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Senate Majority Leader Delivers Remarks on Anthrax Attack

Aired October 15, 2001 - 15:53   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BOBBIE BATTISTA, HOST, CNN'S "TALKBACK LIVE": Senator Tom Daschle is evidently speaking in Washington, so we'll take you there.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: ... calling at that point. And I informed him as well. I will say that the antibiotic is so effective that it is 100 percent successful in killing the bacteria, once that bacteria has been released. So we are supremely confident of our ability to deal with circumstances like this.

I must compliment the sergeant at arms, the Capitol Police, our Capitol physician for their extraordinary response, organizationally and medically. I am very grateful to all of those who have been involved so far. The office has been quarantined, and will not be opened for several days as the office cleanup takes place.

We have asked that all offices return all mail. And that is being done this afternoon. We will have meetings in our caucuses tomorrow, wherein we will hear from the sergeant at arms, the Capitol Police, the Capitol physician and others, who will brief us about the specific ramifications of incidents like this.

I will say, however, that it is very important to me -- I've talked to Senator Lott, to many of my colleagues -- this Senate and this institution will not stop. We will not cease our business. We will continue to work. I'm confident that we can will put in place practices that will minimize exposure to any danger our staff may have to endure. I am especially confident about our ability to respond as we have just today.

Our work will continue. We will be in session tomorrow. I would hope that all offices would conduct their business as we would expect them to conduct it, with the exception of my office until the inspection and the investigation and the cleanup can take place.

I also want to express my heartfelt sympathy to my staff for what they have had to endure. I have been in contact with many of the families of my staff throughout the day, and while this has been an extraordinary experience for each of them, I am proud of the way they have handled themselves. I am proud of the attitude that they bring even now to their work and their mission, and I am especially proud of the fact that under these circumstances they have been as responsive, courageous and upbeat.

So Mr. President, I simply wanted to come to the floor to encourage all colleagues to continue to conduct their work with the knowledge that we are taking every step, and we will take additional steps as we become more aware what can be done in preventive way to deal with these circumstances in the future. I yield the floor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The senator from Alaska, Mr. Murkowski.

SEN, FRANK MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: I thank the chair. In regards to the comments of the majority leader, I might add that when I left my office...

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We've been bringing you here on CNN the latest from the floor of the Senate. You've just heard Senator Tom Daschle, the majority leader, of course, speaking before his colleagues on the floor.

He was explaining what we had heard earlier in the Capitol Hill. The Capitol Police have confirmed that they opened a letter that was received by Senator Daschle's office, which did contain anthrax. Members of his staff are receiving antibiotic treatment now, and Senator Daschle just informing his colleagues on that.

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