Kennedy: 'I Don't Plan to Go Away Soon'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2009 9:25 PM CST
Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., arrives for Barack Obama's swearing-in.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)
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(Newser) – Ted Kennedy appreciates the sentiment, really. But this recent wave of eulogies might be a tad premature, he tells the New York Times. "Obviously I've been touched and grateful," he says in a phone interview. "Beyond that, I don’t really plan to go away soon." Friends say he remains an active behind-the-scenes player on health care reform, even if his return to Washington has been delayed twice by his treatment for brain cancer.

Kennedy turns 77 tomorrow and plans a quiet celebration with family. His doctor says Kennedy's recovery hinges on "setting goals"—making his DNC speech was first, followed by attending the inauguration. “Now, his goal is to play a central role in health care reform," said the doctor. "That’s what keeps him going.”