Political who's who come out to remember Frank Lautenberg
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, whose death has sparked a battle over his seat in the Senate, was remembered at his funeral Wednesday as a tenacious fighter who battled tirelessly for the causes he championed.
Vice President Joe Biden eulogized Lautenberg, who died on Monday at age 89, with a long, humorous speech, but remembered his colleague as having "both physical courage and moral courage."
"He never gave up. He never gave in," Biden said. "Frank always had to be in the game."
Scores of dignitaries and elected officials, including former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, filled the Park Avenue Synagogue for the service.
Clinton recalled that Lautenberg fought for veterans, victims of HIV and AIDS and families trying to keep their children safe from toxic chemicals.
"As Frank would say, 'It's not where you sit that counts. It's where you stand,'" Clinton said. "There was never any doubt where he stood."
Family members offered up warm and funny reminiscences, describing him as stubborn, with a ceaseless need to be right and regret over his decision to retire at the end of 2014. They described how he grew up poor in Paterson, N.J., fought in Europe in World War II and graduated from Columbia University. First elected in 1982, he left office in 2000, saying he was tired of raising money for his campaigns. But two years later he came out of retirement when former Sen. Robert Torricelli was forced to drop his re-election bid amid corruption charges.