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. lovable liberal

    Ted Kennedy sure brings out the wingnuts. Most of them show by their comments that they don't have the first clue about anything. They don't know what Ted is proposing. They don't know the first thing about health care in every other first world democracy (and which work). They don't know what the word 'socialism' means. They still think the government is bad at everything – that's what Republicans tell them, and Republicans *are* bad at government. They don't know that Ted is dying and still working for a better America. They even call him a murderer, though they'd never call Laura Bush a murderer despite her fatal car accident. (And I wouldn't either.)

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

    I guess the haters just need to hate. They have no life without it. They live in their own pool of corrosive poison. The saddest part is they hate themselves the most.

    November 17, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. beckster

    Who is John Galt?

    November 17, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. David NC


    Until moving to the US for an employment transfer I lived in Ontario canada for 30 years under Universal healthcare- and it was great. I have noticed no comparable difference in care between Ontario and Nc where I live now- except I pay more here in bills and paid less i Canada in healthcare tax. bottom line: I pay more here for basically the same thing I received in Canada. Stop spreading disinformation on the quality of Canadian healthcare, please.
    PS- It was a CONSERVATIVE government in Ontario that brought Universal healthcare in during the 1960s- considered it their Christian duty. No joke.

    November 17, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. DJS

    This comment thread reinforces beyond doubt what gutless, spineless, pathetic morons "conservatives" and Republicans really are.

    Reprehensible losers. Go hang out with people who care about your loser opinions, the rest of us let you know what we thought of them on Nov. 4th.

    November 17, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Rochelle, why do you feel a need to fear your god? I'll never understand religion, or those who practice it...

    November 17, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. jowi681

    Ted's medical plan since the 1980's was to enroll all uninsured Americans into the federal plan since, as taxpayers, if they are good enough to pay for federal healthcare they are good enough to get it. The Clintons stole his idea and Obama filched theirs. I hope we call it the Kennedy Healthcare Bill. A fitting tribule to a policy we needed since WWII, when Eleanor Roosevelt said we needed healthcare because over 25% of the men were unfit for military service to fight fascism due to the absence of national health care. And, for the record, Medicare has the lowest percentage of revenue spent on "administrative" costs compared to any private insurer. So much for the conservatives worship of the private market.

    November 17, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. rose

    If only you people knew anything about universal healthcare other than the rhetoric fed to you by the liberal Dems. IT DOES NOT WORK. Ask anyone in Ireland, England, Canada or any other country who participates in this program. Unless it is a life-threatening situation, you wait on a list.....sometimes a very, very long list. My aunt in England had to wait TWO YEARS to have back surgery. Most Americans are only fed what the Dems want them to eat - nothing more.

    November 17, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Ellen

    ive been living in belgium for a couple of years now and belgian people need not worry bout ANYTHING when it comes to healthcare, sure they pay more taxes, but seriously how much do we pay the insurance companies?
    and calling people like ted kennedy socialists? what is that about, because we should still fear even the hint of communism? this isn't the cold war anymore and just as a reminder last time i checked the free market system wasn't treating us that well either...

    November 17, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Peggy

    Hey Liberian-Canada in Toronto....Did you know that the Canadians who can afford it come to the USA for medical care. Does that mean the health care in Canada is not good or just that you have to wait so long for it that you may be dead before your turn for care somes up. I say no to socialized medicine.........

    November 17, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Don

    Wonder if he was sober when he showed up?

    November 17, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Scott Tucson

    For Carl from MI...we had to listen to the consitant ranting ravings of hate comments from the democratic loons attacking Bush so as far as CHANGE's our turn to attack your president...fair is fair.

    November 17, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. ERNIE

    Welcome Back Teddy, We Love You!

    November 17, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. Kevin

    This man and the rest of the democrat cronies in Congress will bankrupt us all. R.I.P. Free Enterprise. If you are lazy and have your hand out, the democrats come to the rescue.

    November 17, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. Peyton

    Anyone who doesn't think a cure for cancer exists is a fool. Start naming powerful people/world leaders who die of cancer; short list, isn't it?

    November 17, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. anonymous in Big D

    Rose – you are soooooo correct. Where are we going to get all the doctors, hospitals, and general all around healthcare professionals if everyone and his/her dog are covered under a "universal" program? Egad, you democrats are stupid! Good friends of mine from ENGLAND, became U S citizens, mainly because of healthcare!!! They could buy their own here and get coverage! Wake up foolish dems.

    November 17, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Dee M

    .... We "waded" through the republican administration that did nothing for anyone or anybody but other countries, big corporation and the RICH. It is time for another approach -- why can't you do the same? It is indeed a republican trait to think you are the only people who know anything - that is why the rest of the world thinks America is nothing!!! Chill ...

    November 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  18. George

    Two more things.

    Re: Janine: I agree. Let's save our money for us without becoming isolationist. We give far too much money to people who hate us.

    And two, on a personal note. Although I disagree with your politics and disagree with pretty much every single thing you've ever stood for, Senator Kennedy, I'm glad you're feeling better.

    November 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. Frankie

    Duuuh, ROSE, read David from NC's post before you start mouthing off. He has actual experience, comparing his health care costs in Canada to those he incurs in NC.

    Oh, I forgot, you probably can't read very well....must be a product of all those social/education cuts ordered by your fellow conservatives who would much rather line their own pockets (can you spell W-A-L-L-S-T-R-E-E-T??) and fund military endeavors than put our tax money back into our domestic health and education programs.

    November 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. Ted, Washington DC

    Does anybody care on what Kennedy says ? Let the old man go to pasture.

    November 17, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  21. Dianne

    Jesse-- You cannot throw away all Senators because they become old. God willing, most of us will see long age. President Elect Obama is wise enough to know that senior Senator's have much to offer having learned through their years in government with failures and success. It's as if you were listening to grandparents give you the benefit of their experience in life. You make the decision, hopefully, merging various elements in your decisions. Besides, America needs to stop throwing away our senior citizens believing they donot know anything or haven't anything to give. President Elect Obama knows the final decision rest with him, but also knows the more infromation one has, the better the decision.

    November 17, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. andrea from MA

    welcome back teddy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 17, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  23. Ken

    I believe that it is time for the Senator to retire and let others carry the torch

    I also believe that it is time to start putting "Term Limits" for the Senators for then the "Special Interest groups" will have less time to promote their own agenda..

    November 17, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  24. Rob

    Welcome Back! You are needed and LOVED!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    What a great time for you to be around!

    November 17, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Ellen

    i'm covered now under a universal healthcare system and I dont have to wait ages to have surgery, though priority cases will always have priority...and YES you can choose which physician you go to...

    November 17, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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