Utah politicians remember late Senator John McCain

(KSTU) -- Utah leaders shared some of their favorite memories of recently passed Sen. John McCain.

“There’s a lot to remember and admire about Sen. McCain,” said Rep. John Curtis (R-UT). “But the thing that’s always stood out to me was his military service.”

Those who served in the Senate with McCain said his decades of service show the character and commitment he had for the U.S.

“That goes back from the military, to his time in the house, to his time in the Senate and, that’s a lifetime,” said Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT).

Mitt Romney shared a unique connection with McCain, as they were rivals for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, but Romney said he first met McCain in 2002 to discuss federal funding for the Olympics.

“I met him for the first time,” Romney said. “Person to person, and he was as expected—very tough.”

Romney said his personal relationship really started with McCain after he lost the 2008 presidential nomination to him.

“When it was over, we came together and talked about what it would take for him to possibly beat—then-candidate—Obama,” Romney said. “I campaigned with him. I got on the campaign bus, made speeches with him. Then, when I ran for President four years later, he was on my team. Came on the bus, went to rallies and encouraged people to help me.”

Sen. McCain’s fundamental belief in America was so ingrained in him, Romney noted. “It was an honor to spend time with him, to be on the trail with him and to get to know the depth of his personal character.”