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tv   U.S. Senate Senate Leaders Mc Connell Schumer on Death of Sen. John Mc Cain...  CSPAN  August 28, 2018 1:40am-2:10am EDT

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mccain died saturday after a battle with brain cancer. he was 81. his senate colleagues paid tribute to him on the senate floor. remarks started with senate leaders mitch mcconnell and chuck schumer. on saturday evening, a great loss echoed throughout our country. six decades of patriotic service came to an end. we suspected for some time that we'd bid farewell to our colleague, the senior senator from arizona, john mccain. john took full advantage of the months since his diagnosis. his hard work continued. but happy reminiscing, fond farewells, final reflections, and time with family actually
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came to the fore. i was privileged to spend a small share of that time with john. we sat on his back porch in sedona under the desert sky replaying old times. john did things his way these last months. for his colleagues here, the time confirmed but sad the obvious truth. the senate won't be the same without john mccain. i think it's fair to say that passion that john brought to his work was unsurpassed in this body. in more than 30 years as a senator, he never failed to marshall a razor sharp wit, a big heart and a spirit. when he saw an issue the same way you did, you knew you just found your most stalwart ally. you would thank your lucky
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stars. because when you found yourself on the other side of that table, as i think all of us learned he ran for a different kind of unforgettable experience, either way serving alongside john was never a dull affair. i found myself on both sides of that table over the years. john and i stood shoulder to shoulder on some of the most important issues to each of us and we also disagreed entirely on huge subjects that helped define each of our careers. john treated every day, every issue with the intensity and seriousness that the legislative process deserves. he would fight like mad to bring the country closer to his vision of the common good. but when the day's disputes were over, that very same man was one of our most powerful reminders that so much more unites us than
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divides us, that we should be able to differ completely on policy and stay united in love of our country. john himself once put it, we have nothing to fear from each other. we're arguing over the means to better secure our freedom and support the general welfare, but it should remain an argument among friends who share an unshakable belief in our great cause and the goodness of eacher. john -- each other. john and i sure had those fights and sure had that friendship. i'm just glad we never found ourselves in opposite dugouts. you see, john and i spent years as neighbors in the russell building often when softball season rolled around, our offices would take the field together as one united mack team we called it. now, as a seriously wounded war hero and a childhood polio survivor, i'd have to say john
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and i didn't exactly have the makings of an elite double play duo. i took the mound once or twice but i admit we mostly offered moral support. moral support. really, that's what john mccain gave this body and this country for so long. his memory will continue to give it because while john proudly served with us as the senator for arizona, he was america's hero all along. just this month congress finalized a major bill for our all volunteer armed forces that we named after john. this might seem like a small detail but really it was a fitting cap stone for a career so thoroughly defined by service in and then service for the ranks of those who wear our nation's uniform. generations of mccains have
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served with distinction in our great navy. as john described his scottish heritage in one memoir, the mccains were bred to fight and fight they have. one by one mccains have entered the academy's gates in annapolis, one by one they marched past a century's old battle flag bearing the phrase don't give up the ship. but while honorable service is in his d.n.a., john's story was never simple. at annapolis as he'd come to explain with some relish, his major distinct tifs were mostly the weakness of his grades and the length of his disciplinary record. the first miracle in john's military career was the fact that he somehow made it through school. but he prevailed and bigger tests soon came. he stared death in the face
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aboard the u.s.s. forrestal and again when he was shot down and dragged and battered and broken into the hands of our nation's enemies. five and a half hellish years in captivity. merciless beatings for the uniform he'd worn and the values he would not renounce. that stubborn, rebellious streak went from a stubling block to a saving grace. stubborn virtue sustained john. he declined early release in solidarity with his brothers. he never gave up the ship. we all know this story but while john didn't shy from sharing his experiences, he insisted he was no hero and no saint. he measured his life in simpler terms. when asked after this diagnosis last year how he'd like to be
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remembered, here's what he said. he served his country and not always right, made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of errors, but served his country. and i hope could add honorably. he'll certainly get that wish. for many the service and sacrifice that john rendered overseas would have been more than enough, more than a lifetime already. but somehow john mccain was convinced that he still owed this country more. in 1983 he arrived in congress. john knew exactly what it meant to swear, to support and defend the constitution of the united states. when he was sworn in here in the senate four years later, he was no stranger to pledging to protect the constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. the following years brought legislative accomplishments to be sure but while john's
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constituents were lucky to have him as their senator from arizona, john also remembered our titles say united states senator. he worked across the aisle on the select committee on powmia affairs whose work helped heal the wounds of war and normalize relations with vietnam. he led congressional delegations and overseas travel that were famously as grueling, as grueling as they were educational. john was seemingly immune to jet lag and he was never more excited that when he had an opportunity to share american values abroad. and of course he was singularly devoted to the men and women of our armed forces from countless visits with deployed units in iraq and afghanistan to his committee meetings right here in this body, john honored their sacrifices in a way that only he
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could. he never forgot that notwithstanding the grandeur of our military might and technical prowess, our armed services are made up of people, of our constituents, of volunteers, of the brave. john's favorite novel was ernest hemmingway's for whom the bell tolls. i suspect we'll hear it quoted quite a bit in the days ahead. the lead character is an american ex-pat named robert jordan who risked everything in the spanish civil war. he's a little bit brash, maybe a little hot headed. in fact, he's a dynamite specialist whoses specialty -- whose specialty literally is blowing things up. and he goes down fighting right down to the book's final pages. i'm sure some of us can imagine why john might identify with
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this guy. i recently rediscovered something john wrote a few years ago about this book. he noted that his favorite literary hero wasn't some contrived caricature of a hero from central casting. the book is full of complexities the character has to face all of the messiness of life and war. his idealism is challenged, but he realizes the imperfections of this world don't mean the concept of sacrifice is outdated they don't make love of cause or country into something quaint or naive. they only make patriotism, service, and hope that much more noble and necessary. it takes one kind of heroism to undergo unimaginable pain and suffering as a p.o.w. but then persist in loyalty. it takes another kind of heroism to sustain that passion for
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decades more. to withstand the slings and arrows of politic, the compromises, the disappointments, the defeats, and yet consider it a joy and an honor to serve. few have either kind of heroism. john mccain had both. fortunately, all that intensity came paired with a world class sense of humor. as we all know, john really hated to lose. the line he used after his presidential campaigns still makes me laugh. some would ask how he's copying with defeat and john would say, actually, i'm sleeping like a baby. wake up every two hours and cry. seriously, it's hard to describe this larger than life figure without lapsing into what sounds
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like cliches. we've all heard our whole lives about the importance of patriotism and self-sacrifice. but we cannot take that culture of commitment for granted because just like our nation's security and our american liberty, the very notion that some causes really are greater than ourselves only survives because service members and statesmen like john mccain will fight and even die to defend it. the bond between john and his country was so deep, but of course other bonds ran deeper still. while john's colleagues grieve our own loss, we also send our love and support to those who know him even better, those who called this man their husband,
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their son, their father, and grandfather. we stand with john's loving wife cindy. we stand with doug, andy, sidney, meghan, jack, bridget. we stand with john's mother roberta. and for all of john's loyal staff, thank you for lending him to us longer than we had a right. thank you for supporting him while he supported us. so john admin has fought his last battles and cast his final votes, but the nation he loved is still not done with him yet. this week will be dedicated to remembering him. on friday, he will lie in state here in the capitol, like other american heroes before him.
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as the days turn to weeks, i know we are all eager to come together and collaborate on ways we can continue to honor his memory. generation after generation of americans will hear about the cocky pilot who barely scraped through annapolis but then defended our nation in the skies, witness to our highest values even through terrible torture, captured the country's imagination through national campaigns that spotlighted many of our highest values, and became so integral to the united states senate where our nation airs and advances its great debates. america will miss her devoted son, her stalwart champion, her
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elder statesman. i will miss one of the very finest gentlemen with whom i have had the honor to serve. we will not forget him. i consider it our privilege to return some small share of the love that john poured out for this country. it is our honor as americans to say to the late great john sidney mccain, i. i. i., -- mccain, we will done, good and faithful servant, well done. you fought the good fight, you finished the race, you kept the faith, and you never gave up the ship.
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mr. schumer: madam president. the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: on saturday, auguso the day since the death of his friend senator kennedy, our friend and colleague, senator john s. mccain passed away. knowing his prognosis prepared us for the inevitable but it has not softened the blow. we feel a great and inexpressible loss. i know i do. but i also feel lucky that i was able to call this great man a friend. today i'd like to share a few reflections, unorganized and incomplete although they may be, i suspect i will have more to say about senator mccain with the benefit of a few days' time. senator mccain and i didn't get along very well at first. he was close to my mentor in the
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senate, ted kennedy, but not so with me. i never served with senator mccain on any committee. we get to know other senators up close. before our friendship, my closest brush with him was over a comment he made during a debate on defense policy when he said that long island was, quote, regrettably part of the united states. i blasted john's pejorative, which of course prompted him to reply from the senate floor, quote, i'm sorry there is at least one of my colleagues that can't take a joke. i apologize if i offended him and hope that someday he will have a sense of humor. like many, i was a victim of senator mccain's aserbic wit. now, things began to defrost when we worked together during the gang of 14 to avoid a change in the senate rules during the bush administration, and a real
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tight and lasting friendship emerged from our collaboration on immigration reform. we worked in close quarters for nearly a year, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, fine tuning the only piece of major immigration reform to pass this chamber in decades. we visited the southern border together to assess the gaps in our security up close. we were doing what the senate was supposed to do -- grappling with the biggest challenges, working in a bipartisan way to find solutions, overcoming obstacles that have so long bedeviled immigration reform and continue to stymie progress today. we couldn't have done it without john mccain. in recent days, many reflected on his presidential campaigns and his military service, rightly so, but he was also a natural legislator, able to seek
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common ground, sense where to go, knew when to give a little, knew when not to. he had deep principle, but he also knew how to craft a product that could actually pass, and the bill did in the senate with large numbers of supporters from both parties. had we passed immigration reform then, had the house done what the senate did under john's leadership, we wouldn't be quarreling about immigration now, and our country would be a better, stronger, and more unified place. we game so close over that year that john mccain started treating my staff like they were his own, and me the same. we spoke so frequently, i knew john mccain's cell number by heart. i mistakenly repeated it during an interview when a reporter asked me how close we were. they had to edit it out to protect john's privacy.
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i can truly say that the time we spent authoring and passing immigration reform were some of the proudest days in politics for me and the rest of the gang of eight. in no small part because the success was shared with one great leader, one great legislative leader, john mccain. you know, he was so many things to so many people. a fierce friend to those who were lucky enough to have earned his friendship. you had to earn his friendship. a real thorn in the side of those who earned discorn. many know that. he was an unofficial ambassador for the united states, a comfort to our allies, an unabashed champion for western values. he was unafraid to take on presidents. he was unafraid to take on his own party. he was equally parts funny and furious, foul-mouthed and statesmanlike. he could put the temper in
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temperament. he was a brave and honest man. he was a patriot. he was all those things throughout his life, usually more than one at once, until his very last days. remarking on the character of america, senator mccain said that we live in a, quote, big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, restless, striving, daring, good, and magnificent country. truer words could not be said about the man himself. big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, restless, striving, daring, brave, good, and magnificent. as you go through lave, you meet truly -- a few truly great people. john mccain was one of them. his dedication to his country and to the men and women who
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serve and protect it was unsurpassed. even in his last weeks, he was calling me every few days to make sure that our defense authorization bill was done and done right, not for him, not for his glory. because he cared about men and women who serve in our armed forces so deeply. his life is a story of american heroism personified, but maybe most of all, he was a truth teller. perhaps it's a reflection of our politics that a man can be so well regarded for simply telling the truth as he saw it, or maybe recognizing the demands and failings of our politics, it's more a reflection on the man, that four decades of public life could not warp or dim his if i dealt to the unvarn -- fidelity to the unvarnished truth.
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i will miss him dearly. in the past year of his illness, during moments of doubt about the direction of our country, i found myself thinking about what john mccain would do or what he would say if he were here. truth be told, there is nothing that i could say that could possibly add or detract from senator mccain's illustrious career. there is nothing any of us have done that compares to the sacrifice he made in a cell block half a world away and half a lifetime ago, a sacrifice he made over and over again for the country he loved and the principles he advanced, so that generations will study his example, i propose we rename the senate russell office building, one of only three senate office buildings, after john mccain. it would be a fitting tribute to a man who considered his service here in the senate, headquartered in the russell
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building where his beloved armed services committee also resides, the most significant of his distinguished career. the man whose name he would replace, senator richard russell, a towering figure in the senate of his day, was nonetheless an avowed opponent of civil rights and the architect of the southern filibuster that long delayed its passage. it's time that we recognize that as times change, so do our heroes. so i will be introducing a resolution with senator flake to change the name of the russell building to the mccain building. i hope my colleagues will cosponsor and support the resolution, but it need not be the only way we honor senator mccain. we can honor him by trying to carry out the principles he lived by. we can try, as he did, to put
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country before party. we can try, as he always did, to speak truth to power. and we can try, as he summoned us to try, to restore the senate to its rightful place in our national political life. up until the very end, john mccain still believed the senate was capable of solving our country's greatest challenges. he believed that our arcane rules and procedures, designed to frustrate one-party rule, were an antidote to the polarization of our politics. at the very least, he believed in the senate's ability to make progress, to set aside for a moment our party affiliations, political interests, and personal ambitions in the service of a larger cause. because that's what he did. and for all his cynicism, he still believed the senate could
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reach that higher calling. deep in the middle of his final speech on the senate floor were these words. quote -- i hope we can again rely on humility, on our need too cooperate, on our dependence on each other, learn how to trust each other again, and by doing so better serve the people who elected us. if we are to truly honor the life and the service of john mccain, let us do that. let us do that. i yield the floor. i wills, madam president -- john mccain put out a few final words today. i think some of his staffers put them out. i'd like to read just two
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paragraphs of that and then ask unanimous consent that they be put in the record. i have often observed, mccain wrote, p that i'm the luckiest person on earth. i feel that way even now as i prepare for the end of my life. i have loved my life, all of it. i've had experience, add have en signatures, and friendships enough for ten satisfying lives. i am so thankful. like most people, i have regrets, but i would not trade a day of my life in good times or bad times for the best of anyone else's. and finally, he concluded with this -- do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of america, because nothing is inevitable here. americans never quit. we never surrender.
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we never hide from history; we make history. farewell, fellow americans. god bless you, god bless amer announcer: senator john mccain is said to be remembered in phoenix arizona and the nations capital. wednesday on what would have been his a second birthday. sensor mccain's body will lie in state at the arizona state capitol in phoenix, followed by a private ceremony. arizona's junior senator will speak. thursday, a funeral service at north phoenix baptist church, where his senate colleague, former wife president joe biden will be among the speakers. flownr mccain's body is to joint base andrews in maryland thursday evening, and friday he will route -- lie in state at the u.s. capitol rotunda. saturday, george w. bush and barack obama memorialized senator mccain in a service at
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the washington national cathedral. sunday, senator mccain will be laid to rest at the u.s. naval academy in a private ceremony. next, the nebraska senate debate between deb fischer and the democratic challenger jane raybould. a member of the lincoln city council. questions focused on immigration, gun control, the russia investigation, and the president's trade policies. the debate was sponsored by kmtv3 news now and the omaha world herald in conjunction with the nebraska state fair. it is 50 minutes. world herald in conjunction with the nebraska state fair. 50 minutes.

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