Zell Miller, former Democratic governor of Georgia and U.S. senator, passed away earlier today at the age of 86.
The former senator passed away in the company of friends and family, according to a statement from Bryan Miller, his grandson.
Miller was the longest-serving lieutenant governor in Georgia history, serving from 1975 to 1991. He then served as the state's 79th governor from 1991 to 1999. When Miller retired from the governorship in 1999, it was with an 85 percent approval rating, making him the most popular governor in Georgia history. He then served as a senator from 2000 to 2005 until diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
In honor of the late senator, the Free Beacon would like to highlight one of his finest moments.
A lifelong Democrat, Miller caused a stir when he endorsed President George W. Bush for reelection in 2004 and made a fiery speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention in support of Bush. During the speech, he criticized Democratic nominee John Kerry as "more wrong, more weak, and more wobbly" on issues of national security than any other national figures.
"George Bush wants to grab terrorists by the throat and not let them go to get a better grip," he said. "From John Kerry, they get a ‘yes-no-maybe' bowl of mush that can only encourage our enemies and confuse our friends."
Miller ripped Kerry for opposing several new weapons systems, including the B-1 bomber, the B-2 bomber, the F-14A Tomcat, and the Apache attack helicopter, among others.
"This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?" he asked. "U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?"
He accused Kerry of blaming the military as an anti-war protester, and he said Kerry voted to weaken the military in the Senate.
He also praised Bush's respect for his wife, his love for his parents and his daughters, and for the fact he was "unashamed of his belief that God is not indifferent to America."
"In this hour of danger, our president has had the courage to stand up," he concluded. "And this Democrat is proud to stand up with him."
The 15-minute speech threw the crowd into a frenzy on multiple occasions, and afterwards, Miller continued to make waves when he told MSNBC's Chris Matthews he would have liked to challenge the host to a duel.
In 2003, Miller authored a book titled, A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat, in which he blasted Democratic foreign policy and critiqued the party as being too committed to liberal interest groups.