President Obama never served a day in Washington while former Democratic Speaker Thomas Foley was a power figure, but today the President led the tributes to Foley and his era of cooperation during a memorial service in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.
“It was his personal decency that helped him bring stability and order to a Congress that demanded both and still does… At a time when our political system can seem more polarized and more divided than ever before, it can be tempting to see the possibility of bipartisan progress and a thing of the past, old school,” President Obama told the gathering. “I believe we have to find our way back there. Now more than ever America needs public servants who are willing to place problem solving above politics. ”
The president sat with the current House Speaker, Republican John Boehner, with whom he has not been able to agree on much, and with former President Bill Clinton who jousted with the Republican who followed Democrat Foley to the Speaker’s chair, Newt Gingrich.
President Obama warned them all, “We are sent here to do what’s right and sometimes doing what’s right it hard. It isn’t pretty. And yet that’s the measure of leadership.”