Sen. Edward Kennedy took the helm of his sailboat "Mya" on Monday and rode a stiff southern wind from Nantucket back to Hyannis in a regatta just a week after undergoing a brain biopsy that diagnosed him with cancer.
The Massachusetts Democrat made partially good on a pledge from the prior week by competing in the second half of the "Figawi" boat race between the island and Cape Cod. He missed Saturday's outbound leg but got up early on Memorial Day and took a ferry across Nantucket Sound to compete in the return leg.
Also aboard for the more than two-hour journey were his wife, Vicki, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and relatives including sons Patrick and Edward Jr. and stepdaughter Caroline Raclin.
"It couldn't be a more wonderful day," Kennedy told several dozen well-wishers and a handful of reporters who greeted him dockside just down the street from his family's vacation compound.
The senator said he relished the company of "great friends and family" while Dodd, Kennedy's closest friend in the Senate, and Vicki Kennedy nodded in agreement.
Kennedy and his wife declined to discuss his upcoming treatment. Doctors are considering using chemotherapy, radiation or a combination to treat the tumor that triggered a seizure on May 17. Treatment could start as early as this week.
Kennedy planned to compete in the Figawi even after doctors determined last week that he suffered from a malignant brain tumor.
Kennedy has won the Figawi contest twice.
"He was at the helm the whole way, doing what he always does, guiding the boat to the head of the fleet," said family friend David Nunes of Colorado, an associate who regularly races with the senator and was on the boat as a crew member.
After the race was over, the group sat at anchor off Hyannis Port for an hour before coming ashore. "We always like to rehash the race," Nunes said.
Kennedy has had a limited public schedule since getting out of Massachusetts General Hospital last Wednesday.
Besides skipping the first part of the regatta Saturday, Kennedy also missed a commencement address he was slated to deliver Sunday at Wesleyan University. Instead, he asked Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama to address the graduates — including stepdaughter Caroline — at the Middletown, Conn., campus.
Kudos to you, old man. Keep it up.
Castro Criticizes Obama Over Embargo
Former President Fidel Castro says Sen. Barack Obama's plan to maintain Washington's trade embargo against Cuba will cause hunger and suffering on the island.
In a column published Monday by government-run newspapers, Castro said Obama was "the most-advanced candidate in the presidential race," but noted that he has not dared to call for altering U.S. policy toward Cuba.
"Obama's speech can be translated as a formula for hunger for the country," Castro wrote, referring to Obama's remarks last week to the influential Cuban American National Foundation in Miami.
Obama said he would maintain the nearly fifty-year-old trade sanctions against Cuba as leverage to push for democratic change on the island. But he also vowed to ease restrictions on Cuban Americans traveling to Cuba and sending money to relatives.
He repeated his willingness to meet with Raul Castro, who in February succeeded his elder brother Fidel to become the nation's first new leader in 49 years.
Castro said Obama's proposals for letting well-off Cuban Americans help poorer relatives on the island amounted to "propaganda for consumerism and a way of life that is unsustainable."
He complained that Obama's description of Cuba as "undemocratic" and "lacking in respect for liberty and human rights" was the same argument previous U.S. administrations "have used to justify their crimes against our homeland."
Castro, 81, has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency surgery in July 2006, but he often publishes columns in state newspapers.
Obama's calls for direct talks with Cuban leaders differ sharply from a more hardline policy favored by current President Bush and Republican presidential candidate John McCain, whom Castro also has criticized.
Castro's column came three days after a prominent dissident group wrote an open letter to Obama suggesting that his idea of talking directly with Cuban leaders could help win freedom for prisoners.
"We have great hope that you can contribute to the immediate, unconditional liberation" of prisoners, wrote the Ladies in White, a group formed by relatives of people jailed in a government crackdown on political opposition in 2003.
Former President Bill Clinton said that Democrats were more likely to lose in November if Hillary Clinton is not the nominee, and suggested some were trying to "push and pressure and bully" superdelegates to make up their minds prematurely.?
"I can't believe it. It is just frantic the way they are trying to push and pressure and bully all these superdelegates to come out," Clinton said at a South Dakota campaign stop Sunday, in remarks first reported by "ABC News."
Clinton also suggested some were trying to "cover up" Sen. Clinton's chances of winning in key states that Democrats will have to win in the general election.
" 'Oh, this is so terrible: The people they want her. Oh, this is so terrible: She is winning the general election, and he is not. Oh my goodness, we have to cover this up.' "
Clinton did not expound on who he was accusing.
The former president added that his wife had not been given the respect she deserved as a legitimate presidential candidate.
"She is winning the general election today and he is not, according to all the evidence," Clinton said. "And I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running."
"Her only position was, 'Look, if I lose I'll be a good team player. We will all try to win, but let's let everybody vote, and count every vote,' " he said.
The former president suggested that if the New York senator ended the primary season with an edge in the popular vote, it would be a significant development.
"If you vote for her and she does well in Montana and she does well in Puerto Rico, when this is over she will be ahead in the popular vote," Clinton said.
"And they're trying to get her to cry uncle before the Democratic Party has to decide what to do in Florida and Michigan," which Clinton said the party would need to do "unless we want to lose the election."
The current requirement to claim the Democratic presidential nomination is 2,026 delegates, a formula that does not take into account delegates from Florida and Michigan, whose contests were not sanctioned by the party because they moved them up earlier on the primary calendar.
But if those votes were counted as cast, Hillary Clinton would still trail rival Barack Obama in the overall delegate count.
The former president said Sunday that the media had unfairly attacked his wife since the Iowa caucuses, repeating an often-used charge that press coverage had made him feel as though he were living in a "fun house."
"If you notice, there hasn't been a lot of publicity on these polls I just told you about," he said. "It is the first time you've heard it? Why do you think that is? Why do you think? Don't you think if the polls were the reverse and he was winning the Electoral College against Senator McCain and Hillary was losing it, it would be blasted on every television station?"
He added, "You would know it wouldn't you? It wouldn't be a little secret. And there is another Electoral College poll that I saw yesterday had her over 300 electoral votes. ... She will win the general election if you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure you don't."