Biden Bids Farewell to Senate Colleagues
Thursday, January 15, 2009; 1:18 PM
BIDEN: Mr. President, let me begin by thanking the leaders for their kind comments. It is true that I have been here a long time, I say to my friend from Kentucky. As a matter of fact, as I -- I prepared some remarks, I say to my friend from Hawaii, I remember the first time I stood on the floor as a United States senator. It was a desk directly to your left, Senator, the top row here, second in. It was temporarily my desk.
And I remember standing up, and having been told that the desk on my right was the desk of Henry Clay's, on my left Daniel Webster, because the senior senator from the respective states got those desks.
And I say to my friend from California, it was the only time I can remember being speechless...
... when I stood there as a 30-year-old kid thinking, "Oh, my God."
Well, I never thought I'd be standing here today. I never believed serving this chamber was my destiny, but it always was a big part of my dreams.
You know, I remember vividly the first time I walked in this chamber, I walked through those doors. I walked through those doors as a 21-year-old tourist. I had been down visiting some of my friends at Georgetown University. I went to the University of Delaware, and I was -- I had a blind date with a young lady from a school they used to call Visi (ph), Visitation, which is now part of Georgetown. My good friend, a guy named Dave Walsh (ph) was there.
And after the evening staying at his apartment, I got up and -- I shouldn't say this probably, but I -- I don't drink. Not for moral reasons, I just never had a drink. And there's nothing worse being the sober guy in a bunch of -- with a bunch of college guys who have a hangover the next morning.
So I got up and decided I'd get in the car. It's a true story, Tommy (ph) -- or Senator Carper. And I drove up to the Capitol.
BIDEN: I've always been fascinated with it. In those days, you could literally drive right up to the front steps. This is -- I was 21 years old. This is 1963.
And I say to my friend from Iowa, I drove up to the steps, and there was a rare Saturday session that just ended. So I walked up the steps, found myself in front of what we call the elevators. And I walked to the right, went in the reception room, there was no one there.