Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Obama eulogizes Foley as Speaker who put 'problem solving before politics'

Obama eulogizes Foley as Speaker who put 'problem solving before politics'
By Rebecca Shabad - 10/29/13 04:31 PM ET
President Obama on Tuesday honored the late Rep. Tom Foley (D-Wash.) by saying the nation needs lawmakers to embrace the same type of bipartisan cooperation that the former Speaker championed on Capitol Hill.

“At a time when our political system can seem more polarized, more divided than ever before, it can be tempting to see the possibility of bipartisan progress as a thing of the past. It can be tempting to think if we can still have room for leaders like Tom,” said Obama, who did not know Foley personally.

“I believe we have to find our way back there now more than ever. America needs public servants who are willing to place problem solving before politics.”

Obama joined lawmakers, former presidents and vice presidents at the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Tuesday afternoon to remember former Foley, who died Oct. 18. at the age of 84 after suffering from a stroke.

“He did everything a public servant should do, and frankly, did many of them better than the rest,” said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who opened the service. “It was his sense of fairness, his port-in-a-storm bearing that will always stand out to me.”

Obama ordered all U.S. flags to fly at half-staff on government buildings Tuesday in Foley’s honor.

Former President Bill Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were among those who participated in the service.

Heather Foley, Tom’s widow, sat in-between Obama and Boehner at the ceremony.

“Tom Foley was the quintessential champion of the common good,” said Pelosi.

Foley, who also went by “Big Tom,” served Washington’s fifth congressional district in the House of Representatives for 30 years, from 1965 to 1995.

In 1989, he was elected Speaker and held the job until 1994, when he became the first sitting Speaker to lose reelection. His criticism of extreme partisanship may have hurt his chances.

That election year was deemed the “Republican Revolution,” for it thrust the GOP into power for the first time in four decades. Newt Gingrich succeeded Foley as speaker. He was also present at the service.

Republican Rep. George Nethercutt defeated Foley in that midterm election. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, another Republican, now holds that seat.

“He was the first Speaker [from] west of the Rocky Mountains. He had a wonderful smile, and a great voice. He was always gracious to young members like me,” Reid said of his time serving with Foley in the House.

Following his Capitol Hill departure, then-President Clinton appointed Foley to be U.S. ambassador to Japan, which he served as until 2001.

“He could be brutally honest in the kindest way,” Clinton said Tuesday. “He was one tough guy.”

The 15-term congressman rose through the leadership ranks: serving as chairman of the Agriculture Committee, majority whip, and majority leader before becoming Speaker.

Foley had a liberal voting record: he opposed the Vietnam War, opposed capital punishment, supported abortion rights, and backed the Equal Rights Amendment. Obama said, however, Foley's ability to reach across the aisle is what he did best.

“It was his personal decency that helped bring civility and order to a Congress that demanded both, and still does."

Tom Foley
Thomas S. Foley was the speaker for the U.S. House of Representatives, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, and a partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP.

Note: Lee H. Hamilton is a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), and was a co-chair for the Iraq Study Group.
Vernon E. Jordan Jr. was a member of the Iraq Study Group, is a senior counsel for Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), Valerie B. Jarrett’s great uncle, a director at the American Friends of Bilderberg (think tank), and a 2008 Bilderberg conference participant (think tank).
Foundation to Promote Open Society was a funder for the Brookings Institution (think tank).
George Soros is the chairman for the Foundation to Promote Open Society.
Cyrus F. Freidheim Jr. is an honorary trustee at the Brookings Institution (think tank), and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago.
Commercial Club of Chicago, Members Directory
Please note: This link for the members of the Commercial Club of Chicago can no longer be found.
Valerie B. Jarrett is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the senior adviser for the Barack Obama administration, and her great uncle is Vernon E. Jordan Jr.

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