Inouye, Kennedy had many bonds


POSTED: Thursday, August 27, 2009

When Hawaii's senior Sen. Daniel Inouye talks about Ted Kennedy, it carries much history.

The two came to the U.S. Senate within two months of each other 47 years ago.

While Kennedy took office in November 1962, Inouye took his Senate seat in January 1963.

In Senate seniority, Inouye goes from third to second, behind Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Today, Inouye, 84, flies to Boston for the funeral of Kennedy, 77, and will likely recall the day in 1963 when he broke the news of his brother's assassination to Ted Kennedy.

“;It is a very sad journey for me. We entered the Senate together,”; said Inouye, who was first elected to the U.S. House in 1959.

In a subdued news conference yesterday in his Honolulu office, Inouye said he was cutting short his congressional recess to attend the services for Kennedy, who died the day before.

;[Preview]  Local reactions to Senator Kennedy's passing

KITV4's Dick Allgire has Inouye's reactions on the passing of his longtime friend and colleague.

Watch ]


Inouye remembers that in 1963, Kennedy was presiding over the Senate session while Inouye was perusing the news clattering from a wire service teletype machine.

“;All of a sudden there was a flash from Dallas. It was the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

“;I quietly went into the chamber and went to his place and said: 'I think better you'd get out and see the wire services,' and I assumed the chair for him,”; Inouye said. “;It must have been a shocking experience for him.”;

Inouye says Kennedy was on the job until the end, and that 10 days ago Kennedy called, asking Inouye to put an appropriation for Massachusetts in the federal budget.

“;The next day he called and said, 'I see you put it in. Thank you,'”; Inouye said.

The health care battle now before Congress was important to Kennedy, Inouye said. While Inouye said he thinks his colleague's death may unite Democrats to press for the legislation's passage this year, Inouye wants certain items covered.

“;If we are to bring down the cost of health care, (people) must have some kind of choice and competition.

“;Choice is very important, we have found that the best way to control cost is with competition,”; Inouye said.