tv U.S. Senate Sen. Durbin Tribute to Sen. Mc Cain CSPAN August 28, 2018 12:51pm-1:05pm EDT
serve in a bipartisan group the success of recommended that senators arthur vandenberg and robert wagner should appear there alongside henry clay, daniel webster, john calhoun robert taft who were selected by the special committee back in 1957. that committee interestingly enough was appointed by lyndon johnson and chaired by john f. kennedy. i also heard in recent days that perhaps senator mccain's portrait should join that distinguished group. so it's a further tribute to our colleagues that there's no shortage of good ideas. in order to make sure we realize these intentions i'd i like to put together an official group that can collaborate and bring together ideas from current members, former colleagues, and friends. it will be bipartisan as only benefits john's legacy and come to think of it we probably call
it not a committee but a gang. so i'm glad were to form this gain to ensure that a suitable lasting tribute becomes a reality. i've have more details regarding this group to share in coming days after our friend is laid to rest. >> this isthis is a sad time for the senate and our nation. with the passing of john mccain our country lost a legend and the same as lost a towering
figure. i have lost a friend. america owes john mccain his family our gratitude and respect for his courage and sacrifice. and from the trials he endured to serve the nation that he loved. john mccain entered this world with big shoes to fill. his father and grandfather were 4-star admirals in the united states navy. john mccain met and exceeded his family legacy. i first met him 35 years ago in
1982. we were brand-new freshman congressman elected to the u.s. house. i spotted him on the other side of the floor in the senate and of course, knew instantly who he was and worked at the courage to go over and introduced myself. and then i asked him a favor. i said john did you consider doing a cable tv show that i could send back to my central element district? he said sure i'd be glad to. and i thought that's amazing. a democratic congressman
asking a new republican congressman to open back in his district, and john mccain said yes. it was the beginning of a friendship. that cable show wasn't shown beyond central illinois but i still remember it and still thank john for his act of kindness. it was my first exposure to a a unique style of communication that america would come to know as the straight talk express. sitting for the interview was typically generous john mccain for which i'm still grateful.
there was an old joke about an irishman walks past a brawl and says is this a private fight or can anyone get into it? i think that man's name may have been mccain. anyone who knew or served with john for any kind got crosswise with them. i can remember there in the well of the senate john mccain walking up to me, getting with an inch of my face and chewing me out about some articles that he read in the "chicago tribune." he was so mad he was about to explode. he wheeled around and walked away and i thought what did i say? i can't even remember the article. so i raced back to look at the "chicago tribune" article he referred to, still can understand his anger and thought, how on the going to make amends with the john? he's been my friend for so long. the next day he came up to me and i get ready for the sake of rent. he puts says, it wasn't that bad after all. we're still friends. typical john mccain. a volcanic temper but embracing
loving approach which came to friendship. that was john. passionate in his beliefs. not a manned to hold grudges being understood that two people can to squint issues today still both love this country and work together tomorrow. occasionally he would invite you on a trip. be careful. i suggest several times. a john mccain trip over we can do something you don't soon forget. if there's anybody out there who thinks that senators with john mccain was sitting poolside drinking these mixed drinks with paper umbrellas, they have got all wrong. john mccain strips on the weekend for more like the canned death marches from marches. the minute you got on the plane until you get back to washington for nonstop schedule. everything had to be done and we had to see three countries, not to and read to get done and get back to washington. and you learn so much. i went to ukraine with john. i remember walking the streets in ukraine and people come up to john who remembered that he
showed up in the maidan scrivener when the revolution was underwear, spoke for those who were defined moscow. this would number john mccain and it could wait to come up and say hello and thank you him. it was that when so many places in the world. i was lucky to be there. lucky to be part of the complexities history unfold and lucky to count john as a friend. john and i had our disagreements. effective with one solid year when we barely spoke. at the end of that year i found an excuse to walk over to his office to see them on some issue and i remember he set up he greeted me. he shook my hand. he looked me in the eye and said i'm glad this is over between us. so was i. it was one of the happier days i serve in the senate. party labels was one of the qualities so many of us love and admire about him. it was a lesson he learned his family and it is a truth i
imagine he came to see even more clearly during the five and a half torturous years, two of them in solitary confinement but he spent as as a prisoner of war in that hellish place known as the hanoi hilton. we are stronger together than we are divided and john mccain do that. his entire life was a testimony to that powerful truth. it is why as a prisoner of war john mccain refused offers of release because he knew what the rules were. the rules were first in, first out. he was not the first in. he just happened to be the son of an admiral in the north vietnamese were going to make him a symbol and released him. he wouldn't do it. he wouldn't accept it. his body broken by the torture of the plane crash. he stayed in that cell and waited his turn until the moment came when he could leave with his head up. john didn't want to be defined as a professional prisoner of
war. i love the story about a party that was given for john and his fellow captains after they got home. when young man was telling the story of his confinement in some detail when he happened to over and see john mccain. he suddenly felt conspicuous and said john i shouldn't be going on about my time as a prisoner of war. i was there for six weeks. you were there for five and a half years. typical john mccain humor and wit, john replied, oh no go right ahead. the first six weeks were the toughest. like a brand lincoln, john mccain new that laughter helped make the unbearable therewith. like president lincoln was secure enough in his own reputation and his own achievements to be modest. john podhoretz the hanoi hilton or the knee. he served in the senate longer than many. he leaves his mark on this body and our nation. when the issue of torture and
detention was at the front and center before the american people when we were trying to decide what was the boundaries for this democracy faced with the threat of terrorism, there was one voice in the senate who was credible. it was john mccain. i made speech after speech on the subject but when john mccain got up and spoke about the issue of torture, there was silence in the floor of the senate as we listened carefully. he proposed a resolution establishing humane standards of treatment realizing that the humanity we showed toward our prisoners is the same community we expected if americans were taken prisoner. in his effort was enacted by the senate with over 90 votes a strong person roll call. john mccain more than anything was a champion of the united states military. the men and women who served in our armed forces. they never had a better friend. our nation's veterans and their families never had a stronger ally. he was a leader in the fight to
curb the influence of special interest in politics, and to make our government truly a government by and for the people. with russ feingold and john mccain they moved us towards what america is longing for putting the special interest behind us putting the people first ending soft-money picu treasured our heritage as a nation of immigrants. i've such found respect for john mccain's efforts to reach across the aisle to try to find solutions for america's broken immigration system. even as his own party railed against him, we spent almost a year together, eight senators, four democrats and format republicans led by john mccain to write the comprehensive immigration reform bill. it was one of my proudest moments in the senate. it was why i ran for the senator it was what john mccain totals over and over was to be our mission in life as senators. solve the problems facing america and don't be worried about taking some heat. he took a lot of heat.
as republican to step up and offered a real solution to our comprehensive immigration challenge. .. was an extraordinary effort. we all had to compromise. john compromised, i compromised but we ended up with a bipartisan bill that passed overwhelmingly on the floor of the u.s. senate. there hasn't been another moment like that in the time that i have been here, and john led the way. and he look a lot of grief for it. his poll numbers were not that good, particularly among the most conservative republicans but john knew we had a problem to solve and he stepped up and did it, and i was just honored to be part of the small group that worked night after night week after week to put that effort together. of course, what i remember now more than anything is that middle of the night vote a little over a year ago. he walked through that door just having spoken on the telephone with president trump and he came to the well of the senate
and he stood right next to that table, and because he had limited motion in his arm because of that plane crash and torture in vietnam he barely lifted his right arm and pushed his thumb down and said no. with that no vote, he preserved health insurance for millions of americans, and he invoked the ire of conservative republicans who will never forgive him for that moment. it was one of the proudest, most courageous votes and moments in the history of the senate. i was honored to be here and have a chance to thank him personally that night. i remember when you came to the floor and spoke at the desk which is now bearing the vase of roses in tribute to john mccain and reminded all of us why we run for this office. sure, it's a great title but in a lot of americans never
get close to a title like united states senator. it's john mccain and too many of us it's much much more. it's not only a great honor, it's a great challenge us to do something with this title, to solve the problems that face this country. i didn't always agree with john but i respected the fact that he wanted the senate to be an institution serving the people of this country and solving the problems that we face. john was principled, courageous time and again. there were times when we had our differences . i recalled when he came to illinois to campaign against me. he was campaigning on behalf of a state representative in illinois named jim durkin, not durbin fbut durkin , then johnson supporter, john n returned the favor by campaigning for jim durkin against me. you might owonder how real react to a person who is
trying to take your job away which john was doing. i understand and i expect . jim durkin was loyal to john mccain and that mccain was loyal to him , came in and campaigned for him. the people of illinois cc decided i should be senator , it didn't deter john mccain one bit from working with me from that point forward. there's nan empty space in this chamber without john mccain . there's an empty space in america without his spirit. he will be missed but he certainly will never before gotten and endorse the proposal to rename the senate office abuilding in honor of lieutenant commander and senator john mccain. like senator schumer i hope decades from now over and who are visitors to the capitol grounds will ask who was this mccain they named the building after?