Daschle's Opening Remarks

CQ Transcripts Wire
Thursday, January 8, 2009; 2:34 PM

FORMER SENATOR TOM DASCHLE (D-S.D.): I thank you and I thank Senator Enzi for the opportunity to talk about an issue that we care so deeply about. And before I get into my statement, let me just thank my family especially for being here as they are and for all of the support and affection and encouragement that they've given me over these past few weeks and months. It has meant everything to me.

It also means a great deal that two very, very close and dear friends could be here to introduce me. Tim and I have known each other for well over 30 years in so many different stages in life. And I'm honored to call him one of my best friends and I am grateful for the extraordinary leadership and partnership that he has -- he has shown South Dakota these many, many years.

Bob Dole has gone the extra mile to show what it is to be friends with somebody on the other side of the aisle. He has reached out to me from the very beginning when I came to the Senate, when I became leader. When I left the Senate, he was the very first person to come to be to talk about post-Senate life and he has been my partner as he said for four years at the law firm. And I can't tell you how much I appreciate that friendship.

He mentioned this line we do we've kind of adopted -- when he's not around, I use his lines and I don't think he's ever had to use mine. But we talk about I was introduced once as a model politician and a model legislation and a model South Dakotan. Linda showed me the word model as it's defined in the dictionary and there it's defined as a small replica of the real thing. And... (LAUGHTER)

Well in the best sense of the word, Bob Dole is a model friend and somebody that I have admired and will continue to admire the rest of my life.

I want to thank all of my former colleagues and friends on the committee dais as well from keeping our food and medicine safe to tracking infectious diseases, to helping families in need, to researching the cures of tomorrow, to providing care to underserved populations. The Department of Health and Human Services has a significant role to play in keeping America healthy.

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