Outgoing Senators Say Goodbye In Farewell Speeches

It is tradition in the U.S. Senate that outgoing members give a farewell speech. Morning Edition has a sampling of addresses delivered over the last few weeks.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Some of your United States senators have been saying goodbye after announcing their retirements, or getting beaten this year. Rather than a gold watch, they get an opportunity to deliver a farewell address. And we're about to play you a composite farewell. It includes remarks on the Senate floor from Republicans Sam Brownback, Jim Bunning, George Voinovich and Christopher Bond. We'll also hear from Democrats Evan Bayh, Blanche Lincoln and Roland Burris. And we begin with Chris Dodd.

Senator CHRISTOPHER DODD (Democrat, Connecticut): There are two moments, I guess, in every public servant's life, in serving in the Congress, which you recall: your maiden speech - that you give when you first arrive to the Senate, or shortly thereafter; and then, of course, any closing remarks you may have.

Senator EVAN BAYH (Democrat, Indiana): As I begin my final remarks - my final formal remarks on this floor, my mind goes back to my first speech as a United States senator.

Senator JIM BUNNING (Republican, Indiana): I thought it fitting to discuss the legislative items of which I am most proud...

Senator SAM BROWNBACK (Republican, Kansas): And a lot of folks talk about when they leave, about the partisanship and the bickering...

Senator GEORGE VOINOVICH (Republican, Ohio): One of my frustrations after working so hard to find common ground on significant issues has been, it doesn't happen often enough.

Sen. DODD: And it's become commonplace to hear candidates for this body campaign on how they're going to Washington to shake things up all by themselves. May I politely suggest that you're seeking election to the wrong office.

Senator CHRISTOPHER BOND (Republican, Missouri): So now, if my colleagues will permit a little parting advice from an old bull: Work together, play nice.

Senator BLANCHE LINCOLN (Democrat, Arkansas): This speech is not about yesterday, and it is not about today. What I'd like for people to remember about this speech is that it was about our nation's future.

Sen. BAYH: The innate human longing for independence now finds its truest expression in the American experiment. We are the guardians of that dream.

Sen. ROLAND BURRIS (Democrat, Illinois): But when the 112th Congress is sworn in this coming January, there will not be a single black American - takes the oath of office in this chamber. This is simply unacceptable. We can, and we will, and we must do better.

Sen. BROWNBACK: Mr. President, as I leave this body, one of the rites of passage is to sign your desk, and I just did that. I did it in pencil. I figure that all of us will fade with time, and that signature will fade with time as well.

Sen. BUNNING: With a sense of pride and gratitude, I will say for the last time, Mr. President, I yield the floor.

Sen. DODD: I yield the floor. Thanks, Mr. President.

(Soundbite of applause)

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: This is NPR News.

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