LIEBERMAN: "Of course, I didn’t know John in his youth. I don’t think he was born with the natural skills of a legislator. And yet he learned them, became a great one. He knew when to be immovable, when to negotiate and compromise to get something done. He regularly reached across party lines because he knew that was the only way to solve problems and seize opportunities for the people of our country and his state. As a result, his legislative record is extremely impressive. He also fought and lost some big battles to stop climate change, to close the gun show loophole, to broadly reform our immigration laws. But that never seemed to get him down or diminish his ardor for the next battle. He loved to win but also loved a good fight for a just cause, even if it didn’t succeed.
"Overall, he won many more than he lost. And all of his big wins were achieved with bipartisan support. In 2008 when he was Republican nominee for president, he had a far out idea of asking a Democrat to be his running mate. Can you believe that? Let me explain it to you as he did. When he first talked to me about it, I said you know, John, I’m really honored, but I don’t see how you can do it. Even though I won my last election as an independent, I’m still a registered Democrat. And John’s response was direct and really ennobling. That’s the point, Joe, he said with a certain impatience. You’re a Democrat, I’m a Republican. We could give our country the bipartisan leadership it needs for a change.
"When John returned to the Senate after his surgery last summer and voted against the Republican health care bill, some people accused him of being disloyal to his party and the president, but that was not the case. If you listen to the speech he gave that day, you’ll know it was not the case. That speech made clear that his vote was not really against that bill but against the mindless partisanship that has taken control of both our political parties and our government and produced totally one sided responses to complicated national problems like health care. And of course he was right."