Washington: US President Barack Obama has bid farewell to Attorney General Eric Holder one more time.
Obama joked Friday about be the top U.S. law enforcement officer's going-away appearances, including an emotional one at the White House last year.
"Eric is really just milking this departure thing for everything that it's worth," Obama said at a Justice Department ceremony to unveil the outgoing Cabinet member's official portrait. "I mean, golly."
He noted Holder's tenure as the third-longest serving attorney general. Holder also is the first African-American to hold the job.
"I know it felt even longer and I'll just come out and say it. He's been one of our finest," Obama said.
Obama said Holder had led the department with integrity and helped make the U.S. "free and more just." He praised Holder as a "great friend" and a "great public servant" and brushed away tears at the conclusion of his brief remarks.
Holder is staying on the job until the Senate confirms his successor, which is expected soon. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved Obama's choice of U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to succeed Holder. She would be the first black woman to hold the position.
At the end of the ceremony Friday, singer Aretha Franklin was led on stage to belt out a soulful rendition of "America, The Beautiful" in Holder's honor.