Today, Ted Stevens — Alaska’s defeated Republican senator and a convicted felon — was granted time on the Senate floor to deliver his farewell speech. Stevens said that he still can’t believe that he’s “privileged to speak on the floor of the United States Senate.” He also added that he “doesn’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.”
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) then took the floor and said farewell to his “distinguished colleague.” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had previously called for Stevens’s resignation, recalled the longest-serving Republican’s “extraordinary accomplishments.” Watch it:
Matt Yglesias writes: “I cannot believe that (a) Ted Stevens got a standing ovation from his fellow senators, and (b) Harry Reid is now delivering an ode to him. I mean, the man’s a criminal. Senatorial courtesy is a really bizarre institution.”
Full list of senators speaking on behalf of Stevens today: Harry Reid (D-NV), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Robert Byrd (D-WV), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Kay-Baily Hutchison (R-TX), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Larry Craig (R-ID), Jim Bunning (R-KY), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Thad Cochran (R-MS). John Warner (R-VA) also praised Stevens in advance of the Alaskan senator’s farewell address.
12:17 pm: The Senate just extended “morning business” until 2:00 p.m. to allow senators to speak about Stevens for 10 minutes each.