The legacy of late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) (pictured here) was celebrated Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Lantos represented California's 11th (and later 12th) district from 1981 until his death in 2008, and he is the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress.

Vice President Joe Biden
delivered a moving tribute to Lantos, whom Biden said was one of his closest colleagues on Capitol Hill. Biden joked, "Tom didn't really work for me, even when he actually worked on my staff," Biden said. "It was more like I worked for Tom."

Lantos was later elected to office and the two were friends for 20 years. "In a city filled with hyperbole," Biden said, "I'm not exaggerating at all when I say that Tom is really a part of my family."

Biden described how his children bonded with the Lantos family over the years, and how he later employed Lantos' daughter Katrina and his grandson Tomicah in his Senate office. The vice president even joked that he took his honeymoon to Hungary with Dr. Jill Biden in 1977 at the suggestion of Lantos, who was Hungarian-born. "But just so we don't have an investigation by [Rep.] Darrell Issa [R-Calif.], it wasn't a honeymoon," Biden clarified. "It was official business."

The founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, Lantos succumbed to cancer in 2008. His family and friends dedicated a plaque to him in the Holocaust Memorial Museum Thursday.


This post was updated at 12:16 p.m.