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McConnell on Hagel in 2008

January 7, 2013

There is nothing unusual about senators inserting their remarks into the Congressional Record rather than delivering them in person. Indeed, it is commonplace. However, the existence of the C-SPAN Video Library allows us to distinguish between what is actually said and what is just inserted as written remarks. The stories about Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) remarks on Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) in 2008 allow us to illustrate this point.

A number of news accounts have reported the remarks made by Senator McConnell on retiring Senator Hagel in 2008. For example, CNN reported: that “The [senior administration] official noted McConnell’s 2008 floor speech recognizing Hagel’s retirement, in which McConnell said Hagel had a ‘clear voice on foreign policy and national security’ and credited him “as a leading voice in foreign affairs.” Others such as Politico, PBS, and The Hill all cite the 2008 farewell speech.

A search of the C-SPAN Video Library finds no record of these remarks actually being said on the Senate floor. They do exist in the Congressional Record for October 2, 2008. McConnell had prepared remarks on Senators Hagel, Craig, and Warner which appear in the Record, but which were not delivered on the Senate floor.

Interesting there is a contemporary account on November 19, 2008 from Amanda Terkel writing for Think Progress. In a story about how Senator McConnell did not pay tribute to defeated Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), she writes, “McConnell’s office insisted that ‘the oversight was nothing personal and pointed out McConnell did not give a farewell speech for retiring Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska either.’”

The C-SPAN Video Library is the actual record of what was said on the House and Senate floor.

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