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Senator Paul Coverdell Dies at 61Aired July 18, 2000 - 7:03 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
STUART VARNEY, CNN ANCHOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we have breaking news. Let's go to Joie Chen at CNN Center in Atlanta for our coverage of this -- Joie.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Stuart, we have late developments here in Atlanta where in a local hospital in Atlanta, Georgia senior Senator Paul Coverdell been treated since the weekend for a cerebral hemorrhage. CNN now confirming that Georgia Senator Paul Coverdell has died in hospital in Atlanta. That coverage comes -- word coming to us now at CNN, and CNN has confirmed that the Georgia senior senator, Paul Coverdell, died at the age of 61.
CNN reporter Gina London now on Coverdell's career.
GINA LONDON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A quiet, soft- spoken man, Paul Coverdell lived much of his life in service to his country: first as a soldier in the Army, later as a Georgia state lawmaker.
Finally, two years after heading the Peace Corps under President George Bush, Coverdell narrowly defeated Democrat Wyche Fowler in 1992 to take a Republican seat in the United States Senate.
Re-elected to a second term in 1998, Coverdell was hardly a senior senator, but had already risen to the fourth-highest position in the Republican-controlled Senate, serving as that party's conference secretary.
In Georgia, Coverdell had been viewed as a moderate, but his voting record in the Senate reflected a more conservative posture. He had voted to uphold the ban on federal funding of abortions and worked hard to provide tax credits for private-school savings accounts.
His Washington office said one of his strongest crusades was the fight against drugs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PAUL COVERDELL (R), GEORGIA: The drug cartels are in a position to destabilize all the -- the future of our democracies here, and we have to come to head with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LONDON: And most recently during this busy presidential campaign season Coverdell was gearing up for the Republican convention. Backing George W. Bush, he was the Texas governor's point-man in the Senate.
Coverdell had reported no history of serious health problems. Staffers described his sudden illness as a shock.
Senator Paul Coverdell is survived by his wife of more than 25 years, Nancy. The couple had no children.
Gina London, CNN, Atlanta.
CHEN: OK. Now, we want to take you to the Senate floor where Majority Leader Trent Lott is speaking about the death of Senator Coverdell.
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: At the appropriate time, I will join the rest of my colleagues in trying to make appropriate remarks, pay tribute to Paul. But for now, I can't do anymore than just make this announcement.
I do want to say to Nancy Coverdell and the family that we extend our sympathy and our love, and our -- our heart breaking also.
Mr. President, I send a resolution to the desk and ask for its immediate consideration, and further that the resolution be read.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The clerk will read the resolution.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Senate resolution 338, relative to the death of the Honorable Paul Coverdell, a senator from the state of Georgia.
"Whereas the Honorable Paul Coverdell served Georgia in the United States Senate with devotion and distinction; whereas the Honorable Paul Coverdell served all the people of the United States as director of the Peace Corps; whereas his efforts on behalf of Georgians and all Americans earned him the esteem and high regard of his colleagues; and whereas his tragic and untimely death has deprived his state and the nation of an outstanding lawmaker and public servant: now, therefore, be it resolved that the Senate has heard with profound sorrow and deep regret the announcement of the death of the Honorable Paul Coverdell, a senator from the state of Georgia; resolved that the secretary of the Senate communicate these resolutions to the House of Representatives and transmit an enrolled copy thereof to the family of the deceased; resolved that when the Senate adjourns today it stand adjourned as a further mark of respect to the memory of the deceased senator."
LOTT: I ask unanimous consent that all members of the Senate be made co-sponsors of this resolution and further that the resolution be agreed to and the motion to reconsider be laid on the table.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without objection.
LOTT: Mr. President, we will announce for the Senate and all of those that new and loved Paul the details of the services for him when they're available. We don't have that information at this time. I presume that some time tomorrow we'll know that. And also I want all colleagues to know that they are encouraged to make statements of sympathy during the proceedings tomorrow when we are in session if they feel so inclined.
But as is the tradition, we will designate a specific time at a later date so that all senators will have time to appropriately express their feelings for this fine senator. And I would like to ask the assistant majority leader conclude our proceedings this afternoon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The senator from New York.
SEN. DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN (D), NEW YORK: Might I join with our distinguished majority leader, expressing the grief we all feel...
CHEN: CNN's coverage of the death of Georgia's senior senator, Paul Coverdell, in the city of Atlanta this evening, 6:10, just about an hour ago Eastern Standard Time: 6:10.
Senator Coverdell, 61-years-old, who had checked himself into a local hospital here in Atlanta on Saturday complaining of some very severe headaches, later determined to be a cerebral hemorrhage.
The operations had been under way at the local hospital in Atlanta, apparently unsuccessful. The senator reported dead at 6:10 p.m. Eastern Time.
We just saw the Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott delivering a very moved, a very visibly shaken, as Trent Lott spoke on the floor of the Senate a short time ago, confirming to the Senate the death of Senator Paul Coverdell, Georgia's senior senator, at the age of 61.
We'll continue with MONEYLINE coverage up next.
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