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Senators Throw Impromptu Biden Roast

Senators gave glowing reviews of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s speech at Thursday’s memorial service for the late Sen. Warren B. Rudman, R-N.H., even if they felt the veep went on a bit too long.

“I understand there was also a quantity — a fairly long speech of the vice president’s which delayed things on the floor of the Senate by a few hours — by a few minutes, excuse me,” Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said on the Senate floor Friday. “But I hear it was a wonderful, wonderful moment and a tribute. I just only wish I could have been there.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who did attend Rudman’s memorial in the Russell Senate Office Building, responded, “As my friend from Michigan knows, the vice president of the United States is not notorious for his brevity.”

Unable to let it go at that, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who had been praising McCain’s speech, said Biden and former Defense Secretary William Cohen had a wager “relative to who would have the shortest speech, and I think the vice president lost that.”

To which Levin responded wisely, “I didn’t have to be there to know that the vice president would lose any bet where he is betting anyone that he will be shorter than anybody on any subject.”

And a good chuckle was had by all.

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