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Obama may visit ailing Ted Kennedy -- if the senator's up to it

Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy and President Obama at a bill signing ceremony in April 2009 that tripled the number of volunteers in AmeriCorps

Ted Kennedy, the patriarch of his famous political family and 47-year veteran of Congress whose passion for progressive politics has earned him the sobriquet "The Lion of the Senate," is ailing.

The 77-year-old Massachusetts senator, who's battling brain cancer, has lasted longer than doctors expected, according to his son Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy. Confined mostly to the Kennedy compound at Hyannisport, Mass., the senator goes sailing and sits on the porch of his seaside home, sharing stories about family and politics, talking to his children, according to the younger Kennedy. Last week he was too weak to attend the funeral for his sister, the founder of Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, or the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House at which his daughter Kara accepted his award. He has been described as "frail and failing during his brief public appearances."

Still, President Obama, who won the election last year after Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg bestowed the blessings of Camelot on his candidacy, is hoping to visit during his week-long vacation on Martha's Vineyard with his family. (See an earlier Ticket item on the first family's Republican-owned digs.)

The Boston Herald is reporting that the Secret Service made a security trip to the compound -- perhaps they've been there before? -- to prepare, but cautioned that an Obama visit will "only happen if the senator is up to it."

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: President Obama with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy at a Washington, D.C., charter school in April just before signing the Serve America Act, which tripled the number of AmeriCorp volunteers. Credit: Getty Images

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Comments () | Archives (6)

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I have the utmost respect for Senator Kennedy, but I gotta ask - why not resign from the Senate, given his condition? Given the divisions in the Senate concerning health care - Kennedy's signature issue - every vote counts, and Senator Kennedy is not able to exercise that vote at this point in time.

How can you respect a man that, thru his own irresponsible behavior, killed Mary Jo Kopechne?

Maybe he should go see the wizard and get a new brain

Enough is enough. I wish Ted Kennedy no harm, but he has done enough to this country and led a life of drunkeness, gotten away with manslaughter, and lived of the public trough for over 47 years. I have no respect for this man and have never understood why the voters of his state set such a low bar for their elected officials. Kennedy won't resign because nothing or nobody is as important to him, as him. Camelot was a farce and so is Ted Kennedy.

I can't believe anyone would consider something this guy has to say anything but self serving and politically motivated. I also don't understand why the people of Massachusetts have supported Ted Kennedy for all these years. Just think how they have chosen to look the other way. What does that say about them as his constituency? I think this is how most American's vote and aren't vested or won't take responsibility for the people they put into office. Please understand I feel most are in office to support what they benefit from not what we need .

Senator Kennedy is simply doing what any other US Senator would do in a similar situation. Democrat or Republican it just politics. I would like to thank Senator Kennedy for being such a strong force in shaping our society for the better.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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