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NATIONAL BRIEFING / WASHINGTON, D.C.

A felon's farewell: Sen. Stevens bows out

November 21, 2008|Times Wire Services

"Uncle Ted" Stevens, an old-style Senate giant and the chamber's longest-serving Republican, yielded the floor for the final time. He was saluted by his colleagues as a staunch friend and teacher. "My mission in life is not completed," the Alaska senator said in his farewell speech, as perhaps a quarter of the chamber's 100 members gathered to hear him and the gallery filled with his friends and family.

Stevens, 85, made only a passing reference to his felony convictions and the loss this week of his bid for a seventh Senate term. "I look only forward and I still see the day when I can remove the cloud that currently surrounds me."

Family members and aides cried as Stevens recounted his Senate tenure, which began not even a decade after Alaska achieved statehood. Stevens lost his reelection bid to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, a Democrat, and is appealing his corruption convictions. He has said he's not seeking a presidential pardon.

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