- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2008

Convicted felon Sen. Ted Stevens, who this week lost his re-election bid after serving Alaska for four decades, gave an emotional farewell address on the Senate floor Thursday morning that brought tears to many in the chamber.

“My motto has been here, to hell with politics, just do what is right for Alaska,” said Mr. Stevens said, whose voiced cracked several times during his 10 minute floor speech.

“I feel blessed by God to have had the opportunity to serve in this body I really must pinch myself to fully understand that I’m privileged to speak on the floor of the United States Senate.”

Mr. Steven, the longest serving Republican in the Senate, conceded defeat Wednesday in an extremely close re-election battle with Democratic challenger and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.

If Mr. Stevens had won, he faced expulsion from the Senate after his October conviction in federal court for concealing gifts from an oil-services company. He had said he will appeal the verdict.

Several senators used floor time to speak glowingly of Alaska’s senior senator, who turned 85 Tuesday.

“I think it’s safe to say that without an contradiction that no senator in the history of the United States Senate has done more fro his state than Sen. Ted Stevens,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, added that he “admired Mr. Stevens.”

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, and Sen. Pete V. Domenici wiped their face with handkerchiefs during and after Mr. Stevens said.

Mr. Byrd, 90, the longest serving senator, shouted “amen” several times from his wheelchair as an aide wheeled him out of the chamber after praising Mr. Stevens during a brief floor speech.

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