McCain heaps praise on 'true friend' Feingold in farewell speech

GOP Sen. John McCain lavished praise on his soon-to-be former colleague and ally, Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, during a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.

McCain reminded his Senate colleagues of how Feingold and he worked together to pass landmark campaign finance reform legislation in 2002, saying the defeated Wisconsin senator always "had the courage of his convictions."

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"Without intending it as a commentary on his successor, I have to confess I think the Senate will be a much poorer place without Russ Feingold in it," McCain said. 

Even though McCain has been viewed as a more partisan senator since his 2008 presidential campaign, he has reserved a soft spot for Feingold, who lost Nov. 2 to Tea Party challenger Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

On Election Day, McCain called Feingold a "friend" even though he went after other vulnerable Democratic senators such as Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Patty Murray (Wash.)

The Arizona senator said it was a pleasure to work alongside Feingold, who was also a hero to liberal activists.

"We are of different parties, and our political views are often opposed. We’ve had many debates on many issues. But where we agreed — on wasteful spending, ethics reform, campaign finance reform and other issues — it was a privilege to fight alongside and not against Russ Feingold," McCain said Tuesday.

"I have treasured that friendship all the years we have served together, and while friendship does not end with a Senate career, I will sorely miss his presence here," he added. "I will miss seeing him every day. I will miss traveling with him. I will miss the daily reminder of what a blessing it is to have a true friend in Washington."