Floor and Committee Statements

"Thad, it's an honor it to come to the floor of the Senate and talk for a minute about my friend Thad Cochran.

I know everybody has probably said everything that needs to be said but just everybody hasn't said it yet. It’s kind of in the vein of what Senator [Roy] Blunt, R-Mo., said, everybody says the same thing about Thad Cochran: He's gracious, he’s smart, he’s genteel, he’s effective. He's a great colleague.

"I want to tell you about Thad Cochran. When I came to the Senate 14 years ago, I did what -- I served in every legislative body I could be elected to living where I live. I’ve been in the Georgia House, Georgia Senate, the U.S. House, U.S. Senate. All representative legislative bodies. In each one of them I got advice. My first year in the Georgia House, 41 years ago, that was real good advice. A friend of mine said, 'Johnny, the first year you're down here don't say a word. Just watch everybody talk. Watch what everybody else does. Look at people you'd like to be like, and then for the remainder of your career be like that person.'

"Because in the end this business is about relationships and effectiveness, not about bluster and bragging. I did pick out a guy, his name was Carl Harrison. Carl passed away but became one of the best friends I had in life. I watched him in the Georgia legislature and patterned my way after Carl Harrison. The success I had was in large measure because I followed a great leader like Carl.

"When I got to the United States Senate I knew I needed leadership. I needed to find a book or something to tell me how to be a good senator.

"I remembered Carl and I said I'm going to sit in this body. I've got six years in this term. Surely I can take a few months of the first year and kind of figure things out.

"So I started watching. You could see the characteristics and the quality of each individual in the Senate. Everybody offers unique gifts which they give to this body. But I kept watching Thad Cochran. He was respected, always had time for you, never let you know he had been here a lot longer than you thought about being here, maybe longer than you had been born, listened to you and when you asked him a question, he gave you an answer.

"So I called my wife and I said, 'Sweetheart when we come back to Washington next week I want to take Thad Cochran to dinner because I've decided he's the guy I'd like to be most like.' I'm not making this up, this is exactly what happened. So we went to Oceanaire.

"Thad, I don't know if you remember that night. It was pretty crowded, it’s pretty loud in Oceanaire. Thad is not a loud guy, but when Thad walks in a room it gets a little bit quiet because everybody knows wisdom has arrived. My wife and I enjoyed that dinner that night, and we became great friends with Thad.

"We had a number of issues where we engaged each other over the years and in all of them, I think, we were on the same side, except catfish I think I got a line on catfish, and I apologize for that Thad. I know [Sen.] Roger [Wicker], R-Miss., is in here somewhere, is that right Roger? But, I’ve tried to redeem myself as best I could.

"The highest compliment I can pay to anybody is to say I wanted to be just like Thad Cochran, and so in the 13 years since that dinner at Oceanaire in everything I have done and tried to do in the Senate, I’ve tried to be like Thad Cochran.

"You know, Mark Twain once wrote, 'When confronted with a difficult decision do what’s right. You’ll surprise a few, but you’ll amaze the rest.’

"When you have a tough decision to make, when somebody has to cut to the chase, point you in the right direction and get the job done, its Thad Cochran you want in the foxhole.

"He is the perfect example to me of a noble life and a noble leader.

"I have a favorite poem that’s in a book called 'Leaves of Gold' in the Methodist Church, and I think that poem applies to Thad Cochran better than any words I could come up with today.

"The poem goes something like this: 

'I’d rather see a good person
Than read about one any day.
I’d rather have a good person to walk with me
Than merely show the way.

'For my eyes are better pupils
And more willing than my ear.
And fine counsel is confusing
But example is always clear.

'And the best of all the people
Are the ones that live their creeds.
For to see the good in action
Is what everybody needs.

'While I’ll be very glad to do it
If you’ll let me see it done;
But I can watch your hands in action,
But your tongue too fast may run.

'But the lectures you deliver
May be very wise and very true;
But I’d rather get my lecture
By observing what you do.

'For I may misunderstand you
And the high advice you give;
But there’s no misunderstanding
The way you act and the way you live.'

"Thad, you’ve blessed us all by the way you act, by the way you live, by the example that you’ve set.

"May God bless you and your family. We wish you the best and will you always come back, because if you ever need me I’ll be right here for you. You’ve always been there for me. God bless you Thad.

"I yield back."