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 WASHINGTON – In his first speech on the floor of the United States Senate, U.S. Senator John Barrasso addressed the body at 5 a.m. today to make his views known about an Iraq withdrawal amendment. Majority leaders forced an all-night session in the Senate as they put forward a new version of a previously rejected Iraq withdrawal plan.

A transcript of the Senator’s speech follows:

“Thank you, Mr. President. This is the first time I’m addressing this body. I’m filling the seat of former United States Senator Craig Thomas , a Marine, a warrior, and an American hero. He is a gentleman from Wyoming who has left large boots to fill.

Now, some people have suggested that when I give the first speech, Mr. President, that I do it at a time, during a time of day, when many people back home in Wyoming would be watching television. You’re also from the Rocky Mountain Time Zone, and you know that people get up early, but at home, it’s now 3 a.m. and I doubt that we have many viewers at home.

I’ve been sworn in a little over three weeks ago, but it’s like I’ve never left home. Mr. President, as a physician, an orthopedic surgeon, a trauma surgeon, I’m used to getting up at this hour and working at all unusual hours. People of Wyoming know that and they call on me day and night. That’s why I’m here at this hour.

About 21 hours ago we had a bipartisan breakfast to discuss this very issue. Of that body, I told the whole group that I was the most prepared to be up at this hour working and I’m delighted to be with you, but we’re here debating a very serious issue.

I spent a lot of time with Senator Thomas in the last year driving him around the state of Wyoming, discussing the war, visiting about the war, about his trip to Baghdad , talking about the fact that we are threatened in a global war on terror and that this is a threat to our way of life.

As a background, Mr. President, as a trauma surgeon and also as a Wyoming state senator, in the state senate I chaired the Transportation, Highways, and Military Affairs Committee. And in that position, I asked to go and make sure that the Wyoming troops were getting everything they needed in Afghanistan and Baghdad . I was unable to make that trip. The arrangements couldn’t be made.

But I was able to go to Walter Reed, and at Walter Reed, I was able to visit the troops, the wounded warriors because I wanted to make sure both as a state senator and as an orthopedic surgeon that those folks were getting the kind of care that they deserved. What I saw were hero warriors, people who had lost a limb or two limbs and they wanted to return to combat, they wanted to do anything they could to get back with their buddies and fight for freedom.

Mr. President, Wyoming has paid the price, as has every state. I’ve been to services for young people who have lost their lives. I’ve held and tried to comfort family members. A little over a month ago I got a call from my physician assistant. Her son is in Iraq . Her nephew, also in Iraq . And she had just gotten the news that her nephew had been killed. I went to visit the family. Mr. President, these are brave warriors. These are people doing everything they can for freedom and for our nation. They did not die in vain.

This past weekend, I was home in Wyoming – a town meeting in Douglas also home over the Fourth of July for town meetings in Jackson and in Lander, and then go to a couple of rodeos, as I’m sure you do as well (referring to Sen. Tester). I talked to hundreds of folks traveling around the state.

You know, when you go to a rodeo, whether it was in Casper or on the Fourth of July in Cody, where I attended with a former United States Senator from Wyoming who has served on the Iraq Study Group, when they ride into the arena holding the American flag, people stand, take off their hat and put their hand over their heart. The announcer doesn’t have to tell them to do that, they just do it.

And at both of those rodeos, in Casper and in Cody, they dedicated the Star-Spangled Banner with a salute to Craig Thomas , former Marine. Susan Thomas was there at both events and received the love of the crowd. And at both events, the announcer asked for prayers for the bravest men and women in the world, those who were fighting to keep us free. What I heard from people all around Wyoming was don’t quit, don’t pull out, support the troops.

And what are the consequences of withdrawal? We heard it today with the Cornyn Amendment. It passed today 94-3. The purpose: To express the sense of the Senate that it is in the national security of the United States that Iraq not become a failed state and a safe haven for terrorists. And we can go through the findings: The Senate makes the following findings: A failed state in Iraq would become a safe haven for Islamic radicals including Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, who are determined to attack the United States and United States allies. The Iraq Study Group report found that chaotic Iraq could provide a still stronger base of operations for terrorists who seek to act regionally or even globally. The Iraq study group noted that Al Qaeda will portray any failure by the United States a significant victory that would be featured prominently as they recruit for their cause in the region and around the world.

We can go on and on, Mr. President, but to me the Iraq Study Group final report page 67 says it best, ‘The point is not for the United States to set timetables or deadlines for withdrawal, an approach that we oppose,’ with that, Mr. President, I yield.”