Stevens gives last Senate speech as staffers weep

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
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WASHINGTON – In a painfully poignant moment reminiscent of the fall of yesteryear's Senate giants, Republican Ted Stevens has spoken and yielded the floor for the last time.

Staff members wept openly in the Senate gallery as Stevens, who turned 85 earlier this week, gave his swansong talk Thursday. Stevens declared he has no "rearview mirror" and is looking forward to a day when he might be vindicated. He has lost his bid for a seventh term after his convictions in federal court on charges of lying about gifts on his disclosure form.

During Stevens' speech, his colleagues came to the Senate floor, mostly Republicans but also a few Democrats. People gathered on the floor and in the galleries gave a standing ovation — and no senator objected to that.

Stevens lost his reelection bid this week to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, a Democrat.