Kennedy’s Unfinished Agenda

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Here’s a web story on Kennedy’s very full plate. In researching about brain tumors I came across some interesting, if not terribly relevant to Kennedy’s case, tidbits from the Senate Historian’s Office. There have been at least two other senators this century who also suffered from tumors, unfortunately both died in office.

The first one was Senate Minority Leader Charles McNary, the Republican vice presidential nominee in 1940 against FDR. Roosevelt clobbered him and his running mate Wendell Willkie, winning the Electoral College 449-82. McNary developed a brain tumor in late 1943 and died after an unsuccessful surgery in early 1994 1944. Interestingly, Willkie died six months later of heart disease, making it the only time in history both candidates on a presidential ticket died before the term they sought had finished – imagine the drama if they’d been elected.

The second was Claire Engle, whom some of you may remember. The California senator was wheeled in for the monumental civil rights vote on June 10, 1964 helping the bill’s supporters reach the 67 votes needed to end the filibuster. Engle was pretty far gone by that point and couldn’t speak. When his name was called there was a moment of silence in the chamber and all eyes swung to Engle who slowly lifted his crippled arm to point to his eye to register his vote in the affirmative. Alas, he died soon after.

Again, neither has any bearing on Kennedy’s case, just some trivia for you.