Zell Miller honored during state funeral at Georgia Capitol
ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal became emotional as he thanked Zell Miller’s family “for being a part of the fabric that has made our state great.”
Deal made the comments Wednesday at the Georgia Capitol, during a state funeral for the former U.S. senator and two-term Georgia governor.
Miller died Friday at the age of 86 in his old family home in the north Georgia mountain town of Young Harris.
He served as Georgia governor from 1991 until 1999 and was appointed to the Senate in 2000.
Miller was honored Monday in Young Harris, where he was remembered for beginning his long political career at City Hall.
Then, three former presidents – Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – spoke at a service Tuesday in Atlanta.
Former President Bill Clinton said he lives “almost in indentured servitude” to Zell and Shirley Miller for the political help and personal support they offered him and Hillary Clinton over many decades.
Ex-President Jimmy Carter says former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller did more to help schoolchildren than perhaps any governor in American history.
Carter joked that he and Miller were friends “off and on” for 55 years.
The two Democrats served as young state senators together in the 1960s.
Carter was later among the Democrats unhappy with Miller when he endorsed Bush’s re-election in 2004.
Bill Clinton also eulogized the former Georgia Gov. and U.S. senator Zell Miller. Miller supported Clinton, then-Arkansas governor, when he ran for president in 1992. Clinton said Miller told him in 1991 to “hire James Carville and Paul Begala and give shorter speeches.” Clinton says he “took 50 percent of the advice.”
Carville and Begala had helped Miller win the 1990 governor’s race and served as Clinton’s main advisers in 1992.
Former President George W. Bush praised Zell Miller as a bipartisan statesman who offered an example for American politicians today. Miller was a Democrat but endorsed the Republican Bush’s re-election in 2004.
Bush says Miller was a key Democratic senator for him to work with after he became president in 2001.
He laughed as he recalled Miller’s offer to back him in 2004 and speak at the Republican convention. It angered many Democrats, but Bush hailed Miller as a loyal American who was “not an ideologue.”