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Friday, June 11, 2010

 9:40 PM 

Obey delivers final address to state convention

U.S. Rep. Dave Obey started what he declared would be his final speech to a DPW convention by cracking a couple jokes about his retirement announcement.

The longtime Wausau Dem said he's heard so many compliments from his former political opponents that he considered hiring Brett Favre as a consultant to reconsider his decision.

And he said he was equally surprised by the press reports recounting his nealy 50 years of serving in elected office.

"It was sort of like reading your obituary while you are still alive," Obey joked.

Obey then ventured into his past, recalling his first state conventions with Gaylord Nelson, Bill Proxmire and Bob Kastenmeier in the late 1950s before listing the immense issues he's dealt with in Congress.

He blasted Republicans for their near-unanimous opposition to federal stimulus and health care reform legislation, saying, "They have had a lot of practice in being on the wrong side of history."

He also took a swipe at WMC, saying the current political climate mirrors his first run for the Assembly in 1962, when he charged that big business was killing the state.

"Wisconsin has become less and less like Wisconsin and more like our southern neighbors," Obey said. "Mississippi is not so much a state as it is a condition."

Obey also urged Democrats to work hard this fall, and to "nourish" and "cherish" the party that he considered his family.

"Public service is a high calling but it is also a tough life," Obey said. "Tom Barrett and Barack Obama will need your help."

Obey closed his remarks with a solo from his famed harmonica.

Listen to the audio: http://www.wispolitics.com/1006/100611Obey.mp3
-- By Andy Szal

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