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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  August 30, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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american, please tweet it to us @velshiruhle. now we'll hand it over to andrea mitchell, with a big day on "andrea mitchell reports." now on "andrea mitchell reports," john mccain remembered. the mccain family returning to arizona before the arizona farewell to john mccain. his casket kissed by his widow cindy. his daughter meghan overcome with emotion. late wednesday, several of mccain's children came back to grieve and hug some of the 15,000 people who stayed for all hours, coming to pay their respects to the man who represented arizona for more than 30 years. nearly a quarter of the senate here in washington left the capitol early this morning to be in phoenix for today's service. the memorial, the speakers, the readings, and the music all
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selected by john mccain personally in the year since his diagnosis, including asking his good friend former vice president joe biden to deliver one of today's eulogies. their friendship reflected in their last public appearance together almost one year ago. >> i hope he has heard my profession of gratitude for him. >> it was always duty, honor, country. that's john. john understands what it means to sacrifice for what you believe in. to put the greater good ahead of personal feelings. >> good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. as friends and family in arizona and throughout the nation pause, pausing to remember the life and the legacy of john sidney mccain
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iii. today the late senator will be honored at the only public service in his home state, the north phoenix baptist church, where two dozen senators, including ten democrats, have also gathered. tonight, as you see these live pictures of the hearse traveling through the state capitol with a motorcycle escort. tonight, that casket will be flown to washington, d.c. where senator mccain will lie in state at the u.s. capitol at the rotunda. he will be only the 31st person to be honored in that fashion in american history. and finally, after friday's service at the rotunda, on saturday senator mccain will be remembered at a memorial service at the national cathedral, eulogized by former presidents george w. bush and barack obama,
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his two opponents, selected by him for that honor, before a private burial on sunday at the naval cemetery in annapolis. among the attendees at today's service, former national security adviser, retired three-star general h.r. mcmaster. today in an essay in "foreign affairs," general mcmaster writes about mccain, "he was zealous in his defense of democracy and his condemnation of autocracy." as we see the family arriving, cindy mccain, flanked on one side of course by senator mccain's son john, as well as jimmy. one formerly a marine, the other active duty navy, and the other members of the mccain family. and as they arrive, continuing with this very personal
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reflection from general mcmas r mcmaster. writing in "foreign affairs" today that he was zealous in his defense of democracy and his condemnation of autocracy, that mccain's passion sometimes gave rise to his famous temper, but the temper was always directed at those who threatened what he held dear, the liberty, freedom, and humaneness denied him for over half a decade in a prisoner of war camp. joining me now for his first television interview since leaving the white house, former national security adviser h.r. mcmaster, now a senior fellow at the hoover institution. general mcmaster, while we watch the casket and the honorary pallbearers, we'll be talking about the life and legacy of john mccain. thank you for joining us in this
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very emotional, very personal tribute. >> well, thank you, andrea, thank you for the opportunity to talk about a real american hero. >> as a lifelong military man, someone who's written about vietnam, importantly, let's talk about the legacy of his service in vietnam, and what he did to heal the wounds from that war. >> well, john mccain had a lot of wonderful qualities. and one of them was empathy. he always tried to understand complex situations and problems from the other person's perspective. and so what he saw is, after the vietnam war, after the disaster of that war and his personal scars associated with it and the tremendous sacrifices he made, he saw that vietnam's interests were aligning with those of our country. he thought, this is the time, this is the time for us to bring our country back to vietnam and to start to develop what is now
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i think a very positive relationship with a stre strategically important country. john mccain had empathy, he had vision. he was a tremendous statesman committed to our nation and doing what's in his fellow americans' interests. >> we're going to pause, general, as we watch the pallbearers carrying senator mccain, the casket. the family lined up outside the church. the service members are from the arizona national guard. of course after these services in phoenix, senator mccain's
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body will be flown to washington, where he will lie in state in the rotunda, lie in repose, i should say, in the rotunda at the u.s. capitol. there have been thousands of arizonans and people from all over the country. our colleague peter alexander interviewed a vietnamese family, formerly vietnamese family that drove from california to honor senator mccain. and general mcmaster, that fits with your theme about the peace and reconciliation that he pursued, diplomatically helping former president bill clinton achieve a peace agreement and diplomatic recognition to vietnam, a former adversary, former enemy, of course.
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that was an important part of his legacy, general. >> it was. i think what the senator took out of his experience in vietnam and his fellow americans' experience in vietnam was the sense of duty, to ensure that we have to demand a strategy that will deliver an outcome worthy of the risks and sacrifices america's sons and daughters make. so the senator was a tremendous advocate for winning in war, winning in conflict, at a time when that had become almost unfashionable. i have a personal debt of gratitude for him, i think any soldier, sailor, marine, who fought in afghanistan and iraq, for his oversight role in those wars, to ensure that we were aiming all of our efforts at achieving an outcome that was worthy of the sacrifices our troops were making there. >> as the late senator, of course, planned his own funeral,
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it's significant that he invited presidents george w. bush and president obama to be giving eulogies at the national cathedral, clearly a recognition that although opponents, he believes in reaching across the i aisle, they became his friends and he worked with them on national security issue, and also a rebuke against somebody he didn't want to be there, president trump. >> right. i think what senator mccain has become and will remain in our memory, in his legacy, is a unifying force in our country. what the senator lament incoed s last years was the polarization of american society and the opportunity that presents for russians and others who are trying to undermine our democracy, undermine our confidence in who we are as a people and our values and our democratic processes and institutions. and what john mccain did across
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his whole life is brought people together, together in our common identity as americans, our common values, individual rights and rule of law and freedom of speech and freedom of religion and tolerance. and so we should learn from john mccain's example now, because it's really a critical time for our country. and i hope that we can transform his memory, what we remember about him and his tremendous qualities into a legacy, a legacy that helps bring americans topics. >> one of the most striking references of course was one of his final references after the helsinki summit when he called the president's performance one of the most disgraceful performances, what he viewed as being much too accommodating to vladimir putin. how did that strike you? >> well, what john mccain has always been is a very strong advocate. he always will remain, through his memory and his legacy, an advocate for what makes america
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unique. and there are some people who think it's okay to apologize for america, when i think what we ought to do is extol our virtues, recognizing that this republic is imperfect. we will always have work to do, but america has always been a force for good in the world and john mccain would say that unabashedly. it's also clear there are autocratic close ed models that are competing with our free, opening democratic model, and we have to compete effectively. what putin has been able to do is to operate in a way that has been largeliy euncontested in t free world, not just in the united states but in like-minded countries. so it's time to listen to john mccain and confront this kind of sustained campaign of propaganda, disinformation and political subversion.
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these autocratic societies want to pit us against each other. let's celebrate today the life of a tremendous hero, john mccain. his birthday was yesterday, let's celebrate his birthday and remember and protect his legacy by coming together as americans and be proud of who we are as a nation. >> i know this is difficult for you, i have to ask you how you felt about what many people felt was really disrespectful, the american legion, the veterans of foreign wars, all pressing the president to lower the flag at the white house which remained flying at full staff on monday for quite a while. >> well, we all have an opportunity to transcend all of that and to make our personal choice to celebrate a tremendous life, a life of a real servant to the nation. what i hope also, i hope that senator mccain's example will draw more people to government service and service in the military in particular. this is a man who committed his
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entire life to service. and this is a family that's committed to service as well. and i think what we often see are the tough circumstances that are associated with military service. what we don't get to see a lot are the less tangible rewards. john mccain was a very happy man. he had a great sense of humor. he was a joy to be around. and i think it was because he drew that happiness and that contentment from a life of service to his country. so maybe today we can all talk to young people across our country and talk to them about the real joys and rewards of service to the nation. >> one of the things that you've witnessed in the field as well, from a vantage point of watching here in washington, is the way he took on the generals and the admirals, the brass. he loved to be in the field, in combat zones, hearing from the troops themselves as to what they needed and what they weren't getting. and we certainly watched hearing
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after hearing when he would challenge the top leaders and demand answers as to why things weren't going better. while we watch these live pictures, we would like to interrupt and play these examples, but i think you know full well what it must have been like for some of them to be grilled by john mccain, then the chairman of armed services. >> john mccain was democracy in action. that's what you want, that oversight in the house and senate. he took that very seriously. he was an advocate for the american people, our security and our interests. that's where i really got to know him, as one of the three amigos, at the time it was senator graham, senator lieberman, and senator mccain. it seemed like they were always in iraq and afghanistan. and asking, as you mentioned, all the tough questions. and that's the essence of our democracy.
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and he embodied that. it's one of the reasons why he's a true american hero. >> i know you were in touch with him during his final days. can you share some of those conversations? >> well, he was where he wanted to be, at his beautiful home in sedona, surrounded by his loving, tremendous family. and he was as gracious in his final days as he was in his earlier years. and in the interactions i had with him, he was always asking, how are you doing? and then also talking to you about what your plans are going to be. he never wanted to talk about himself. so today i'm sure he's looking down on and you say saying, you guys are making too big a deal of this. that's part of who he is, he was a humble servant of the nation who was just a wonderful person to be around. he had a great sense of humor too. he had a temper too. but it was always directed at
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those who he felt was obstructing what he felt america should be. we're all going to miss him. john mccain, really, he's irreplaceable. he was a fine man and a tremendous servant to our nation. >> having served in the white house, served in the field and in the military, of course, for so many years, how important was it that he stood up for the geneva conventions and opposed the enhanced interrogations known as torture and was an ally of a democrat, dianne feinstein, in a very contentious debate? >> there are a lot of issues, that being one of them, that ought to bring americans together. what's extraordinary to think about our time today is, even when there ought to be a basis for agreement, it seems that people, just to be contrary, want to take the opposite position. i think in the area of national security and how we conduct ourselves abroad, the wars in which our young men and women are fighting, that ought to bring us together, right?
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who is for a north korea with a nuclear weapon? who is for a terrorist safe haven across the greater middle east or in afghanistan? we ought to be able to come together on these important issues. and john mccain was a force for unifying the country. and so that's what we'll miss maybe more than anything. what we never ed is for all of o step up, every american, and find common ground. every time we disagree about something, what if we give equal time to something we agree about and talk about that as well? >> general h.r. mcmaster, we know this is a difficult time. our condolences to you and your family. thanks for being with us on this important day. >> thanks for the opportunity, andrea. thank you. joining us now, nbc's kelly o'donnell outside the church in phoenix as the hearse approaches for this memorial service. kelly, you have a lot of
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thoughts about john mccain today and the extraordinary outpouring of arizonans in all that heat, they had to add extra time for people to come and pay their respects at the capitol building last night. >> reporter: it's hard to understate how remarkable it was when people can think of their own lives of physical discomfort of being in extreme heat, and yet roughly 15,000 arizonans stood in line, waited patiently for just moments to be able to walk past the casket of senator john mccain inside the state capitol. that was something that it was hard to measure when the planning was taking place, how would people respond. indeed they did, and we also saw that some members of the family, i got to spend some time last night with the mccain family and with some of their closest aides, and they felt very strongly that especially as the evening came about and the doors were supposed to have been
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closed, yet there were still people, they wanted to personally express and connect with some of those who had stood and waited. so his sons, john sidney mccain iv, known as jack, jimmy, their daughter sidney who has the middle name of her father, were there, greeting, hugging, saying hello, expressing appreciation for those who had stood in the heat so long. today, as you know, this is a service in what in many ways looks like a mega church in terms of its size. it is a very large facility here, and there are a thousand seats that are allotted for members of the public who wish to pay their respects. of course there's a long invitation list for people who have been part of the mccain extended family, political family, the community of arizona, fellow senators, two dozen senators will be here, many dignitaries, and of course the program will reflect that as we go forward. but this has been a time of celebration. i was really struck by general
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mcmaster talking about how john mccain was a happy man. that's something that i think people who simply watch coverage of him over the years might not have fully appreciated, because he was so often talking about issues, serious national security, war-related issues, but the sort of joyful nature of him day to day is something friends and extended family are certainly remembering now, andrea. >> and finally, kelly, that private moment last night when cindy mccain and members of the family joined staff in that hotel in phoenix and sang "happy birthday," a private moment, it must have been joyous and tearful at the same time. >> reporter: it was joyous and tearful, and there were stories being told all evening by friends and a lot of smiling faces among family and friends. no one can possibly understate the void left by the passing of
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john had contamccain. in that coming together, there was a real focus on the things worthy of remembering and the things that made them laugh and smile. so it had a real celebratory feeling as family, friends, and longtime aides gathered. >> you might call it an irish wake. >> reporter: indeed, indeed. >> thanks, kelly. we'll be right back as the procession goes towards that large church, the north phoenix baptist church, as we await the services for senator mccain. we'll be right back. can be relentless. tremfya® is for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. i'm ready. with tremfya®, you can get clearer. and stay clearer. in fact, most patients who saw 90% clearer skin at 28 weeks stayed clearer through 48 weeks. tremfya® works better than humira® at providing clearer skin, and more patients were symptom free with tremfya®. tremfya® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. before treatment, your doctor should check you for infections and tuberculosis.
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♪ and welcome back. joining me now, as we watch the hearse going from the state capitol in phoenix to the north phoenix baptist church for the memorial service for john mccain, joining me are msnbc military analyst colonel jack jacobs, medal of honor recipient who of course also served in vote familiar. john weaver, political director for senator mccain's 2000 presidential campaign, now an msnbc contributor. and msnbc political analyst michael steele and political historian michael beschloss.
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john weaver, first of all, thank you for being here. >> thank you, andrea. >> this has been such a difficult passage, joyful at times, but overwhelmingly sad, because of the loss of this man, a singular voice in american life, american politics. >> i received a message from jack mccain, his son, who is a graduate of the naval academy and who is serving our country. he said, john, don't be said, you know the old man, he would like us to get back in the good fight. that's how i'll remember him. not that we need to be reminded to get back in the good fight because we're all mccainiacs, but come monday we'll be doing that. >> what is the good fight that john mccain would want you to carry on? >> we're in dark times in this country. i remember the conversation i had with him just after donald trump was elected president. and i was urging him to speak
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out. and he said, don't worry, boy. i said, we're in dark times. he said, you have no idea how dark. >> and he certainly, even through helsinki, was speaking out with the strongest, most consequential criticism of that news conference with vladimir putin. >> we will continue -- the beacon has not fallen. somebody will pick it up. that's the faith that john mccain had. there are leaders we know. there are leaders we don't know yet who will arrive on the scene to help all of us to continue this push to defend our institutions of government, the basic democracies, the ability of the free press to hold people accountable. we're going to join that fight on monday. the rest of this week is about remembering a good man. >> and certainly we now know he was planning the services of this week, starting after his diagnosis, because he knew the grim reality of that, no matter how hard he fought it.
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so his choices, his choice of joe biden today, of barack obama and george w. bush for saturday, a russian dissident to be an honorary pallbearer on saturday, and of course the exclusion of president trump and the inclination not to welcome sarah palin into the fold, all speaks to him having the final word. >> particularly if you look at the selection of presidents bush and obama to speak on saturday, i was there in south carolina, as you know, you know how tough that campaign was in the 2000 republican primary. and you know how hard the campaign was in 2008. but when john mccain seies thes two men, he didn't see a republican rival in the primary, he didn't see a democratic rival who beat him. he saw two americans. that's the message we need to take this week to the country, that our opponents are not our
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enemies and we can come together. and while we may disagree, tempe tempestously sometimes, the country is too important to turn them into enemies. >> among those in the church today will be 24 american senators including ten democrats who flew out before dawn this morning to be in phoenix. that says a lot, michael beschloss. >> it does, it says as much about what senator mccain did to reach across the aisle as it does about the culture and the times that we are in. and to the point that you were just making about the dark times that the senator referred to in your conversations, that is the space that we occupy ourselves in right now. so it is nice to see them there. it is nice to know that they are there and will be there. but then monday comes. and the question i have, as we
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go through this morning period, what are we like on the other side of it? are we somewhat transcended? are we a people who are lifted up by his example, by his life, by the testimony of his faith in this country and its people, and then do we carry that forward? because that is the real test that john mccain is leaving behind for us. >> and what jeff flake told us yesterday, regretfully, is that in arizona and actually across the country, this is now -- the republican party is now the donald trump party. >> exactly. so that cloud has extended itself. and there are, i hate to say, a lot of americans that welcome that cloud and revel in it. and so to the point of light that i think john mccain's story and legacy represented, there have to be new points added to that. and that's going to be on us, as
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those who participate in the craft of politics, but also the requirements of citizenship, because this experiment does matter. that's what john mccain i think appreciated more than anything else, how important this experiment we call the united states of america really, really is, not just to us but to the world. >> michael beschloss, this ceremonial farewell, the religious farewell, certainly the national cathedral, the rotunda tomorrow following on the services in arizona, are at a level that one associates usually with a departed president. >> absolutely. this has been a week of honoring john mccain, well-deserved. we usually only do that for presidents, the service in the washington cathedral on saturday, that's where presidents in modern times now tend to be buried out of. it's a fairly recent phenomenon. but the interesting thing, what you were saying about the fact
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that he spent time, the last number of months, john mccain did, deciding what these ceremonies should be, who should speak, because he knew that in doing so he was basically writing another chapter of his autobiography. everything we see and hear today and in the next couple of days will be very much of his own choosing. almost everything they say is john mccain from the grave trying to send a message. and one thing that is absolutely heartbreaking to me, we were talking, all of us, but the fact that these are going to be pretty bipartisan events, those ten democrats coming out this morning, and democratic speakers. for most of the 200 years plus of american history, that's the way you do it for a major figure. that's not something that's remarkable. and, you know, john mccain told john weaver at the end, so john told us, these are dark times, how dark you do not know i think is the quote that you had from him. and one element of those dark
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times is that we're now in a time where having ten democrats, if you're a republican senator, at a service, is a maverick, revolutionary act. that's how bad things are. you have a russian dissident as a pallbearer. that's seen as something that's radical with a republican president who is accused of being too close to the russians. look at this in counterpoint to the age of donald trump. >> i just want to reflect personally, one of the people i covered in washington, really even before i came to washington, in the '72 and '76 campaigns for the presidency, the democratic primaries, was senator henry "scoop" jackson. when i was the energy correspondent, he was someone i talked to constantly as i learned a very difficult beat in the late '70s and early '80s. and he was the person who really was the mentor to john mccain. he was a democrat. he was a social liberal, a civil
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libertari libertarian. he was from washington state, a great environmentalist, a hard liner on the soviet union, a hard liner on national security. i cared about him, his family, deeply, spent a lot of time with him. in reading back and learning more about how "scoop" jackson really mentored a young john mccain, not so i don't thiyoung was out of the hanoi hilton, but effects the liaison between the navy and the senate, and traveled with him throughout the world. colonel jack jacobs, you remember that service. that's what first interested him in politics, really. then he decided to move to arizona, of course after marrying cindy and running for the house. >> one of the interesting things about john mccain is that he
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was -- it had seemed from time to time that he was a quick a q personality. by the time he came into politics, he had already been through the mill. i have known people who were in prison with him. each one you talk to would say the same thing about john mccain, that effeche was the br guy they ever met. this was coming from people who were very brave themselves. as difficult as it was for him, getting tortured every day, he managed to be an uplifting force at the hanoi hilton. the second thing that comes immediately to mind is that john mccain, unlike most people, even those in politics, had an
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extremely sensitive capability to determine when somebody was trying to con him. he was not conned easily. and his response usually to people who were trying to do that was to just cut them down, just down to the ground, with a phrase or two. and that would just shut them up. there were very few people who could do that but john mccain could. and it's because in addition to his intelligence and his experience, he had the intestinal fortitude that was lacking then and is lacking today. i was talking to somebody yesterday about john mccain, and this person said, we're really in bad shape because there's nobody out there to replace him. i said, well, i hope you're wrong, because we need lots of people like john mccain. there's lots more to do in this country.
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and unless the united states generates more people like john mccain, we are going to be in a difficult place for a long time. the other thing about senator mccain is that he motivated the people around him to do the kinds of things they otherwise wouldn't be able to do. he motivated them with guidance. i mean, if you said something silly and it was because you were ignorant, he educated you. if you said something silly because you were a jerk, he took care of you pretty quickly. but he motivated people to do their best. it's extremely difficult to find people like that. and that's one of the reasons why we will miss john mccain. >> some evidence of that, colonel jack, is the people lining the streets, lining the highway there in arizona. i can't tell you how hot it is right now, but i imagine it's a pretty hot day in arizona. and they are out there, these young people who may not have
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been as aware of his service, but john mccain represented so much, as governor ducey said, it's not natural not to have him, it's like not having the grand canyon in the state. mike memeli, who covered john mccain and joe biden, had some insights into what joe biden was going through as late as yesterday, writing his eulogy, mike. >> rick davis, who was john mccain's campaign manager and who has been helping to organize the tributes, he said joe biden was treated like family. everyone knows, of course, they served for two decades together in the u.s. senate. and as you've just discussed, they also met earlier when mccain was a navy liaison. but one thing that's interesting, which we may hear about today, is the confluence of these two men's lives. in march of 1973, biden was a new senator, months into his
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term, and really deciding whether he wanted to stay in the senate. of course he had just lost his wife and infant daughter in a car accident. he was watching coverage of this naval pilot returning from vietnam, from a prisoner of war camp. and he said to an aide, i want to meet that guy some day. now, of course, joe biden has delivered, andrea, as you know, a lot of eulogies over the years, it's a strange thing to say but he's very good at it. and mccain asked him personally, when they last met in april at his ranch in sedona, if he would deliver his today. it's going to be i think a really powerful moment, and probably one of the toughest for biden to give himself, in it part not just because of their own relationship, but the relationship of bo biden, his late son, and john mccain. bo biden has cited john mccain as one of the reasons he enlisted in the armed services after 9/11, and that example of courage helped him as he was battling brain cancer himself in
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2014 and 2015. of course when john mccain was diagnosed with cancer, the same cancer that killed bo, biden was a resource to the family. and what i've heard from those close to biden who have been with him this week in delaware as he's been working on his remarks is that he really wants to accomplish a few things. he wants to reflect of course on their personal relationship. i'm sure there will be a lot of funny stories about their battles over the years. he also wants to talk about the code that john mccain lived by, this idea of country first and putting the country above your party. and he also wants to really help define john mccain's legacy. i think we heard from general mcmaster earlier, this idea of being a force to unify the country. the last time biden and mccain sharehold shared a stage together was in philadelphia in october, when biden presented mccain with the liberty medal for the national constitution center. mccain gave a very strong
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speech, a biting speech about trump's sort of philosophy. he referred to this spurious, half-baked nationalism. that's something i've heard biden repeat and quote mccain as saying very often in some of the public speeches he's given since then. so it's going to be hard for us, in hearing a lot of these speeches this week, not to read into them some sort of hidden message or not so hidden message about president trump and the direction of the country right now. but from vice president biden, a democrat who had this great friendship with a republican, it's a real powerful message, again, that mccain was sending by choosing to have him be the first real high profile speaker today. >> and also of course john mccain's love of sports. he had a lot of friends in the athletic community, the sports community. larry fitzgerald will be one of the speakers. he is a wide receiver for the arizona cardinals, an all time pro bowl selection.
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we know what a great baseball fan he was. jeff mason, you were riding the straight talk express back in the day, and probably have a lot of stories, i'm not sure how many of them are clean enough to tell on television. you're at the white house today for reuters. those are the days when john mccain cemented his reputation as a maverick. >> he certainly did. it was quite an experience covering that campaign with kelly o'donnell and a bunch of other great washington correspondents. we all had a chance to develop a relationship with the senator and to get stories with him. one of the ones that i remember, sitting on the straight talk express with him one day, i asked him, and i'm not sure why at that point, but i asked him if it he was in favor of changing u.s. laws so that people who were born abroad such as arnold schwarzenegger at that time could run for president. and he said, oh, i don't think
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it's a priority. and then i told him that i happened to be born abroad because my dad was serving in the air force. without missing a beat he said, oh, then i'm for it, i'm for it. and that kind of sense of humor and quick wit was characteristic of the senator. as a presidential candidate and as a lawmaker. >> and you of course talk about kelly o'donnell who was one of your fellow travelers on the straight talk express, and is there at the church. as the motorcade is about to arrive, kelly, we'll see the ceremonial arrival there and the casket being taken out, of course, and brought into the church, the family awaiting, kelly. >> reporter: well, andrea, this is a very important day for the mccain family. they've been a members of this church for two decades. we will see members of his family participate today. andy, son from his first marriage, who is also president of the business that cindy
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mccain, his wife, owns. that gives you sort of the blend of the two families. daughter bridget will also be doing a reading. i remember once talking to senator mccain about bridget. you recall that in the 2000 campaign in south carolina, there was some very harsh opposition research dumped on him that related to bridget. and then eight years later, i talked to him about it. and he was very moved. he said, my daughter has googled herself and has seen what it said, and he said, "it just breaks my heart." so today is also remembering a father, a husband, not only a servant to the nation. >> and that 2000 campaign, when the opposition research all suggested that somehow this child of color, adopted from bangladesh, was somehow an illegitimate child of john mccain's, it was so painful and of course painful to her as she grew older, to google herself and see that.
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john weaver, i remember the speech that he gave in april of that year, after he had dropped out of the race in march, and south carolina was decisive, that primary, coming off of a huge momentum of north carolina. and he regretted and apologized for not having taken a firm stand on the issue of the confederate flag, because, he said, he thought it would cost him the primary election, and that he regretted that, as early as april 2000. >> that's right. >> what political figure still in active political life with a future lying ahead would say, i made a mistake because i was doing it for political expediency, for votes? and he did it in south carolina. >> he did it. he called me three days before we traveled down, and he said, johnny, it's time for us to go make this right, call the team in south carolina and tell them i'm coming down to apologize for
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my actions. so you can imagine how that call that i made went over, initially. but we did it. and as you said, i can't remember a time before that, maybe michael can, or since, where a politician admitted expediency and fought to get his honor back. and that says everything you need to know about the man. >> as the hearse carrying the casket arrives, kelly o'donnell, you're there. and we know this is the beginning of yet another very solemn moment for the family of john mccain. cindy mccain, waiting for this arriving. >> reporter: and of course here, yes, lieutenant jack mccain will be at his mother's side. also sergeant jimmy mccain. their spouses, holly and renee, are here as well. mrs. mccain being greeted. she will be escorted by her sons who she is very proudly often
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referring to their military service. a blue star mother is one of the things she talks about so often. eldest son doug, then andy, sidney, meghan mccain, jack, jimmy, and bridget. five grandchildren. the youngest grandchild who will carry on john sidney mccain's name as john sidney mccain v is just a toddler. he will not be here today but will be at the services for the family in annapolis, which will be closed and private. arizona is home for the mccain children. they made a decision as a family that the children would be raised in arizona. and cindy mccain often told me she considered politics a public service deployment. their father would travel back and forth and would see them on weekends and breaks, but their lives were here in arizona. and that's why this is so personal today. >> and from his first marriage, the blending of this family that
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you referred to, so difficult at the time. a lot of these prisoners of war, families suffered doubly. when they returned, there were a lot of divorces, frankly. michael beschloss, that was a difficult time. carol mccain, his first wife, had worked with the reagans, worked in the white house. it was very sad. i recall a year ago when asked about opposition research, trying to get her to say something unkind about john mccain, she said, why would i, i love the guy, present tense. >> never happened. and she knew that he was a great man as well as a good man. so you couldn't really manufacture that. but, you know, one word on arizona. we were talking about it a little earlier, as we were pausing to think of john mccain as an arizona an todn today, i thought he went back to arizona
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because he married cindy mccain, whose family had deep roots in the state, but it was almost heaven-sent, because for john mccain to go to arizona, with which he had not had a past history, this was the state of barry goldwater and mavericks and people who have made their way in the west. it had only been a state since 1912. almost humanly, it was a perfect match. it tells you how far our politics have traveled that by the time of the last couple of years, john mccain's politics, which were so suited to the political culture of arizona in the '80s, '90s, he had to stretch to feel he was able to get reelected in climate that had gotten in many ways much more conservative than he was. >> and john weaver, you know the state and know the changing nature of politics in the state. but there's still a respect honoring john mccain, even as we saw in the republican primary, the politics have moved very far
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to one side. >> it's moved to the right but it's also had a tremendous growth in its hispanic population, in many ways it's now a purple state, headed that way, certainly. and don't forget the mccain had for the native americans throughout the united states, but particularly in arizona. he was very close to the leadership and spent quite a bit of time to he be help native americans integrate properly into our society and to help them and he was beloved by them. >> michael steele, the other day, we were talking to bill cohen, who's at the service today. the former defense secretary, former house member, former senator, and someone of a little airy mind, who shared so much intellectually with onmccain and
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what he acknowledged to me in the interview the other day is that the central characters in his novels are modeled after mccain. >> that was amazing. >> it was actually one of those jaw-dropping moments where you just go really? when you go back, you think about reading the books, it all made sense, it all kind of connected the dot for you, and you could see it. it tells you i think a lot about the man. you know, he was flaws. as i wrote in a piece for the hill, he was a little bit prickly, but that's the washington heat, it makes you that way sometimes you know? >> sometimes for good reasons. >> when i was running for the united states senate, i couldn't find a stronger supporter in john mccain. i remember when he ran for president coming -- he asked to meet with me, a group of us, to talk about how he could help the campaign, how he could help
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communities of color around the country. because he really wanted to learn, understand what was going on in parts of america that oftentimes are out of reach to a lot of politicians in washington. and that said a lot about him. certainly when i was national chairman, i ran into him one time. he just kind of looked at me and said you just hang in there. you just hang in there. i knew what he meant, you know? this is this town. it tries to chew you up and spit you out. if you're grounded in principle, if you're grounded in something that's really foundational, you'll make it. i learned that from him. i learned that from his life. i learned that in the stories he shared with me. just one real quick, the quintessential john mccain moment. at the beginning of the campaign, when things were really tough and he was shedding people and it was all imploding and effectively the campaign was over. i went to national airport and i'm standing there and there's this lone gentle man standing by the counter waiting. i get up to my turn and i see
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him turn, it's john mccain. i said what are you doing here? he said, i'm flying standby, i'm trying to catch a flight. >> we see cindy mccain of course with jack, one of her sons, and the other members of the family, jimmy behind with megan. you see andy who is going to speak. older daughter sidney who's going to speak. bridget in the front row. coming out of the church after greeting people inside we understand.
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the family going back inside the church, following the casket. as the service about to begin, north phoenix baptist church. the family has attended this church for years. children, grand children. the music has also been chosen by senator mccain.
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after the welcome, we will hear "amazing grace." and the processional will be "my way" by frank sinatra. how perfect is that. >> perfect. we sougaw the beautiful image o sedona, the landscape. >> of course, joe biden might
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well be the emotional center of this service with his signature humor, his empathy and his connection to john mccain in politics and life and through loss. through the loss of beau biden. and military service. i travelled with beau biden and dr. jill biden to baghdad to swear in new citizens who were members of our troops in a policy that's now been reversed by this pentagon. where military service would qualify before daca, where military service would qualify you for citizenship. the moving ceremony of joe biden swearing in these young troops who were in a conflict zone. we see larry fitzgerald, the wide receiver. who was so honored and surprised to be chosen for this service.
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senator biden has been teaching and lecturing as we know and has not ruled out returning to politics despite his age. >> there are no rule s anymore andrea. >> no rules indeed. that is pastor noah garcia, north baptist church. bridget mccain will be reading from ecclesiastes. there will be a tribute by grant woods. a hymn performed by johna little. a reading from andrew mccain, one of the elder sons from his first marriage.