Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold embarks on a final journey Saturday with his friend and former Senate colleague John McCain.
Feingold will be among the funeral pallbearers for McCain, according to McCain’s website, which details plans for his services. Former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are expected to eulogize him.
McCain, the iconic longtime U.S. senator from Arizona and 2008 GOP presidential nominee, died Saturday at his home. He was 81 and had been battling brain cancer.
Feingold, a Middleton Democrat who served from 1993 to 2011, and McCain, an Arizona Republican first elected to the Senate in 1986, famously worked together on a landmark campaign-finance law in 2002, which aimed to curb the flow of big money into political campaigns.
McCain’s website lists Feingold as “Friend. Visiting Professor at Marquette University Law School. Formerly, three-term United States Senator from Wisconsin and U.S. Special Envoy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
In a recent New York Times op-ed, Feingold called McCain a “dear friend” and recalled aspects of McCain’s character such as his work ethic and sense of humor.
“He was a determined man, always in motion. All of us, including his terrific staff led by Mark Salter, were always trying to keep up with him, to which John would typically say, ‘March or die. March or die,’” Feingold wrote.
Feingold’s op-ed noted that in addition to campaign finance, he worked extensively with McCain on foreign policy. Feingold said a 2006 exchange he witnessed in Baghdad between McCain, an Iraq War supporter, and Gen. David Petraeus underscored McCain’s “integrity and commitment to getting things right.”
McCain “sharply challenged the general’s claims about the success that had been achieved in training Iraqi troops. He did this in front of strong opponents of the war knowing it could be used as fodder against the intervention in which he believed. He wanted to know the facts wherever they led,” Feingold wrote.
“That encounter and so many others made me feel that John would have been a very good president,” Feingold continued. “His fundamental respect for diverging viewpoints, his willingness to befriend people from different parties and philosophies, his intense desire not for political dominance but to get things done, and yes, his sense of humor, would have served our divided nation and fraught world well.”