AUSTIN (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton tearfully escorted a
flag-draped casket today carrying ex-Governor Ann Richards into the
state Capitol, where she will spend the next two days lying in
state before her funeral and burial.
Clinton delivered poignant and at times funny recollections to
about 50 of Richards' close friends and family. He described the
former governor as "spontaneous, unedited, earthy, hilarious."
After Clinton spoke, the Capitol Rotunda was opened to the
public. Hundreds of mourners snaked around the building, waiting in
the muggy morning heat to pay their respects.
Richards, the Democrat known for her big, frosty white hair and
sharp wit, died Wednesday at the age of 73 from esophageal cancer.
A Texas Department of Public Safety honor guard rolled the
casket into the Capitol rotunda, followed by Clinton and Richards'
daughter, Cecile, as a girl's choir sang a hymn from a gallery
above. Across the rotunda, Richard's painting hung next to one of
President Bush, her successor as Texas governor, in its place among
all their predecessors. Her portrait was draped in black.