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'He embodied the best in us': Hatch remembers McCain during Senate speech

Sen. Orrin Hatch speaks during the Utah Republican Party Nominating Convention at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
FILE - Sen. Orrin Hatch speaks during the Utah Republican Party Nominating Convention at the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — As the country continues to mourn Arizona Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday at 81 after a battle with brain cancer, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, took to the Senate floor Tuesday to remember his colleague.

“We will remember John for many things: for his courage as a sailor, for his dedication as a senator, and for his principle as a statesman," Hatch said. "John McCain was a man for all seasons — a voice of temperance in intemperate times, and a model of civility and reason."

"The tragedy of his passing is that we need men like John McCain now more than ever before," he said.

View the video and read the full speech here.

It was part of the second day of remembrance for the "maverick of the Senate." Senators from both sides of the aisle paid tribute, sharing personal stories despite professional differences.

Hatch called McCain an "American hero, a powerful leader and a dear friend" who "embodied the best in us."

During Tuesday's 10-minute speech on the Senate floor, Hatch spoke on the trials of McCain's time as a prisoner of war — and how they shaped him, his run as the Republican nominee for president in 2008 and his 32-year tenure as Arizona's senator.

"Each day, for more than 2,000 days, he endured horrors that few of us could imagine," Hatch said. "Yet, he stayed the course, finding strength in the love he felt for his fellow servicemen."

Hatch also recalled McCain's part in the success of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games held in Salt Lake City. He said Mitt Romney, who was tasked with running the games, had come to Hatch in desperate need of funding.

"In our moment of need, we turned to Sen. McCain," he said. Romney and Hatch came to McCain's office unannounced and requested emergency funding for the Olympics.

"Within days we had secured resources we needed to move forward with the Games, all thanks to Sen. John McCain," Hatch said. The Olympic Games would have been an "embarrassment" without McCain's help, he said.

McCain, known for bucking the party line, sometimes clashed with Hatch. Despite that, Hatch said there was no bitterness.

“I consider myself incredibly lucky to have known John, and even luckier to have called him a friend," Hatch said. "Here in the Senate and across the nation, we will miss him dearly."