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. 30-m-PA-Democrat-voted McCain

    Do you you people really think universal healthcare has a chance? There will be strong opposition from Republicans and even some Democrats, likely enough opposition to kill any legislation dealing with universal healthcare.

    November 17, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Rochelle

    God will get you people of ill will toward Good Christian, God Fearing people! Mr./Mrs DMD and Dave your day will come and the rath will fall upon you really bad.

    November 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Michael

    Something needs to be done re: health care. We've got upwards of 50 million people in the U.S. (about 1 out of every 6 Americans) who don't have access to quality health care. The U.S. consistently ranks at or near the bottom of industrialized countries in terms of infant mortality (while all the so-called "right to life" screams about protecting the unborn and then screams "socialism!" when it comes to caring for those already born). What we are doing is clearly broken and doesn't work. I'm sick and tired of all the impotent right-wing extremists blocking everything and am more than willing to change course and come up with an AMERICAN health care plan that makes sure everyone is covered, especially children. With that in mind, have at it Senator!!!

    November 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. Mike

    Not to sound rude, but I would think Teddy's top priority would be not dying. Good to see you back!

    November 17, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. JC

    RIGHT! With the economy screwed up, we're going to implement another expensive fiasco.

    November 17, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Mark L.

    GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS Ted Kennedy !! And May GOD BLESS our Next President and his entire family – BARACK OBAMA !! Universal Health Care Coverage is Mandatory at this point. How can we, the Greatest Nation on the entire globe, be one of only a select few that does not offer Universal Health Care Coverage to it's citizens? Oh, I know the answer to my own question – The GOP thinks is socialist !! Well then GOP – What exactly is Social Security, Medicare, MediCaid, and all the other GREAT programs that were started by Democrats for the benefit of ALL USA citizens? Being socialist does not equate to being communist !! But unfortunately, for the GOP, it also does not equate to being CAPITALIST (Money, Money, Money) !!

    November 17, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. Christiane, Germany

    God bless you Mr. Kennedy. I pray every Day for you and your Family.

    November 17, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. heartlight3

    According to a quick Google search it looks like around 460,000 people in the US declare bankruptcy each year due to medical bills. I wonder how many people in Canada have to do that? To me that indicates that Canada is a country that cares about it's citizens' well being, and America is not. Are we proud of that?

    November 17, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. DMD

    Hey Van Houten: Socialized medicine isn't work that well for Great Britian and Australia what that Canada is mentioned in the same sentence as Cuba and Russia....Socialized medicine is not the answer, this I believe. Medicare, Medicaid and Unemployment benefits are socialzed programs that we do have in this country, and unfortunately we have a lot of people who abuse these systems off the hardworking taxpaying americans. So, stuff it!

    November 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Cherri

    Though I am not his biggest fan, I am happy he is doing better and bless him for taking on health care reform. There are WAY too many good, hardworking, prosperous people in this country who are losing their SHIRTS over medical costs. Insurance policies as they currently exist will not save you in a catastrophe.

    Go Ted!!! And Obama!! And McCain, too!! And what the heck, Hillary as well 🙂

    November 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Angie-OHIO

    God bless you Senator Kennedy. Welcome back.

    November 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. otis

    Hey Tam, this just in: Ted Kennedy IS the far left.

    November 17, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Danny

    Ted, it is time for you to retire. No need to come back to the senate.
    Universal; healthcare is a bad idea. You need to visit Canada and UK to find out the results. We do not need such bad projects.

    November 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  14. lmm

    Slapdown to Hillary – He'll show you again and won't put up with your stuff raining on HIS parade!!!!

    November 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. Scott Tucson

    GOD they need to dump this old clown along with Byrd!

    November 17, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. ron

    I don't really care about Kennedy. He is an old time liberal who hates small government. He should retire.

    November 17, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  17. Ralph

    Don't let the insurance companies handle the healthcare. We will just end up bailing them out too.

    November 17, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Brian

    Why would you want the Federal Government in charge of anything, they are terrible at it!

    November 17, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Carl from MI

    Socialized medicine... Socialized medicine... Socialized medicine...

    Let's throw out some more Republican talking points!!

    Socialism... Socialism... Socialism...

    Let's throw out some more Republican talking points!!

    Spread the wealth around... Spread the wealth around...

    Let's throw out some more Republican talking points!!

    Increased taxes... Increased taxes... Increased taxes...

    This ticker is supposed to be about welcoming back Teddy Kennedy... and all you Republican knee-jerks can do is continue to spew your hate and trash talk.

    America voted your guys out of office and out of power for a reason... because membership in the Republican Culture of Corruption just got out of control. Time for you guys to ride the bench for awhile!!

    Why do you Republicans even waste your time here on CNN, when you can go post on FOX all you want and be with your kind? Nobody wants you here, why waste your breath? Go where you're wanted.... not where you're despised!!!

    November 17, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. janine

    How sad is it that Republicans grumble about having to help other fellow Americans but are okay with sending billions of aid to other countries?

    November 17, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. Lisa

    Universal Health Care YAY!!! France have it and they have the best health care in the world.

    November 17, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. lindsey

    I suggest Ted only receive treatment from (socialized) Canadian hospitals for the rest of his illness/life. Then we'll see if he really believes in what he preaches.

    November 17, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. alvino

    Hey DMD!

    Relax. You are going to get responses when you make untrue statements about something you know nothing about.

    November 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Why won't this dweeb just stay home?

    And we don't need socialised medicine! The only people who want it are politicians like Kennedy who think the can buy votes by promising suckers "free" government goodies, and losers who want anyone other than themselves to pay their medical bills.

    November 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Chris

    David Stein wrote, "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

    COST – $0 ???!!! In other words this didn't cost YOU ANYTHING!. This is the problem!!! Nothing is FREE David; someone else paid YOUR expenses. You could at least say "Thank you" to the hardworking people who were ROBBED tp pay YOUR expenses.

    November 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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