Obama honors 'American statesman' Richard Lugar

Former President Obama paid tribute to late Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) on Sunday, saying he "exhibited the truth that common courtesy can speak across cultures."

In a lengthy statement on the death of Lugar at the age of 87, Obama noted his work with the former Hoosier in the Senate to expand Lugar’s 1991 nuclear nonproliferation plan.

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"We held different political beliefs, but traveling overseas together, he took me under his wing as we toured munitions storage facilities and talked over meals of borscht," Obama wrote, calling Lugar "an American statesman."

"In Dick, I saw someone who wasn’t a Republican or Democrat first, but a problem-solver—an example of the impact a public servant can make by eschewing partisan divisiveness to instead focus on common ground," he added.

As a result of Lugar’s time in the Senate, Obama wrote, "thousands of warheads, bombers, and submarines no longer threaten us."

"America is safer because of Dick; the world is, too. His passing is a reminder of the constant and pressing need to expand international nonproliferation agreements," the former president added. "And it’s a call to remember what a public servant can be."

Lugar, a longtime foreign policy specialist who spent three decades in the Senate, died on Sunday. He left the Senate in 2013 after losing the 2012 Republican primary to then-Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who would go on to lose to former Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyConservatives spark threat of bloody GOP primaries Anti-corruption group hits Congress for ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill 'revolving door' K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers MORE (D-Ind.). The Lugar Center attributed his death to complications from chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, a rare neurological disorder.