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President Biden remembers Lowell Weicker: 'I was proud to call him a friend'

In September of 1988, then Senator Joe Biden looks out a large window in the Senate office buildings.
Joe McNally
/
Archive Photos / Getty Images
In September of 1988, then Senator Joe Biden looks out a large window in the Senate office buildings.

Before he was governor, Lowell Weicker served in the U.S. Senate. And while he was there, he served with another senator who would eventually pursue a higher office: President Joe Biden.

In a statement Thursday, President Biden recalled his time serving alongside Weicker, which spanned nearly two decades.

“He was blunt, brave, committed to his convictions, and fiercely independent. And I was proud to call him a friend,” Biden said.

Weicker died Wednesday in Connecticut at the age of 92.

During his time in the Senate, Weicker was known for co-authoring the Americans with Disabilities Act and securing the first federal funding for research on HIV/AIDS.

Nationally, Weicker’s political marquee burned brightest during the 1973 hearings of the Senate’s special committee on Watergate.

One of three Republicans on the seven-member panel, the freshman senator was not afraid to criticize President Richard Nixon, his own party or the attempted cover-up.

“Throughout his career – from his days as a young Republican senator on the frontlines of the Watergate hearings, to his years as an independent governor who ignored politics to do what he believed was right – Lowell had the courage to take tough stands, speak the truth, and stand up for the better angels of our nation,” Biden said.

Biden said Weicker, who would eventually leave the GOP and be elected Connecticut’s governor as an independent, was “guided not by party, but by principle.”

“He was a fearless moderating force who stood up for those who couldn’t always stand for themselves,” Biden said. “And he relished the fight.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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