WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn wept as he delivered a farewell speech Thursday while promising to hold his ground during his last days in the upper house.
The Oklahoma Republican is an obstetrician and was nicknamed "Dr. No" for his stand on conservative principles. But he is also a personal friend of President Obama, who was a freshman senator with him in 2005, and he urged colleagues to support and pray for the president.
Coburn thanked a long list of people and apologized for any offense given to anyone.
"Those of you through the years who I have offended, I truly apologize. And I think none of that was intended -- because I actually see things different. You see, I believe our founders were absolutely brilliant. Far smarter than us," he said.
He said the problem with some of his colleagues is not their intentions but their actions.
"I know not everybody agreed with me -- but the one thing I do know is that our founders agreed with me," he said. "They had studied this process before, they knew what happens when you dominate from a central government. And it doesn't mean intentions are bad -- intentions are great, the motivations of the people in this body are wonderful. But the perspective on how we do it and what the long-term consequences of how we do it really do matter."
Coburn ran for the Senate in 2004 after serving three terms in the House and was re-elected in 2010. He announced earlier this year that he would resign at the end of the session because of a recurrence of prostate cancer.
More than 40 senators listened to the speech. While that is less than half the body, it is a large audience at a time when the Senate is busy with legislation and many farewell messages are on the schedule.
Coburn said that his formal farewell address would not be his Senate swan song.
"Unfortunately, this won't be the last time I speak, much to many of your chagrin, as I have some adamant opposition to some of the things that we're doing," he told his colleagues.