An Enchanted Evening With Ted Kennedy

This might be called Kennedy night in the nation's capital. A star-studded birthday party is being thrown for Sen. Ted Kennedy at the Kennedy Center. And the senator - who's been battling brain cancer - will receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

As birthday parties go, reports CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes, it's hard to beat a blowout celebration in a building that carries your family's name. Especially when a who's-who of Washington makes the guest list.

The Kennedy Center calls it "Some Enchanted Evening." The entertainment includes Senator Kennedy's favorites - James Taylor, Bill Cosby, Bernadette Peters and Lauren Bacall.

It's not Kennedy's actual birthday - he turned 77 a few weeks ago. But the belated bash marks a somewhat rare appearance for the Senator in Washington.

As he battles brain cancer, Kennedy is spending most of his time in Florida, recuperating and writing his memoirs. He does make it to the capitol when necessary - voting on the stimulus bill and just last week attending the White House forum on health care, an issue he's long championed.

But his seizure at President Obama's inaugural lunch was a reminder that with brain cancer, the outlook is often grim. So this is more than just a birthday party - it's a celebration of Kennedy's life.

It's the latest in a string of honors for Kennedy - just Wednesday the British prime minister announced that the Irish senior Senator from Massachusetts had been made an honorary knight by the Queen of England.

"We owe a great debt to the life and courage of Senator Edward Kennedy," said prime minister Gordon Brown.

That, reports Cordes, is a sentiment shared by those at the Kennedy Center on this enchanted evening.
By Nancy Cordes

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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.