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More Post-Inauguration News: The Kennedy Collapse, Byrd Illness

By admin Published: January 20, 2009

Reports on CNN that a Senator has collapsed at the luncheon; talk at first that it was Robert Byrd, then that it's Ted Kennedy. The luncheon appears to be proceeding routinely, presentations of gifts and photographs. ABC says there is an ambulance on the scene and that Kennedy has been taken out of the luncheon, but Gibson admits some uncertainty. CBS also notes that he has left the luncheon.

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell offers a report, but is saying the medical emergency involves Robert Byrd. CNN graphic is now saying just that a "senator collapsed."

President Obama speaks at the luncheon, and notes "concern was expressed about Teddy" and pays brief tribute to Kennedy. CNN graphic then confirms that Kennedy collapsed.

After Obama's speech, NBC's Brian Williams bluntly says "as we all learned from the top of the President's remarks, we were wrong" and goes back, ice in his voice, to O'Donnell. O'Donnell says a congressman came out and explained that Kennedy had a seizure. Blames the error in part on Byrd's not having attended the luncheon, and having his own health problems, and that Kennedy had looked "pretty good" in recent days.

At FNC, Chris Wallace calls Kennedy's illness "one of the very few blemishes on what has been an extraordinary day." But Kennedy has become a major part of the news coverage.

CNN now says that Byrd and Kennedy both collapsed at the luncheon. MSNBC says both "suffered medical trouble." Howard Fineman says Byrd looked ill, and was escorted out. Then "a minute or so later," Kennedy began having convulsions. Sen. Orrin Hatch, friend of Kennedy, says he appared to have a seizure at lunch but was conscious and smiled by the time he got into the ambulance.

CNN has backpedaled from saying both senators collapsed.

Parade begins.

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