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Presidential Candidates Offer Prayers for Sen. Kennedy

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The Post's Dan Balz speaks with washingtonpost.com's Ed O'Keefe about the legacy of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). (Photos By The Post, Reuters, AP; video by Ed O'Keefe.)

Updated 2:03 p.m.
By Matthew Mosk
EUGENE, Ore. -- Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) was transported by helicopter from Cape Cod Hospital to Massachusetts General Hospital this morning after an emergency call from the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. The Boston Globe is reporting that doctors believe Kennedy "suffered a seizure at his home in Hyannis Port this morning, then a second seizure as he was being transported by helicopter from Cape Cod Hospital."

"He is undergoing a battery of tests at Massachusetts General Hospital to determine the cause of the seizure," said his spokesperson, Stephanie Cutter. "Senator Kennedy is resting comfortably, and it is unlikely we will know anything more for the next 48 hours."

The hospital is expected to provide a briefing this afternoon on the condition of the 76-year old Kennedy, who joined the Senate in 1962.

Sen. Barack Obama, who has enjoyed Kennedy's aggressive backing in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, offered his prayers and best wishes while on a campaign stop at a hospital in Eugene, Ore.

Before meeting with nurses at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Obama asked to say a few words about Kennedy.

"I know a lot of you are interested in the situation with Senator Kennedy. I have been in contact with the family. Obviously they are in our thoughts and prayers," Obama said.

Obama said he spoke this morning with Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the senator's wife.

"They, I am sure, will be releasing some sort of a statement when they have a better assessment of what the situation is. But you know, as I have said many times before, Senator Kennedy is a giant in American political history," Obama said.

"He has done more for the health care of others than just about anybody in history. So we are going to be rooting for him. And I insist on being optimistic about how it is going to turn out," he said.

Sens. John McCain and Hillary Clinton also issued statements about the Massachusetts Democrat.

"I was very sorry to hear that Senator Kennedy has taken ill, and like millions of Americans, Cindy and I anxiously await word of his condition. Senator Kennedy's role in the U.S. Senate cannot be overstated," McCain said.

"He is a legendary lawmaker, and I have the highest respect for him," his statement continued. "When we have worked together, he has been a skillful, fair and generous partner. I consider it a great privilege to call him my friend. Cindy and I are praying for our friend, his wife, Vicki and the Kennedy family."

Clinton, campaigning in Kentucky, said: "My thoughts and prayers are with Ted Kennedy and his family today. We all wish him well and a quick recovery."

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 17, 2008; 1:17 PM ET
 
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