Veteran and Patriot

    It is high time to change your politics and attitude. Accept the outcome as did the majority of the electorate or you can simply move to your country of choice ruled by a dictator or an ayatollah. I predict that this Administration will outperform the last one and will be re-elected in 2012 with a bigger plurality and electora votes. Hopefully, by then, your attitudes will change.

    November 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Rochelle

    Wonderful, he is back and looking good! What a blessing! He was also able to vote Senator Obama in as President of these United States of America

    November 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Anita of georgia

    I'm happy to know that Senator Kennedy, is well enough to return to Capitol Hill. I wish him the best. I hope that something can be done to help ensure all Americans, can receive the health care Insurance, we all need to cover Illnesses that are so hard to get coverage for, to stay well and healthy. I believe Senator Kennedy, can play a large role, in reforming our health care system for the best. I'm hoping, with the help of the Senate and Congress, they can move forward in pasting a bill, that will benefit all Americans.

    November 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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