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. MarieClaude

    The healthcare issue is not only ensuring that everyone in the USA has access to health insurance, it is also making sure that those who are covered receive the care they need and that mental health coverage is brought to par with physical health coverage. So far, this is not happening and these two issues should be given as much consideration as providing every person access to medical coverage. I trust that Mr. Kennedy and the new administration will do their best to address this problem.

    November 17, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Kate

    God Bless You Senator Kennedy. Welcome Back!

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

    For Scott of Tucson: Bush was allowed to earn his reputation. Let's give Obama that same right.

    November 17, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. Paul

    Senator Kennedy may be long-serving, but he does not have my support or admiration:

    Claims to be Catholic

    Supports Abortion

    Accepts the Eucharist

    He cannot be true to his professed faith yet accepts the eucharist, fully knowing that he shouldn't because he is obstinate about his support for abortion which, by the act itself, excumminicates himself from the Catholic Church. He should not be accepting the Eucharist and knows it. He is living in a lie and knows it. I would not support any politician who knows that he, himself is a liar.

    I pray that he changes his will and supports the most innocent of human lives.

    November 17, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Ellen


    i care what he has to say, and i for one am glad Bush is gone. lets hope that obama and his democratic team members can do what they've been promising us

    November 17, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Michael -Ventura,CA

    Welcome Back Teddy! We love you!! THE LION IS BACK and ready to fight again!

    November 17, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Jeff Magal

    People must understand that HEALTH CARE is a right for with little and those with much. Tell where the founding fathers disagree with that concept? To the conservative evangelicals: Why would Jesus oppose such concept? You hypocrites!!!!! You model your belief system after the greedy and ungodly and want to preach "justice for all!" There is a huge number of AMERICANS that DIE for they cannot afford health care, or are DROPPED off they policies for pre-existing conditions, or are denied treatment everyday. How AMERICAN is that? BTW, take time to go to Canada, France, England, Switzerland and other countries to analyze their health care systems first hand... Educate yourself by exploring a diverse number of sources and FIRST HAND experience. Many POLITICIANS make millions of dollars from "private health care" of course the thought of losing their "sponsors" will drive fear into their souls... Do you want to do something American? Help this country care for those who cannot care for themselves...

    November 17, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. gino

    The word "senator" means "old one." Presumably experience can make one wise. At least that's what we hope. The agism on this list is apparent and appalling.

    November 17, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. A Really Conservative Realist

    Liberian-Canada in Toronto

    It is laughable for a Canadian [with your weaker military, much younger, much weaker constitution, and more highly taxed peolple] to speak under the guise of advice toward your southern neighbor. I'm glad you are our ally, but just think before you type.

    I do love coming to Canada and shooting those big Alberta deer. My bad, you likely think this is barbaric.

    November 17, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. james s roberts

    When DMD wrote; "Medicare, Medicaid and Unemployment benefits are socialized 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!"

    I am curious to learn what subsidies to FDIC, dairy farmers, fishery and bailouts of FDIC, Mortgage Companies, Investment Brokers, Banks, Airline Industry, is called? It's called socialism.

    And oh, wait I hear Federal Government is debating bailing out automotive industry.

    The above is fiscal conservative list. As a libertarian I would add the US Military, military foreign add to countries like Israel ($5B) and others.

    November 17, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Delighted to have him back!

    November 17, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. eleanor fitzgerald

    On Universal health care, relatives of ours in both England, and Ireland are very happy with universal health care and are in very good health. We on the other hand find in our retirement that at times it takes three or more months to see a specialist in this country except when you are brought into the emergency room by ambulance. We are also very tired of seeing our hard earned money redistributed upward to the rich and greedy by Republicans in power.

    November 17, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. Frankie

    So, Paul, let's see now, you won't support Kennedy or any other politician because they "lie"????
    Gee, wasn't it tough to vote for McCain, knowing that he lied repeatedly to his loyal, disfigured wife while he was out cheating on her with Cindy and countless other bimbos?

    Looks like you're the hypocrite, my friend.

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

    Hey Frankie....I'm not a conservative. I'm just someone who has traveled and has family in many European countries who suffer from ailments that aren't quite severe enough for them to merit immediate medical attention under the universal health care program.

    Before you start shooting your mouth off about people, countries and programs that you know nothing about, why don't you get your head out of the liberal democratic sand pit that you've buried it in and do some research, instead of repeating the rehetoric that is spoon fed you.

    November 17, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. G.R.I.T. - Girl Raised in the South

    Rochelle – the nurse is coming by to give you your meds.

    God does not "get" people. He loves his children, even when they make mistakes. He even loves them when they do not behave in Christian ways as taught by Christ. For example, threatening people that God will get them is not living by the example Christ set. Christ did not die on the cross so you can threaten people. God is love, you need to learn that.

    November 17, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Ex-Republican for Obama

    @George November 17th, 2008 2:28 pm ET

    To answer your question: Because the child might turn out like you!

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

    Who is "for" abortion? What is the punishment you guys want for a woman who chooses to have an abortion–always a terrible outcome? The death penalty? It is murder, after all, isn't it? I have not heard an answer to that question from my Catholic colleagues.

    November 17, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Laynie (from AZ)

    Why does everyone on here have to spread such negativity and the random babble they heard on bias news shows?

    Do your own research and see the positives and negatives of universal healthcare and look into what Senator Kennedy actually wants to institute before babbling on here just to vent your own confusion and pent up anger.

    As for me.. Thank you for all your service to our country and working to try to better people's circumstances. Welcome back Senator Kennedy. I hope you continue to feel well and that you have a full recovery!!

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

    Welcome back the lion. It is amazing that some people professed to be pro life,yet they support and encourage wars, what an irony?

    November 17, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. Ellen

    really conservative,

    are you kidding me? what about the difference in age between europe and the US, are you going to state that talking about their healthcare system is ridiculous too?
    and rude and ignorant can you be?

    November 17, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    The Kennedy lost three sons in service to the country, worked for evrything they have and continue to help humanity.

    Meanwhile the Bush family stole everything they have and McCain married rich – a real challenge!

    November 17, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  22. G.R.I.T. - Girl Raised in the South

    Paul –

    The rules that you believe Ted Kennedy should live by are the creation of the Catholic Church, not God's creation. If the Catholic Church wants to be so narrow minded, let them, it does not mean that everyone else has to follow. There are a lot of things the Catholic Church supports or requires that are not biblical in the least and are not what God wishes for his children.

    November 17, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Scott In Canada

    Let me many people have lost everything in the US because of their medical bills? I ask you this, what is the point in being cured if you are just going to end up homeless and penniless? The healthcare system in the US only works for those who can afford it, the upper 20% of the population that has laid waste to the other 80% of the population. I applaud Senator Kennedy for making this his number 1 priority.
    Yes here in Canada we have long wait lists due to not having enough doctors. They all bailed on us to follow the American dream where they could get filthy rich off of other people's misery. With any luck these will be the same doctors who are now losing everything in the stock market. Universal Health Care works when you take greed out of the equation.

    November 17, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. wait a minute

    Welcome back, Senator!

    November 17, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. Robin in SC

    I'm a health care administrator and for those who think a "universal" type health plan is socialist, anti-Christian, unconstitutional, etc., think again. Without some kind of fix that provides health care coverage to those who either don't qualify, can't afford, or have no access to coverage otherwise, those docs that you have the choice of seeing will be locking their doors. Physicians simply cannot provide free care to the indigent and uninsured who show up in ERs nationwide on a regular basis. Doctors will be employed by hospitals because they cannot afford to practice independently anymore. If something isn't done to cover all the uninsureds who are draining our health care system, there won't be care for any of us.

    November 17, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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