Friday, August 31, 2007

Quotes & Context from John Warner's Retirement Announcement

Here are a few passages (as best as Howling Latina could construe) and context from Sen. John Warner's afternoon's press conference on the Rotunda steps at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville transcribed from the C-SPAN video.

Quoting Thomas Jefferson, builder and founder of UVA in summing up his prepared text:

"There is a fullness of time when men should go and not occupy too long the ground for which others have the right to advance.

"So I say with great humility and thankfulness in my heart, I yield that ground so that others can advance.”
Taking a few questions from the press after the speech.

On when he made his retirement decision:

Really, in the last day or two…I wanted to make one final trip to Iraq. That situation in Iran and Afghanistan occupies the major portion of my thinking every day of my life…

I have played, I am playing and I will continue to play a role in trying to bring about a cessation of that conflict such that it reflects nothing but dignity upon those men and women in the armed forces and indeed many civilians who serve in those theatres and are still serving.

As you may now, I was privileged to write the law which required the president to comment on a series of benchmarks, which he did on July 15. The law further requires the president to speak to the nation and the Congress on the 15th of September. And prior thereto the law requires Gen. Petraus and the United States ambassador to come before the Congress and give us their views.

There was another section that I put into the law, which I think is going to be a strong success. That is, I felt that we needed a totally independent analysis of the professional ability, today, tomorrow and in the future of the Iraqi security forces. Be they army or police.

On the question of retirement and speaking out against the Iraq war:
Now, by taking this action [retirement], no one can say, politics is going to dictate in one way or another how I’m going to decide to speak out what’s the best interest for this nation. I’m going to do that. I respectfully want to support the office of the president. He has clear, very clear constitutional responsibilities but the Congress also has its say in the framework. But my hope that maybe, maybe, we can reach in what might be a forthcoming debate, some bipartisanship to show that we’re moving together to try and resolve this conflict in a way that protects our vital interest as a nation in this whole region—not just Iraq. But you also have to have responsibility for our men and women in the army...
On having a favorite person in mind to replace him in the Senate:
Quick contribution is to step back and let the state work it..
On Virginia's junior senator, Jim Webb:
I’ve gotten to know a lot of senators and political figures…Jim Webb, for example, I wasn’t entirely sure, even though I’d known him through the years, just how he would work. But he’s been a strong working partner in the Senate. And particularly helpful to me in trying to provide the president with the names of individuals who can serve in the federal judiciary. That’s one of our main responsibilities…
On boosting Tom Davis candidacy (since he'll likely be the only congressman running for the seat in the GOP field):
I have no one in mind. I really feel that an experienced person must step up. I think within the ranks of the Republican members of Congress who I will now call momentarily and thank all of them for their work. We worked together very well as a team; all these 30 men and women that I have worked through the years. That’s the type of experience I hope will come forward to win this election.

On his greatest accomplishment in the Senate:

I have tried to pay back the United States military for all the things that it did for me in some three tours that I’ve had in many years past and many years in the reserves… That, together with trying to fix the little things in little villages and towns all across the state; these are marvelous people…
On the press:
You’ve been eminently fair to me. I don’t know what kind sort of hamburger you’ll chop up today and put out, but you have been fair to me. Tough but fair. I only mention that not to flatter you but I see other senators, literally, eviscerated day in and day out by elements of the press in their states. And be it a Republican or Democrat in our great state, that’s not happening. The press in our state are very hard working and responsible; they’ll dig down and get the truth. They’ll tell it fair and square.
On what lies ahead for the country:
These are critical times in our country…Precarious situation in so many parts of the word. Whether it’s Iran or Syria or Musharraf...
On how streakers ruined the 1972 UVA graduation ceremony where he was the commencement speaker and the president took him to his house and gave him a compulation of Shakespeare's work as a gift, quoting a passage that stood out:
"This above all, to thine own self be true.” Well, I have tried to do that; and more importantly, I have tried to be -- not only true to myself but true to all the people of this great commonwealth that I have served for now 29 years and to the people across America.

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