I always wondered if John McCain would comment on the Wisconsin Senate race, given his long-standing friendship with Feingold. Today he delivered a speech that went much further than the typical collegial comments expected at the end of an election:
Mr. President, I want to say a few words about a friend and colleague, whom I will miss very much when he leaves the Senate after we adjourn. Without intending it as a commentary on his successor, I have to confess I think the Senate will be a much poorer place without Russ Feingold in it. I know that in my next term I will experience fewer occasions of inspiration because of the departure of Russ Feingold, a man whose courage and dedication to the principles that guided his Senate service often inspired me.
..."We are of different parties, and our political views are often opposed. We've had many debates on many issues. But where we agreed on wasteful spending, ethics reform, campaign finance reform and other issues it was a privilege to fight alongside and not against Russ Feingold.
...In his time in the Senate, Russ Feingold, every day and in every way, had the courage of his convictions. And though I am quite a few years older than Russ, and have served in this body longer than he has, I confess I have always felt he was my superior in that cardinal virtue.
..."I can't do justice in these remarks to all of Russ' many qualities or express completely how much I think this institution benefited from his service here and how much I benefited from knowing him. I lack the eloquence. I don't think he is replaceable. We would all do well to keep his example in our minds as we serve our constituents and country and convictions.