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From his home in Hyannis Port, Mass. where he is recovering from treatment for a brain tumor, the Massachusetts Democrat on Thursday met via teleconference with nine colleagues on Capitol Hill who serve with him on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The senators -- eight Democrats and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- gathered at a conference table in a committee room to watch on a 37-inch monitor.

"Senator Kennedy looked good, was in good spirits, very engaged in the issues, and he urged the committee members to work together on health care reform," said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.

Senator Kennedy's dogs, Sunny and Splash, were seen and heard on the call as well.

Kennedy, chairman of the committee, in recent weeks has been laying the groundwork for a renewed push early next year on his signature issue, universal health care. He hopes to capitalize on any momentum that the next president carries into office, particularly if it is Democrat Barack Obama, an ally on health care.

The 76-year-old Kennedy plans to work from his Cape Cod home this fall and return to the Senate in January.

Kennedy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor after he had a seizure in May. He has had surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation.

He made a surprise appearance at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, delivering a speech that drew a rousing response from the delegates.


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