Senator Edward Kennedy showed up at President Barack Obama’s healthcare summit Wednesday and got a welcome befitting his new title.
“Sir Edward Kennedy,” Obama said, gesturing toward the Massachusetts senator, a longtime leader on the healthcare issue. The crowd at the White House event applauded warmly.
“That’s the kind of greeting a knight deserves,” the president said.
The British government announced Tuesday that Kennedy had been awarded an honorary knightood by Queen Elizabeth in recognition of his service to U.S.-British relations. The announcement came as Prime Minister Gordon Brown was visiting Washington.
Kennedy, who turned 77 on Feb. 22, has brain cancer and has spent little time in Washington this year.
He underwent surgery last year to remove a malignant tumor and suffered a seizure Jan. 21 at Obama’s inaugural luncheon.
Kennedy was an early supporter of the president and chairs one of the Senate committees that oversees healthcare.
“It is thrilling to see you here, Teddy,” Obama said. “We are so grateful for you taking the time to be here and the extraordinary work that your committee has already started to do.”
Kennedy praised Obama for bringing the diverse group together.
“I’m looking forward to being a foot soldier in this undertaking,” he said, “and this time we will not fail.”
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