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McCain recounted how he and Kerry — two Vietnam War veterans — bonded during their service, in the early 1990s, on the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, which Kerry chaired. The aim was to ascertain the whereabouts and recover the remains of those U.S. veterans still missing in Vietnam. The pair then went on to lead the charge to normalize relations with the Southeast Asian nation.
“Helping to establish a relationship with Vietnam that serves American interests and values rather than one that remained mired in mutual resentment and bitterness is one of my proudest accomplishments as a senator,” McCain said Thursday, “and I expect it is one of John’s as well. Working toward that end with John, and witnessing almost daily his exemplary statesmanship is one of the highest privileges I’ve had here.”
Kerry joked in his opening remarks that he would not “take it personally” that his nomination has united Democrats and Republicans in their eagerness to get him out of the Senate, a nod to the fact that his departure will create a special election contest for his Massachusetts Senate seat that the GOP hopes former Sen. Scott P. Brown can win.