- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 7, 2016

President Obama choked up and wiped away tears Tuesday night while delivering the eulogy for his late friend Cassandra Quin Butts, a trusted adviser and friend from law school who died at age 50 from cancer.

Calling her his “moral compass” in the White House counsel’s office, Mr. Obama described Ms. Butts as “a person I trusted to make sure that everyone I hired understood the values of this administration.”

A pool reporter who attended the service at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington said Mr. Obama paused to catch his breath as he described Ms. Butts as someone who demonstrated that service to others is “what makes your life count.”

Mr. Obama nominated her in 2014 to be U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas; she was still awaiting Senate confirmation when she died. Her nomination was blocked first by Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, who had placed a “hold” on all State Department nominees, and later by Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, who wanted to make a point with the administration over a Secret Service leak of private information about another lawmaker.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Cotton told the New York Times that the lawmaker had enormous respect for Ms. Butts and her career.

The president said his friend “made me better, and I believe she made us better.”

“She was a kind person,” Mr. Obama said, choking up. “It turns out, as you get older, kindness counts for a lot. She was my friend. She was as true a person as I ever met. I loved her dearly, and I will miss her badly. We pray that the Lord grants our sister Cassandra eternal peace.”

As he walked to his seat, Mr. Obama wiped away tears.

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