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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

While President-elect Obama prepares for the White House, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska is preparing to leave Washington. Yesterday, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate conceded defeat to Democrat Mark Begich. And today, Senator Stevens said farewell to his colleagues with a speech on the Senate floor.

(Soundbite of Senate speech)

Former Senator TED STEVENS (Republican, Alaska): My mission in life is not completed. I believe God will give me more opportunities to be of service to Alaska and to our nation. And I look forward with a glad heart and with confidence in its justice and mercy. I told members of the press yesterday, I don't have a rear view mirror. I look only forward, and I still see the day when I can remove the cloud that currently surrounds me.

BLOCK: That cloud was his conviction last month on seven felony counts of lying on financial disclosure forms. Despite the conviction, Senator Stevens ran a competitive race, losing narrowly to Begich. During today's speech, staffers and family members wept in the visitor's gallery. Afterward, Senator Stevens's colleagues sent him off with a standing ovation.

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