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Kennedy, Back From Surgery, Hits Ground Running

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) is back in the chamber today after a 2 1/2-week recuperation from a blocked artery surgery, and boy does he want everyone to know he's back.

In the span of a few hours, Kennedy joined with House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in releasing a report from the General Accounting Office on the impact global trade on public health. Then he introduced a bill, along with Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), to provide better mental health benefits to people caught up in the criminal justice system.

He topped off the first half day by delivering a nearly 3,400-word treatise on the Senate floor, a speech that touched on pretty much every topic of concern to the Senate during his recovery from the artery surgery. He ranged from the vetoed $35 billion expansion to the state Children's Health Insurance Program to spending on the Iraq war to reauthorizing funding for Amtrak to President Bush's energy policy to federal benefits for big oil companies. Oh, and he found time to savor the World Series sweep by his beloved Boston Red Sox.

Forgive Capitol Briefing for a momentary political diagnosis here - since I am totally unqualified to render a medical diagnosis - but it appears that Kennedy is definitely trying to convey a specific message: He's back, he's fine and healthy, and he's fully conversant in what's been going on in the world of politics (and baseball).

After his surgery Oct. 12, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston told reporters in a conference call that it was "routine" and it was a "success", telling us he would need a week to recover. Kennedy, 75, actually missed a full two week's worth of votes while he recovered.
While his doctors contended that the senator has no greater long-term health issues than most other 70-something males, they're constantly watching his weight and cholesterol levels. Concrern in Boston over Kennedy's health is something akin to concern in England over the well-being of Queen Elizabeth II and the concern in Rome over the Pope.

The Kennedy family is New England's version of royalty. Every hiccup by the man referred to by his aides as simply "The Senator" - as if the other 99 don't matter -- leads to speculation that something deeper is amiss and questions about the line of succession for a seat that has been in Kennedy-family hands for 53 of the last 55 years.

So, as if to signal to everyone on Capitol Hill and back home in Boston that things are OK, Kennedy hit the ground running this morning, covering more topics by noon - trade, health, war, public transit, criminal justice, and the national pastime - than most senators cover in a full week on the job.

"It's been a wonderful year for baseball in Boston. We're all enormously grateful to the whole team for such an inspiring and exciting season," Kennedy said, wrapping up his lengthy floor speech. "And we look forward to another great year in 2008."

Capitol Briefing looks forward to Kennedy's encore this afternoon and the rest of this week.

By Paul Kane  |  October 30, 2007; 2:43 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Hes like the antagonist from a horror movie - no matter how hard you wish and pray, the homicidal bufoon just will not go away.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | October 30, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Just want to clear Ted's head, he wasn't included in the whole dynasty thing. JFK Jr and Caroline were and are the last of the line.

I guess the Bostonites missed the hiccup part where he murdered a young girl, helped his disgusting nephew rape another one. Plus keep his son out of jail. He has a long list of baggage that to the world out side of the beantown group that no one cares a flip about the old degenerate or his degenerate brood.

As far as the old commie's far left as anyone can get with his views or opinions he is a running joke. I guess beantown just doesn't get that the real world out side of them really can't stand him. They are welcome to him.

Posted by: Sierra Foxtrot | October 30, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

When will this nation be relieved of this waste of humanity. Liar, murderer, alcoholic, lecherous oaf, what else is he guilty of.
When he wears his suit, he looks like one of thos 'bobble head dolls'. Disgusting!
Sergeant Major

Posted by: Sergeant Major | October 31, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

He should have retired. We are tired of him. He does more harm than good to citizens. He's all for his big business cronies and does not have a clue what citizens wants or needs are. He just doesn't care about us-just himself and his glory.

Posted by: Chance | October 31, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Ted "hit the ground running"?

"Hitting the ground" is a usual position for this drunk,but "running"?

Have you seen Ted lately?

His pace is better described as a duck-like waddle.

Posted by: emitromjr | October 31, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

He left out what most people (outside Mass.)
wanted to hear. His retirement!

Posted by: Tom Whitten | October 31, 2007 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Ted Kennedy is living proof that term limits are needed. After 40+ years in the Senate, it has long been the time for him to go. As a matter of fact, he never should have been in the Senate after the death of a young woman in his car after he left her in the car to drown, and did not recport the incident for 10 hours. Wake up Massachusetts -- his picture should be in the dictionary alongside the definition of sleazy. Need more proof -- check the "Big Dig" in Boston.

Posted by: Ellen | November 1, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

This is a test comment

Posted by: labellaelle | November 1, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm from outside Mass. and for one am glad that Kennedy is still a powerful voice in the Senate despite what personal issues he may have.

Posted by: Michael | November 1, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Speaking as one who has watched the totality of his Senate career, from being the "little brother" to the "liberal lion", I can say that when he is gone from the chamber, the Senate will miss him.
He has been a champion for the dispossessed, the belittled, civil rights, and good government.
He was also one of the few Senators who had the foresight and courage to vote against this misbegotten war.
He's not, personally, a saint, and never claimed to be one. But, as a Senator, his work is beyond reproach.
You might not agree with him, but you have to respect the work he has done (and is doing) for his constituents.
Massachusetts isn't liberal/progressive because he is our Senator, he is our senator because we are liberal/progressive.

Posted by: capemh | November 1, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

It was good, finally, to see a positive comment about Sen. Kennedy's return. Most of the others sounded like high school sophomores trying to one-up someone with slams but with nothing to say about his record. There might have been some honest disagreement with his positions, but they seemed to prefer insults.

Posted by: David Irvine | November 1, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Senator Kennedy is a great liberal statesman and Huss, Sierra Foxtrot, Sergeant Major, and Ellen (above) are fascists.

Posted by: Delaware Jim | November 2, 2007 6:09 AM | Report abuse

The problem is not with Kennedy's return, but with most American's who are still living in the brainwashed, anti communist, extremist propaganda from the 1940s. Its a new century people.

Posted by: Josh | November 2, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

It is dispiriting to see how some of those who oppose Senator Kennedy's policies revert to twisted, mean-spirited, and infantile insults and smears. You don't have to agree with the man to note that not only has he been enormously effective, but that his knowledge, experience, and willingness to work across the aisle has benefited the nation in many ways. Public servants don't have to be saints to be effective, and historically few have been.

I just wish some of those who claims to be patriotic, would study our nation's history just long enough to realize that our democracy will only work if we engage in spirited, but civil debate. Otherwise it's going to be a long downward spiral ahead of us for sure.

Posted by: Garen C. | November 2, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

We all have baggage, especially republicans who have no conscience. So back off of Senator Kennedy and let him do the work for Democrates and for his state. He is a fine statesman.

Posted by: babs | November 2, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: sawargos | November 2, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Her name was Mary Jo Kopechne. She might have had a great career, had she never met Ted Kennedy she may have changed the world, but we'll never know because a drunk loser drove her to her death and then left her to rot as he floundered for hours looking for some way to escape the horrible thing he had done. He should have gone to jail, his career should have ended and justice should have been served.

Instead he went on with his miserable existence and the people of the United States have had to endure his pathetic career ever since.
You can call me whatever names you want while you stick up for this homicidal buffoon. I dare you to go tell Mary Jo Kopechne's family what a great man you think her murderer is. You scum.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | November 2, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

BTW to those of you who think I oppose Kennedy's policies, am a fascist, or just a plain old meanie Republican, I'm not any of the above.

I AM disgusted by the man who is Ted Kennedy, and by the unquestioning support he receives from people who would crucify any other politician who was even caught drunk driving, much less committing vehicular homicide. You people would (righfully) condemn a Senator for trying to get sex in a men's room, but then turn around and kiss the feet of a man who is responsible for a young woman's death.

Some may think he's a great man. A great man would have taken responsibility. A great man would not have denied Mary Jo the only thing left he could give her -

Posted by: Patrick Huss | November 2, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

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