tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN December 9, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST
they got done. and today, by contrast, it often feels as if it's exactly the opposite. you're judged with success in wa with by what you prevent from getting done. so that's something i think we grieve along with the loss of one larger than life member of the senate. we're burying that type of thing along with bob dole. >> he would often say, to note his roots as growing up in poverty in kansas, that he wasn't born in a blue suit despite all his years on capitol hill. a brief word about what's coming next here. briefly we'll hear from the house chaplain, later house speaker nancy pelosi, senator mitch mcconnell, senator schumer, and then president biden as well will speak before a benediction by the chaplain. joining us is david gergen, who
served a good number of presidents during his time and i know encountered the senator in your work. i wonder in moments like this, it feels like we have a eulogy for the man but also the eulogy for a time in washington where folks like this were able to speak to each other and work together. >> yeah. that's such a good observation. bob dole was one of the last warriors of world war are ii and that generation remains revered through this day as setting the gold standard for how people ought to work with each other across the ail, how we're all americans, and as the saying goes, we all came in different ships but we're in the same boat now. >> in the same boat now. i agree, put it so well, a eulogy for the time that so much has changed. david, give us some of your
observations, too, of the late senator bob dole, what it was like to engage with him and how others did in those moments. >> well, i had the privilege of seeing him several times since he's been, you know, in his latter years. and he hadn't really changed. he can be quite gruff on the outside, as you know. he had to put up with so much, he had to be so resilient over his life, that he developed a way to keep reality a little bit away from him. but i must say to you that in all that, he had a quick whip and he was acerbic, to be sure, to make a point. at the end of the day, almost every conversation i had with him, it always came back to what's right for the country. i can't emphasize enough i think he was part of tradition we have seen die out in our lifetimes and has causes do much consternation about the health
of our democracy. people would look at dole and say, you know, in many ways he was an ordinary guy, but he did extraordinary things because he was in this environment when people were expected to work with each other. and he did that very, very well, right to the end. >> to your point about supporting the president, he notably supported clinton's plan to send american troops to bosnia, though unpopular with many republicans, opposed by many republicans at the time, and he was not particularly supportive of that idea, but he believed a president of either party should be supported once he decided something in the foreign sphere. you see there -- we see mitch mcconnell there, senator schumer, nancy pelosi, kevin mccarthy, the leaders now present. we're a few moments behind the schedule. here is the vice president, kamala harris, her husband, the second gentleman. soon to follow, president biden and dr. jill biden.
our manu raju is on the hill. manu, can you describe -- in fact, i believe we'll see them entering in just a moment. yes, there is president biden, dr. jill biden. we await the arrival of the casket containing the late senator, bob dole. manu raju, you're there. the order of the day going forward? >> reporter: yeah. we expect to hear from congressional leaders who will kick off this event and talk about their experiences. nancy pelosi, chuck schumer, mitch mcconnell, followed by the president, talking about their time overlapping with the late senator bob dole, talking about the different time it was. bob dole is coming back to a place that is a much different institution than he left in 1996. the relations in the house in particular between the two parties is at an all-time low. he was a person when he left in 1996, when he gave his speech on the senate floor, on the day he announced his resignation, his
farewell speech, it was filled by republicans and democrats. it was filled with humor and talking about his relations, working with both sides of the aisle. we can expect to hear trib units poor out of a rare bipartisan moment at the time we've seen these relations, particularly in the aftermath of january 6th, hit an all-time low. in a matter of moments we expect the casket to be brought in and placed on the platform that has been used for services ever since 1865 to honor people who have been monumental figures in history, including bob dole. here we see, jim. >> let's listen in .
grand hall and from across the country we come to this moment with deep gratitude for the life and legacy of senator robert joseph dole. we are grateful that in his selfless devotion to you and to these united states he has revealed to us what moral and faithful service should be. as we honor his 79 years of standing up for what's right, we stand before you to offer our heart felt prayers. we ask of the influence senator dole has had on countless people, leaders, neighbors, and strangers alike, would not be without long-lasting fruit. in extolling senator dole's unequaled integrity, disarming humor, and deep compassion, may we be inspired to reach into the depths of our own small-town
virtues or our big-city bravado to emulate this plain-spoken statesman, this decorated war hero, this, your humble servant. we commend this tribute to you that you will enable us to find just the right words to honor this righteous man, that you would encourage us to imitate this inspiring servant, that you would equip us to carry forth with the faith of this faithful leader. we pray this in the strength of your name, amen. >> ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. ladies and gentlemen, the honorable mitch mcconnell, republican leader of the united states senate.
>> on april 14th, 1969, senator bob dole delivered his first floor speech. he said, quote, the task ahead is monument al, and this was before he knew he'd end up leading a conference of 53 senators. years later, after he had become leader, bob described his senate management challenges with his trademark wit. if i'd known, he said, we were going to win control of the senate, we'd run better candidates.
i swear bob could have made it as a stand-up comic, but he was earnest. he was already championing a signature cause helping americans with disabilities. the task ahead is monumental, he said, but i'm confident there are forces in america ready and willing to meet the challenge. bob dole himself was certainly proof of that. that speech came 24 years to the day after he sustained his combat wounds in italy. bob had already risen to a monumental task. he'd taken the fight to the nazis, and he'd nearly paid for it with his life.
for all his decades of public service, he knew exactly where he came from, a son of dust bowl hardship who was laser focused on food security and rural issues. a wounded warrior who spent decades carrying fellow veterans and americans with disabilities on his shoulders. bob was the last of the greatest generation to run for president, but he was never stuck in the past. his roots ran deep, but he was always looking to new horizons. from that first speech through his years in service, he built brighter futures for millions.
bob was blessed with long life to watch this legacy take effect. but that was no accident. bob liked to joke that he planned for longevity by closely studying our most senior colleagues. he had a whole comedy routine about how he had tried to copy strom thurmond's eating habits. strom eats a banana, i eat a banana. but the real engine behind bob's 98 remarkable years was his love, his love for elizabeth and for robin, for public service, for kansas, and for america. today we honor the amazing life that love created, and we thank god god, the source of all love,
both for bob's incredible journey here in this life and for the fact that he has entered his eternal reward in the next. >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable charles e. schumer, majority leader of the united states senate. >> mr. president, madam vice president, madam speaker, leader mcconnell, leader mccarthy, distinguished guests, dear colleagues, and most importantly elizabeth dole and robin. the scriptures say that we should, quote, rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and
endurance produces character, and character produces hope. today we pay tribute to a remarkable leader erleader, ov course of his life, knew more than his fair share of suffering, who turned that suffering into endurance, whose endurance became central to his character, and whose character, whose essential good rness, leas us with hope, hope that we will continue to see good men and women in this country like the one to whom we say good-bye today. to pay tribute to senator bob dole is to honor someone who redefined and elevated what it means to serve country. by 21, bob had given more of himself than most of us give in a lifetime, and then he kept going for 77 years after that.
and my god, it was 77 years well spent. at 27, he was elected to state politics. a decade later, he came to congress, followed promptly with an election to the senate. 16 years later, bob dole was majority leader, remaining in party leadership until his final run for president in 1966 -- 1996. the years were well spent, however, not because of his titles but because of what he accomplished. today, tens of millions of americans, veterans, the disabled, and millions of kids across the country are better off because of bob dole. he never lost his roots as a prin principled, pragmatic kansas republican, and bob never hesitated to work with democrats to get things done. from joining senator mcgovern on federal nutrition programs, to working with my former colleague, senator moynihan, to protect social security, to
helping pass the americans with disabilities act with senators kennedy and harkin. bob dole was a champion of those whose lives were marred by struggle, who came not from citadels of privilege but from humble origins like his own. in his memoir, senator dole wrote that supporters were sometimes surprised to hear that of all his accomplishments in the senate, reforming social security was his greatest pride along with passing the a.d.a. i'm sure that surprises a few of us here today, but i doubt those who knew the bob dole of russell, kansas, the man whose family lived for years in their own basement so they could rent out their house, who as county attorney had to approve his grandfather's welfare checks each month, whose recovery from war was made possible only after his hometown pooled money to pay for surgery, i imagine that those who knew this side of bob dole understood that no matter
how he high he climbed up the ranks, he never forgot the reason he entered public service. and of course he did it all with unmistakable acerbic wit, honed and refined over the years as he worked as a soda jerk in the local drugstore. bob and i never worked together in the senate, but i was not spared his famous ribbing. don't worry, bob, it's safe to be between me and the cameras today. in closing, i want to bring back an enduring image of bob that took place nine years ago as we said good-bye to another colleague lying in this same rotunda. none of us will ever forget the strength and honor we lizbeth at his side standing and saluting danny inoue one last time. bob used to tell the story of he and danny recovering from war wounds in hospital in michigan.
they discussed their futures with bob telling danny he planned to run for local office and eventually the united states senate. at the time, danny had a different path in mind for himself, but like bob's plan, ran for office and eventually was actually elected to the senate before bob. after danny was sworn in, one of the first things he did was call his old friend and said, bob, i'm here in the senate. where are you? now, as bob approaches the perly gates, let us take comfort he can reunite with his old friend once again. in the meantime, let the rest of us carry on in thanksgiving and unending celebration of the life of this incredible american statesman.
>> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable nancy pelosi, speaker of the united states house of representatives. >> good morning. mr. president, it is a sad and official honor to join our colleagues in leadership in welcoming you and the first lady and the vice president to the united states capitol. you come as senator dole's longtime colleague, personal friend, and as president as we recognize the life and service of the honorable robert j. dole. thanks to the leaders and members of our congressional community here with us this morning, we all come to pay tribute, and on their behalf, i extend a special welcome to
senator dole's loving and dedicated partner in service, elizabeth -- senator elizabeth dole and his dear daughter, robin. it's sad for all of us. as speaker of the house, there's a special source of pride for us in the house that senator dole began his congressional career in the house of representatives. and it is fitting that, as we gather in the capitol rotunda, home to american heroes memorialized in marble and bronze, to pay tribute to an extraordinary patriot. once before we gathered here in the rotunda in his name in 2018. it was my personal and official honor to join our colleagues and the leadership to help bestow upon him the congressional gold medal, the highest honor congress can bestow. on that day, as we do on this sad day, we recognize senator
dole among the pantheon of patriots honoring his duty to our nation with courage, dignity, and integrity. as i stand here and see his coffin on the catapult that was built for lincoln with that flag draped over it, i'm sure many of you here will agree, it's hard to think of anyone who was more worthy to have a flag draped over his coffin because of his great patriotism to our country. on both side of the aisle, on both sides of the capitol, across the country, senator dole was widely respected for his legendary service on the battlefields of world war ii. his inspiring resilience after recovering from grievous war wounds. his principled leadership in the hallowed halls of congress, house and senate. and his tireless advocacy as an
elder statesman. over the course of his storied career, he earned a reputation as a fighter for hardworking american families, a leader who could be trusted as a man of his word. working in a bipartisan way, senator dole addressed hunger in america by expanding food stamps, fought for respect for people with disabilities by enshrining essential protections into the law with the a.d.a., again, in a bipartisan way. he taught us over time and all the time to respect people for what they can do and not judge them for what they cannot. he advocated for our troops, veterans, and hidden hero who is care for them, especially alongside his beloved wife, elizabeth. indeed, the love, partnership, and prayerfulness that senators bob and elizabeth dole shared
was a joy to behold and a blessing to all of us who know them. in recognition of his legendary career, senator dole received the 1997 presidential medal of freedom, bestowed upon him by president clinton, his electoral rival but certainly his fan. upon receiving this medal, senator dole challenged us, in his words, not to question american ideals or replace them but to act worthy of them. senator dole lived up to this challenge, devoting his entire life in service to a country he loved and to our cherished national values for which he fought. i remember when we were gathered here honoring president george herbert walker bush and how moved the whole nation was to see senator dole salute president bush. so generous, he was.
so, as we honor his life this morning, let us resolve to meet his challenge, as he said, to act worthy of our ideals and carry on his mission. when we in congress gave senator dole the congressional gold medal, he brought -- in receiving it, he brought luster to the award, just as his service and sacrifice brought luster to the congress and to the country. may et be a comfort to you, robin, to elizabeth, and all who love him, that so many people across the congress, the country, his beloved state of kansas, that a grateful nation mourns and are praying for you at this sad time. may senator dole rest in the peace that he deserves. thank you.
>> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable joseph r. biden jr., president of the united states. >> vice president harris, speaker pelosi, majority leader schumer, leader mcconnell, members of congress, distinguished guests, most importantly, elizabeth and robin, i know this is not easy. thank you for letting us do this. we meet here in the very heart of american democracy, the capitol of the united states of america, to receive a hero of
that democracy for a final time. robert joseph dole. he belongs here in this place, in this temple of liberty, temple to possibilities. bob dole loved this capitol. it's where he served the nation, shaped by the figures that surround us. washington, jefferson, who set us on our path, abraham lincoln, another man who in the heartland of the country from whence he came, bob's hero, dwight david eisenhower, martin luther king jr., who bob helped pass legislation honoring the great civil rights leader with a federal holiday.
bob stood up and got that done. gerald ford, who served here and with whom bob sought the vice president of the united states. in a sense, bob belongs here. he, too, was a giant of our history. that's not hyperbole. it's real. of wit and grace, of principle and persistence, of courage and conv conviction. i had the great honor to serve with bob as many of you around this casket have. i served with him for 25 years. he did have great wit. they once asked him why in god's name did he vote to continue to fund amtrak. he said because if he didn't, biden would stay overnight and cause more trouble. i commuted every day. true story.
he was the deciding vote. well, you know, bob and i, like many of us here, we disagreed on a number of things but not on any of the fundamental things. we still found a way to work together. we genuinely respected one another as colleagues and as fellow americans. it was real. it wasn't fake. and we became great friends because bob deserves a final word, i'd like to read a portion of his final message that he left to the country that i hope we all listen to in the days and weeks and months to come. i quote bob dole. "i cannot pretend that i have not been a loyal champion of my
party but have always served my country best when i did it so first and foremost as an american or prioritized principles over party, humanity over personal legacy. we do, that we accomplish far more as a nation. by leading with shared faith in each other, we become america at its best." he went on to say, "a beacon of hope, a source of comfort and crisis, a shield against those who threaten freedom, our nation has certainly faced periods of division. but at the end of the day, we've always found ways to come together. we can find that unity again."
and the message said, "end of message." my fellow americans, america has lost one of our greatest patriots. we may follow his wisdom, i hope, and his time of truth. but the truth of the matter is, as divided as we are, the only way forward for democracy is unity, consensus. the only way. may we follow his wisdom and his timeless truth and reach consensus on the basic fundamental principles we all agree on. may god bless bob dole. may god bless america. may god protect our troops .
doorway, not a dark road but a path that leads to eternal light and life. lord, we will miss the honorable robert joseph dole, but we thank you for the blessed gift of memory. may our minds and hearts be filled with the wonderful recollections of his patriotism, courage, integrity, and wit. continue to be for his beloved elizabeth and precious robin a refuge and strength. now, bless us all and keep us,
make your face shine upon us, and be gracious to us. lift the light of your countenance upon us and give us your shalom, your peace. we pray in the name of the one who said, "i am the resurrection and the life." amen. >> ladies and gentlemen, please remain at your seats until escorted to pay your respects by the sergeants at arms staff.
the late senator dole lying in the capitol rotunda. his widow, elizabeth. bob served 27 years in the senate. elizabeth former senate herself serving in north carolina from 2003 to 2009. the late senator's daughter, robin dole, also paid her respects there. we heard from democratic and republican leaders in the senate, their words about the life and service of bob dole. notable to hear president joe biden krilti citing dole's longe to his country as a lawmaker, a wounded soldier in world war ii,
but also his bipartisanship. he said the only way forward for democracy is unity, perhaps counter to some of the animus we see in politics. mitch mcconnell said bob dole knew exactly where he came from, depression-era roots, serving in world war ii, rootings as a boy in kansas, but focused on the future. mitch mcconnell said of bob dole, he helped millions of americans during his service in office. >> absolutely. that was certainly a theme we heard about how, as you point out, mitch mcconnell said he never forgot where he came from, that he was also -- that he never lost his roots, senator schumer saying he never hesitated to work across the aisle, and he's a champion of those whose lives were in some ways defined by trouble, but so important it does not continue to define them. that can be seen in his legislative efforts and the number of his personal efforts as well, even in retirement,
which was in name only, as mitch mcconnell said. also with us still, richard norton smith, a speechwriter for bob dole. david gergen with us, manu raju as well. david, we just saw elizabeth dole there, such a moving moment as you watch, she laid her hand then her head on the casket. you're very close with both of the doles and they had a beautiful love story. she said in an interview she fell for his kindness. this was a partnership in so many ways, and i think that speaks to -- they both are, frankly, as people, and what really drove bob dole. >> elizabeth dole is a force in her own right. she not only served in the senate, but she feels a major portion of the red cross. she did so many great things for this country. it was an unusual relationship because she did bring out the soft side of bob dole, and many
didn't see his soft side in the public, especially in the midst of political fights. she brought something special out in him, and i think it made a big difference in their relationship. it was a long senate ro relationship. i'm from north carolina as well. she was well-known in that state as a person who really cared, and she went out of her way to look out for people in the rural communities. she was a stalwart in her own way. i think it's such an unusual relationship and yet one in which everyone can take a lot of pride that it worked so well. >> they were married for 46 years minus a day, bob dole dieing the day before their 46th wedding anniversary. if i could share a personal story, bob dole is one of the first people i met in washington after college. i was working for a show that interviewed a number of lawmakers. i won't name all of them, but bob dole is the only one who arrived along without and entourage and arrived early.
he said, "well, it was a nice day. i figured i'd just walk over from the capitol." can you describe his humanity and his humility? >> oh, gosh. we talked about his upbringing. so long as he lived he carried a picture of his mother in a shirt pocket, close to his heart. her name was vina dole. and she told him as a boy, pat never can do anything. if you want to trace his origins of his can-do approach to politics and so much of his life in confronting so much of the adversity from boyhood through and after the war, and, yes, politically -- by the way, one thing we haven't mentioned, you know, his post-political life, he was anything but retired. and part of his legacy we'll see
tomorrow after the service at washington cathedral. there is to be a public ceremony at the world war ii memorial, and of course it was bob dole who took the lead at the request of bill clinton, another great example of bipartisanship, in raising the funds to build that extraordinary shrine to the 16 million citizen soldiers, bob dole included, who fought the nazi menace. i think back to something he said in accepting his nomination in 1996, and it was certainly an occasion by the political opinion polls, anything but encouraging, he described himself as the most optimistic man in america. i think that was true then. i think it was true right up until he ended his life, and i think we saw that reflected in
this morning's ceremony. >> manu, you're there on the hill. so much talk this morning about that quest for bipartisanship, for getting the job done, and how things are different this morning. as jim pointed out, president biden saying the only way forward is unity. may we follow his wisdom, he said. how much is that discussion on capitol hill right now and since we learned of bob dole's passing? >> i mean, there's so much talk about, that but so little action towards that regard. i mean, it's hearing this, harkening back to a time that just doesn't exist as much anymore, 1996, when he left. it was a much different time than the politics we've seen particularly over the last several years, over the last several months, and the call for consensus is something that both parties recognize needs to be accomplished, but how do they
get there is another question. there's just so few people in american politics right now who could sort of get this kind of bipartisan response, the bipartisan outpouring of support, of love, of showing, you know, this is someone who touched them and someone who had such a profound impact on them. i can think of just a few people, not many, who would generate this kind of response in their passing. the call by the leaders that it's time to get some consensus, come together, perhaps they can learn something from his time, but they are reflecting on a time that, sadly, in many ways, doesn't exist anymore. >> as you said earlier, the eulogy for a man, the eulogy for a time. beginning at noon, public viewing begins in the rotunda,
till 8:00 tonight. the senator's casket will remain in the rotunda overnight. as we said earlier, 12 u.s. presidents have received that honor of lying in state at the u.s. capitol. a number of senators, the last one john mccain. thanks so much to all of you for sharing your recollections of the late senator, and thanks to all of you. stay with us. we'll take a quick break. ok everyone, our mission is to provide complete, balanced nutrition for strength and energy. whoo hoo! ensure, with 27 v vitamins and minerals, now introducing ensure complete! with 30 grams of protein.
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recovery? not sure if matt can hear us. >> he's not hearing there. but we should note as the numbers say, the lowest since 1969. you can see that steady drop over the last several months going back to september 2020. of course they jumped during the height of the pandemic when we saw shutdowns, and the last couple weeks, erica, it's notable, you have to go back to the late '60s. we have matt back now. matt, fit this into the larger economic picture briefly. >> clearly, the economy is doing really well, even if most americans don't notice it because of inflation. the jobs market is just booming. unemployment claims down to the lowest level since 1969. you know, workers have all the leverage right now because there's a near-record number of job openings in the united states, americans are quitting their jobs at pace we've never seen before, so of course in that environment, companies have to hold on to the workers they do have because they can't find
new ones. seasonal effects could be playing a little bit of a role here. numbers tend to be noisy toward the end of the year. even if you look at the four-week moving average, this is the lowest level we've seen since just before covid. clearly, good news. >> it certainly is. appreciate you bringing it to us, matt egan. >> thanks for joining us today. a momentous day on capitol hill, saying good-bye to the late senator bob dole. i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm erica hill. stay tuned. "at this hour" with kate bolduan starts right now. hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. here's what we're watching at this hour. high-stakes diplomacy. president biden speaks with ukraine's leader in the next hour as concerns of a russian invasion worrying his top generals. another shot. americans may need a fourth dose to protect themselves against the new variant. why one top vaccine maker is raising that possibility now. and going boldly. blue