tv U.S. Senate Sen. Graham Pays Tribute to Sen. John Mc Cain CSPAN August 29, 2018 6:20am-6:40am EDT
did serve his country honorably, and his country is much better, much better for his service. we'll miss him in this chamber, but we should all strive to live up to his example of service and bipartisan work in the senate and bipartisan work, of course, for our nation. the words ring true for john mccain more than almost anyone else i can think of. oh beautiful for patriot dream that sees beyond the years. john mccain was always trying to be that patriot that would be thinking about the future, that would try to see beyond the years to make life better for those who came after him. and we are privileged to have served in the united states senate with john mccain. on behalf of my family, and i'm sure not just the family of pennsylvania but well beyond our state, we offer condolences to
john's wife cindy and their family and his many friends. may he rest in peace. god bless john mcc mr. graham: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: thank you. i have been thinking about this. i have been dreading this. and i am now going to do this. to all of my colleagues who have gone before me, you have done right by our friend, senator mccain. the family appreciates all the good words, the kindnesses, the anecdotes that have come their way. this is a tough time for the family. john has seven wonderful children, cindy, devoted wife, you really did well by john. but before anything else, i just want to know -- i'm going to try to make this somewhat fun, even though i don't feel in a funny
mood right now. but the bottom line is, let's start off with the tie. to anybody who may be watching on television, this is a naval academy tie. i wore this today, john, to honor you and to annoy you all at the same time. he would constantly tell me, lindsey, i wish you were in my naval academy class. i said, well, that's very nice, john. you know why, lindsey? i said no, john. if you'd been in my class, i would have been sixth from the bottom, not fifth. thank you very much, john. humiliation and affection were constant companions. the more he humiliated you, the more he liked you. in that regard i was well served . to my colleagues, thank you again so much for what you have done. the only way i know to put this in words that maybe john can
relate to is that after a military operation is over, after a mission is complete, the pilots come back and debrief. if there's a military operation, they do an after-action report. i thought to myself, what would it say? what would the after-action report for john mccain say? and the purpose of these reports is for lessons learned so that others will benefit and make sure that we'll remember, remember the things that went well and the things that did not so we'll be better off as a unit, as a nation. the title of the operation was pretty easy. you can say a lot of things about me but clever is not one of them. operation maverick. it began in the fall of 1954, the year before i was born at the naval academy and it ended
the 25th of august, 2018. and what can we learn? the source of the report is me, his political wingmen, code name little jerk. you've all got your names and you've earned them like i did, who was lucky enough to walk in his shadow and to witness history up close, to be in the presence of a giant at a time everything around us was so small. what did i learn? that a few dumb jokes told over and over actually become funny and can take you a long way in politics, marco. i'm going to give them to you because john liked you. lindsey, how hot is it in arizona? john, i don't know. it is so hot that the trees
chase the dogs. isn't that funny, john? what's unique about arizona? i said i don't know, john. i imagine a lot of things. barry goldwater ran for president lost. i ran for president and lost. lindsey, it's the only place in the nation where mothers tell their children you can never grow up to be president. jeff, remember that. maybe you can break the string. lindsey, aren't you a lawyer? yeah, i am, john. he says, ug know the difference it a lawyer and a catfish? no, i don't. one is a bottom dwelling scum sucking creature and the other is a fish. no wonder we did so poorly with lawyers, john. you know why i didn't join the marines this no, my parents were married. i'm going to miss these dumb jokes. what else did i learn? i learned how to fight a lot.
everything and everybody. i learned how to forgive and i saw how to heal. on the fighting side, i learned that the captured warrior who was tortured became the statesman who forgave and healed, a relationship between his former adversary and our nation. i went to the hanoi hilton, one of the highlights of my life with john. it's now a museum and we're the bad guys because they get the right how the museum reads. i remember being in front of his cell and you can see the wheels turning and the memories coming back. and as we walked forward surrounded by a bunch of handlers and john mccain was elvis in vietnam. it was the most amazing thing in the world how people adored him
in vietnam. i saw a bunch of photos on the wall of the prisoners playing volleyball, sifting in the sun with -- sitting in the sun with sunglasses on. i said john, must not have been that bad after all and he said with a smile, i don't remember it this way, which allowed us to get out of vietnam. i remember him embracing a war that nobody wanted to talk about because he understood what it would cost to lose it. i remember him supporting the surge when everybody was willing to get out of iraq because they were so tired of it and so no way forward. i remember the fighter. i remember the 2008 campaign when in 2007, john mccain was fifth in a four-person race, written off as politically dead, no money, the straight talk express had no wheels.
out of sheer determination after a visit to iraq where general petraeus allowed him to talk in july to 600 people are going to reenlist in a war they did not have to continue to fight and about equal number were becoming citizens because they were fighting for their country and had expedited citizenship, two empty chairs in the front were boots and john asked, what is that all about? the two didn't make it to the ceremony but were given their citizenship that day. i remember about 2,000 soldiers wanting a photo and every one of them got it. i remember being so hot i couldn't breathe but we stayed anyway. i remember coming back and getting the nomination only to lose. i remember that night very well. he had wanted to be president. he was prepared to be president. but it was not his to have.
and i remember above all levels the speech he gave that night. john taught us how to lose. when you go throughout the world, people remember his concession speech as much as anything else. there are so many countries where you can't afford to lose because they'll kill you. and john said that night, president obama is now my president. so he healed the nation at a time he was hurt. i learned that serving a cause greater than yourself hurts. anybody in the military can tell you the risk you take. he couldn't put his jacket on. he couldn't comb his hair because he got hurt serving a cause greater than his self. i remember how easy it is to say and how hard it is to do, how
hard it is to tell your base i think you're wrong. how hard it is to solve problems that nobody else wants to talk about. i learned that failure and success are the different sides of the same coin, that john told me, i have become better from my failures because it teaches us and i've been tempted by my success and without my failures, i would never have been successful. so to those who are striving as a young person, remember john mccain. he failed a lot but he never quit. the reason we're talking about him today and the reason i'm crying is because he was successful in spite of his failures. for family and friends, the after-action report would say a relationship with maverick brought joy and difficulty.
both were your constant companion. he was a difficult man. he could be tough. but the joy that you receive from being with him will sustain you for a lifetime. and i am so lucky to have been in his presence. he taught me that principle and compromise are not mutually exclusive and the foundation of a great person as well as a great nation. he taught me that immigration as hard as it is to solve, somebody's got to do it. and he said to me with ted kennedy, you're going to learn, lindsey, that the other side has to get something, too. i have learned that lesson. to my friends on the other side, as long as i'm here, i'm going
to remember that you have to get something, too. he taught me that when good ignores evil, it may be convenient but it seldom works. he talked about what would happen in iraq if we left. he was right. he talked about what would happen in syria if we didn't get involved. he was right. why? because warriors are the best, i believe, at making peace, and the warrior understands the difference between a false peace and real peace. to those who accused him of wanting endless wars, you have no idea what you were talking about. he wanted sustainable peace and understood the consequences of not seeing it through. the soldiers adored him.
to those who have traveled with john, you seldom had two mills in the same country. you met more people than you could remember, but you were struck by one thing. we're going to really bad places a lot. and those in the military adored this man. he taught me that boldness and practicality must be practiced in equal measure. he believes in climate change, sheldon. and so do i. but there's a practical streak about john that i think made him very successful because he told me time and time again, you have to let people catch up with you. you have to have a rhythm and a pace. there are a hundred people in this body if different walks of life. you may think you're right and
over time if you are, it will be proven. but give your colleagues the time and the understanding to catch up with you. he taught me that honor and imperfection are -- are always in competition. i do not cry for a perfect man. i cry for a man who had honor and always was willing to admit to his imperfection. if you're thinking about getting in politics, the one thing i would ask you to look at when it comes to life of john mccain, that it's okay to tell people i screwed up. i got this wrong. i want to make it right. honor is, in my view, doing the right thing at your own expense.
and he did that time and time again. he taught me that life without passion and love is a sad life. he had a happy life. he had ten lives. he was involved in five aviation accidents. if we sent john a bill for all the planes he crashed, he could never pay it off. he lived life to its fullest. he was often disappointed, but he was never deterred from getting back up and going at it again. love, not a word often associated with senator mccain , but it should be because if you were loved by him, you knew it. you were loved with all your faults. and i was lucky to have been
loved by him. so how would i characterize operation maverick? wildly successful. it made the world a better place. it gave the nation something to talk about at a time when we can't agree on anything. not universal acceptance of the life of john mccain, but pretty damn close. the only time msnbc, cnn, and fox are saying the same thing. and the only way that happened is because those of us who have had the pleasure of being in his presence and those who covered him in your business want to tell the story. i haven't been approached since
his death -- i have been approached since his death by cab drivers, waiters, cops. they said sorry for your loss. my name is graham, not mccain. but i feel like a mccain. i don't know if i have earned that honor, but i feel like it. the average man and woman in this country got john mccain. and what will it mean for the future? it means there will be generations of politicians coming along who will be influenced by him. the mccain institute is alive and well. its goal is to get young leaders throughout the developing world, expose them to democracy, teach them the art of compromise, the rule of law.
and what a legacy. john will inspire courage. he will reinforce the idea nothing is inevitable as long as a few people are willing to fight for what they believe is right. it is going to be a lonely journey for me for a while. i am going to need your help, and the void to be filled by john's passing is more than i can fill. don't look to me to replace this man. look to me to remember what he was all about and try to follow in his footsteps. if you want to help me, join the march. if you want to help the country, be more like john mccain.
i believe there is a little john mccain in all of us, and the little john mccain practiced by a lot of people can make this a really great nation. so my friend, you did good. you lived in the shadow of a four-star father and a four-star grandfather. you always worried would you disappoint? you did not. to cindy and the children, thank you for making me part of the clan. to team mccain, you taught me what loyalty is all about. to my colleagues, thank you for your kindness. i yield the floor.
>> "washington journal" coming up, historian and author richard norton smith will discuss major accomplishments republican conventions. watch "washington journal" at 7:00 eastern. join the discussion. >> late yesterday, arizona congresswoman martha mcsally won her republican nomination in the race to replace outgoing enator jeff flake and beat joe arpaio. e'll face krysten simema who wo