Floor and Committee Statements

   “Mr. President, everybody in this room, everybody in this Capitol, and everybody in this country knows who Dick Lugar was. We lost Dick earlier this week. Dick Lugar was and is an American icon.

   “When I got elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, I came here and was put on the Foreign Relations Committee in 2006, primarily because we were one Republican short and because nobody else would take the seat. So I wasn’t the unanimous choice; I was the only choice.

   “Dick Lugar came to me and said, ‘Johnny, would you take this seat? I have to have somebody take this seat, and I have to have somebody be the chairman of the Africa Subcommittee.’

   “I said, ‘Well, Dick, I will be happy to take the seat, but I don’t know a damned thing about Africa. I have never been there. I would be a bad chairman.’

   “He said, ‘No, you wouldn’t. I will take you over there with me. We will study it, and you will be great.’

   “Today, 15 years later, I am still on the Africa Subcommittee. I have been the chairman of it for half that time. I fell in love with it because of Dick Lugar. I have learned more about it, and America is a better country today for its being able to open doors in Africa.

   “I worked with Dick Lugar on the New START treaty. Dick Lugar was a quiet gentleman, but he was a giant when it came to his ability to solve problems. He was elected as the mayor of Indianapolis, Indiana, at a time when racial tensions were at their height. He was one of the most successful mayors in the history of the country. At the particular time that he was elected mayor, he was the most respected mayor in the country. He received awards that designated him the best mayor in America.

   “He was a man who held on to hope, who held on to opportunity, and fought for equality at whatever risk there was to him to see to it that it happened in his city. Later, he went on to be elected to the Indiana Legislature and then was elected to the U.S. Senate. He was the longest serving senator from Indiana in the history of the U.S. Senate.

   “As I said, I served on his committee with him, Foreign Relations, but I also served at the time that Dick got beaten. You wouldn’t think a guy who had served six terms in the Senate and who had been a Republican would get beaten in his own primary by the Republican Party, but it happened to us. I know the acting president pro tempore remembers those times a few years ago when our party kind of got divided. We had tea parties and other types of parties, and people started picking on folks. All of a sudden, it was a bad thing to have served for a long time. It was a bad thing to have been a gentle giant. It was a bad thing to have been a guy like Dick Lugar. So they got some new blood in to shake the place up, and they beat Dick in the primary. It was one of the saddest days I ever had to see. A man who had accomplished so much and who was so great got beaten over things that were really inconsequential--over political rhetoric. It was just to win a point of view, not to win a case.

   “I went to Dick after it was over, and I said, ‘Dick, I am so sorry you lost.’

   He said, ‘Don’t worry about it. I have lots to do. I have The Lugar Center. I have the Lugar-Nunn initiative.’

   “Sam Nunn was the great senator from the State of Georgia who, many years ago, held the seat I have. He and Dick Lugar did more for nuclear nonproliferation than any two men in the history of our country. Dick’s fingerprints are on every positive nuclear deal we have ever made in this country. President Barack Obama gave him the Congressional Medal of Honor because of his efforts on behalf of peace. His efforts were on behalf of the country and nuclear nonproliferation.

   “Sam Nunn and Dick Lugar dismantled most of the loose nukes that were lying on the floor of the Soviet Union when the wall fell in Berlin. In the years after that time, he saw to it that they were disposed of properly rather than their having gotten into the hands of some terrorist who would have made a dirty bomb later on. Dick Lugar did all of that for his country.

   “He loved his 604-acre farm back home in Indiana--his family home--which he still ran until the day he died. It was where he served as not a visiting professor but as a real professor and not as an adjunct professor but as a real professor. It was where he talked about peace, love, hope, and humanity. Most importantly of all, he talked about people solving the problems of the world by working together and not against each other.

   “I don’t know that I will ever know a better man than Dick Lugar. I am a little younger than Dick, although not by that much. I haven’t served nearly as long in this body as he had. Yet, in all of the time I have been here and from all of the things I have read about great members of the Senate and of the ones I have known, like Sam Nunn from Georgia, I have never known one better than Dick Lugar.

   “As a tribute to Dick--and just so you will know, the New START treaty is coming up for renewal in the next couple of years. The New START treaty is the treaty by which we broke the ice on inspecting and verifying nuclear warheads. Because of what Dick Lugar and Sam Nunn did and because of what we did in the Foreign Relations Committee in the negotiations for that, along with John Kerry and others, we saw to it that we got no notice of inspections in the Soviet Union and no notice of inspections in America of our nuclear warheads.

   “In 12 hours, we can get somebody to Moscow. We can knock on the door of the nuclear storage facility and say, ‘We are coming in.’ When we go in, we can scan the hologram on the nuclear warhead--it is part of the treaty--which is embedded so you can count the warheads. A lot of these nuclear warheads are not comprised of just one bomb--they have 12 or 15. It is so we will know exactly what they have and so they will know exactly what we have.

   “Knowledge is power. Dick saw to it that we had the knowledge of what we had and what they had before we got in trouble rather than to have an altercation and then a threat and have to say that we really didn’t know what they had or what we had and then to have to start overcompensating. The next thing you know, we would be overcompensating with war when we start living the lies unnecessarily--when we do the wrong thing.

   “When I go down my checklist one of these days of all of those great people I had the chance to know, of the people I learned so much from, of the people I appreciated were around when I got to live so my kids could grow up in a world that was freer and more prosperous and more safe than any world possible, I will know Dick Lugar was my friend. I will know I had the honor of serving with him.

   “To Dick’s family, to his many friends in Washington, to the people of the State of Indiana who felt blessed just by having him so long, Dick lived a great life.

   “God bless you. Thank you for your service.

   “God bless the United States of America and Dick Lugar.”

###