tv CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta CNN January 8, 2022 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
you are live in the cnn newsroom. i'm jim acosta in washington. the rapid spread of the omicron variant is turning thousands of americans into hospital patients. and now some non-covid patients are being turned away. across 40 new york hospitals the state health department says people who need surgeries considered non-urgent have to wait at least two weeks as covid patients are taking up all of the bids. and across the nation many covid patients are too young to get a vaccine. seeing a record number of hospitalizations for kids under 5. new hospital admissions for children under age 18 are already at a record level,
averaging nearly 8 hup per day, fueling the debate playing out across the country when and how should students return to the classroom. right now sfunts in the third largest district are in limo. a zanl jaaf gone after the chicago teachers union voted to reach remotely and cancelling classes since wednesday. in georgia public school teachers and staff get this who test positive for covid no longer have to isolate before returning to work as long as they wear a mask. contact tracing is no longer required. meanwhile, the state -- the supreme court's conservative majority appears ready to block president biden's vaccine requirement aimed at large businesses. this effort hangs in the balance as the administration also deals with a messaging problem. white house a.i.d.s. and scientists are frustrated by communication missteps by dr. walensky, the cdc leader who vowed to restore trust in the agency. struggling to do that right now.
let's go to ar let saenz at the white house. what is dr. walensky doing to address the issue? can she regane confidence of the people in the building behind. >> you cdc director dr. walensky is trying to. and yesterday she held her first independent media briefing since the summer, telling reporters that she is committed to trying to continue to improve, eep as frustrations are mounting within the white house and the cdc regarding some of the messaging missteps that walensky has made. cnn learned that walensky has been working with a democratic media consultant, mandy grun waldeck for months to learn to better communicate some of the guidances out to the public. but both walensky and the cdc have come under criticism most recently when it comes to that guidance related to the isolation period for covid-19 positive patients.
when the cdc announced they were shortening the isolation period from 10 to 5 days. some confusion ensued in the days after. they eventually released more guidance relating a little bit to testing. but it's coming at a time when americans lack for clarity how to live with this virus. now, the -- it's not just the messaging problems that are coming under scrutiny. there are some scientists within the cdc, cnn has learned, who are also frustrated with how the guidance have come together, as walensky has been consulting just a small group of advisers to release this guidance. but in addition to the issues with the cdc, the white house is also grappling with other challenges as well, specifically when it comes to the issue of testing. as we have seen nationwide, the shortages, and access to tests, really have been difficult to find over the course of the past few weeks with covid surging.
and yesterday president biden addressed what he believes the state of covid-19 will be in the future and whether it will stay here in to it country for the long haul. >> no, i don't think covid is here to stay. but having covid in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay. but covid as we're dealing with it now is not here to stay. the new normal doesn't have to be -- we have so many more tools we're developing and continue to develop, that can contain covid and other strains of covid. the new normal is not going to be what it is now. it's going to be better. >> reporter: so confronting the coronavirus remains the top challenge for the biden administration, as to how the president responds to this, will ultimately determine his performance in office over the course of the next few years. >> all right, arlette i'd say that's right here. i appreciate it. william in frormt baltimore
commissioner and analyst, a contributing columnist at the poev post. walensky got media training last fall to help with messaging struggles. was that a necessary step? does this go deeper than a messaging problem? i mean, i suspect it does. >> i think dr. walensky is an excellent communicator. i don't think that her communication style is the problem. the problem is the policy itself. i mean, you can have the best messenger. but if what they're dealing with is a message that's problematic, that is the barrier. and that's been the issue throughout. you look back in may when the cdc prematurely removed masks without -- >> we lost dr. nguyen, there. she was on to making a great point there. let's see. can we get her back, guys?
what do you think? she is not coming back. all right. dr. nguyen shot is frozen. we'll get back to her as soon as we can. let's take a quick break. we're going to be talking about the life of harry reid, the former democratic leader in the senate, current and former president's lawmakers, family members, friends paying tribute to this legend of the senate. we can go to jeff zeleny right now if he is standing by. is that right? >> reporter: yes, that's right the funeral service is underway. yes, jim, the funeral service is under way now, the fifth child of harry and reid is speaking right now. and so far this has been a family centered funeral as you can see. one of his grand daughters spoke and all five children, as well as a musical performance by the killers, a nevada band and favorite of harry reid. we are, of course, waiting
momentarily for chuck schumer, a longtime lieutenant of harry reid to speak and speaker pelosi. but then of course. barack obama will be make a you'llgy. it's impossible to over-the-intertwined legacies. but not for harry reid, the afraido affordable care act wouldn't have been passed. the economic stimulus measure wouldn't have been passed. certainly president obama will talk about the relationship he enjoyed. and president biden will close the service, delivering remarks as well with, a longtime colleague in the senate and close friend of hair harry reid. on a beautiful day here in las vegas, mourners gathered inside to celebrate the life and legacy of harry reid, jim. >> all right. jeff zeleny thanks for bailing us out there. mark of a true professional broadcast journalist ready to go at any moment.
thanks. i think lena nguyen is back with us in the great city of baltimore. can we go back to dr. nguyen. >> hi, jim. >> we heard from jeff zeleny covering the funeral of harry reid. we're going back to jeff and what's going on there in just a little bit. but i want to get back to you, dr. nguyen because we were in the middle of the discussion of what's going on at the white house and concerns about dr. walensky's messaging issues, how she worked with a consultant and so on. you were making the point it's not the messaging that's the issue. let's go back to that point and continue the discussion. >> right, the issue is not the message. the issue is what is the policy behind the message? because you look at the isolation guidelines, you can have the best messenger communicating it. but ultimately the problem is are people safe to come out of isolation after five fwao days? do we need testing to clear someone from isolation? or look at the booster policy.
there was so much mis -- the misstep was not around the communication around the booster policy. it was are boosters needed in the first place? i think the cdc needs to have a hard reset, led by dr. walensky but ultimately sported and driven by the white house as well about what is the cdc's role, and how they get better at formulating policies in a transparent and accountable way? >> and dr. nguyen, i wonder if it's a messaging issue or people not getting the message. i want to talk about schools. because under a new state order georgia public school teachers testing positive for covid-19 but remain asymptomatic may return to school if they wear a mask. that sounds pretty risky to me and stands in stark contrast with policies in place in other parts of the country, for example in chicago where the teachers don't want to go to the classroom right now. and you have all the kids who are in limo because the teachers union, they want more testing,
want more contact tracing. we're all over the place in this country. so, my question is is how is the white house supposed to get the message right if everybody is just all over the place? >> well, the role of the cdc appear white house is to provide guidance that ideally everybody is supposed to follow. but right now we have two sides, if you will, neither side has it right. because on the one hand you have governors actively stopping the very protections that would actually help schools to reopen safely, requiring masks for example, or making sure that people if they test positive go home and are not around others. those are best practices that can be easily implemented. but on the other hand you have a lot of other people mainly in blue states and blue jurisdictions that are taking exactly the opposite approach. they are acting as if we're back in 2020 or 2021. we're not. we're dealing with a variant omicron in this case that's milder than previous variants. we also have vaccines and boosters vabl available to
everyone who wants them all kids over age of of 5 and adults able to be vaccinated. if you are vaccinated and boosted, the chance of becoming severely ill from omicron is extremely low. there is no reason for schools not to be open for in-person instruction at this point too. >> so do you think that georgia is maybe not going far enough and chicago is going too far in do you think it's okay what they're doing down in georgia, people testing positive but asymptomatic and going to school if masked? >> look, i can understand why people are worried about this policy. but at the same time i also think there needs to be a conversation to be had about who are essential workers, without whom our economy and our society will completely be disrupted? we have the cdc saying that if hospitals are at crisis point, health care workers who are infected can go to work as long as they wear a mask and should we put more essential workers in that category? we need a conversation about are
our information controls measures going to work against om krn in testing contact tracing isolation quarantine these are the best tools if you get the infection under control. but if omicron is so widespread that we're only catching a small fraction of cases anyway maybe it's not so effective if we're just identifying those testing positive when there are others out there. that's a conversation the white house needs to lead at this point. are we just comingo coming to the terms with the fact that omicron has to burn through our society? >> it's a great question. and we're in the thick of it right now. all right, dr. wen thank for hanging in there. got you back and so grateful. thanks for your time. we appreciate it. >> thank you, jim. >> all right. all right, right now the senate majority leader chum schumer is speak out at harry reid's funeral in nevada. let's listen in.
>> now at first i thought harry pulled me in the bathroom because he didn't want land ray to see him wasting $400 on the best dressed member. but he said to me later i didn't want to embarrass me in front of land ray. that was harry to a tee. it was no secret he didn't care for the decor up of public office. cut his hair regulatory. shined his shoes. wore nice suits that i conned afford. but a few years later i got the better of harry when i showed up to the senate wearing a suit of my own. harry was surprised. he said chuck i thought you said you could never afford this type of suit. >> i visited the warehouse in rochester and bought one at a wholesale price. harry stopped slipping me money for clothes after that.
now to be clear i don't just travel around the state looking for good deals on clothing. for example, as many of you know, every year i attend and speak at dozens of college graduationer is means around new york in may and june. harry, chk, knew about the tradition. and he thought it was hilarious. in fact, he liked it so much that one day he gathered alm 100 of his staffers into his office and asked me to deliver the entire 15-minute speech to all of them. but after i became democratic leader he started to worry about my habit. every graduation season he would call up my wife iris who is here today and plead with her. you got to stop him from going to every graduation and every event. he's got to garner his strength and his health. that's just who harry was if you were lucky enough -- lucky enough that he cared about you
and called you his friend and he cared about you with every fiber of his being. sometimes you could even say he cared a little too much. you know, landra wasn't the only woman i've seen harry kiss passionately on the lips. it was back in 2006 harry and i were watching the election returns together. they announced our friend --
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dove 0% is different. we left aluminum out and put 48 hour freshness and 1 quarter moisturizers in. dove 0% aluminum deodorant lasting protection that's kinder on skin. . right now in las vegas house speaker nancy pelosi is about to pay tribute to former senate majority leader harry reid. there she is taking the podium. let's listen in. >> indeed a great honor to join this tribute to the towering titan of public service, senator harry reid. wasn't it deeply moving for all of us to here lana and josh and
key leif speaking to lovingly of his father. you along with his precious grandchildren and great grand chilled are his greatest pride. but you were a source of strength to him. of course the love and happiness he shared with his adoring and beautiful wife landra was a source of joy to all of us who know them. all of us here today are here personally to celebrate the life of our dear friend harry. some of us, including two presidents of the united states and vice-presidents, members of both the senate and house are also here officially to salute a legendary statesman. i have the privilege as speaker of the house to bring the sympathy of the house of representatives where harry once served. chuck will say not as long as he served in the senate. but i lay claim to harry because
that's where i first met him. i wasn't in congress then. but he was in the house. and he was running for the united states senate. in 1985 in time for 1986. george marcus is here to a took imup his cause. my husband is here and harry was a high priority for us winning the senate. as speaker of the house i'm pleased to join our distinguished majority leader. steny hoyer. deanna tight us and susie lee to bring greetings of all our colleagues. to someone we all viewed as a great person. i have to a great deal i want to to say about harry. but you know harry he was a man of few words and he wanted everybody else to be a person of few words. and, again, we'll go to the phone calls, because i am modestly say that i probably got
hung up on the most by harry reid. two or three times a day for 12 years. that is official working days. sometimes saturday and sunday. but anyway, even if we had really succinct conversations, harry, subject, this, problem, this. timing, this. even if that succinct, look, look, sometimes i even called him back and said harry i was singing your praises. i was thanking you for the great job you did in the legislation and the rest. i don't want to hear it. click. i even said to him when he was announcing his retirement. >> and there is one of many anecdotes you'll hear through the amp. one from house speaker nancy pelosi at the funeral for the late democratic senator leader
harry reid. i want to bring in our chief correspondent and state of the union dana bash. former advisers to four presidents, david bergen. bureau chief for usa today suisan page to talk about what we are seeing today. dana, you know harry reid so well, covered him so many years. he may have been famous for the soft-spoken delivery and he was soft-spoken. but he was at one time an amateur boxer. he once said i wasn't the fastest or strongest but could take a purge. how did that carry over to his political career? >> it entirely carried over to his political career. and i'm glad that you chose that quote, because so many of us in the immediate hours and days after senator reid passed away late last month, we talked about the fact that he could throw a punch. but he really could take a punch. and that was such a hallmark of
his whole political career. he didn't mind being the bad guy. and, you know, his critics say, even to this day, that that meant contributing to the -- to the discourse, to the -- some toxic discourse that we have now. and, you know, he would probably say that might be true. but he didn't mind taking the fall for -- for what he saw as the greater good. and it's such a different dynamic, jim, that we're seeing today, which is that nobody -- almost nobody in politics to willing to put what they see as the greater good over their own political ambitions or more important thely their own political -- their own political reputation. and he didn't care. and that absolutely came from the fact that he felt like he had nothing to lose because he came from nothing.
i went to search light, nevada, with him jim where he grew up. it was literally a truck stop. he grew up in place with no running water backup his berry -- he talks about his brother writhiing in pain when he broke his leg. because they didn't have money for health care. those anecdotes, that upbringing is what led him and kind of his north star in his politics and policy desires. >> so true. and susan page, how incredible is it to think that as dana was saying, a man growing up in a home of no running water, fought through poverty to become one of the most powerful in washington. they named the airport in las vegas after harry reid. i know you got to interview him back in 2019. what did he tell you about that? what did he say at the time about that. >> i interviewed him in 2019. at that point he retired.
he was battling pancreatic cancer. and with some difficulty. but he was -- as dana knows, he was never -- he was always feisty. he did reminisce a little about growing up in search light. he told me when he was growing up he never realized how destitute he and his family were, how many things they didn't have. it was just the way things were. he said it was after his brother died as an adult and his niece was going through pictures and sent him sold photographs that showed shack he grew up. he said it was only then he fully realized how terrible those circumstances had been. and for a person who was born into those difficult circumstances to today be eulogyized at his funeral by two american presidents is really a remarkable american story. >> absolutely. and david gergen, i mean, just to jump off of what susan was saying, you worked with several
presidents, and former president barack obama is delivering the eulogy. -- he he said he couldn't have been president without harry reid. reid was one of the big leaders in the democratic party at the time planting the idea in his head that it would be a good idea for him to run for president. what does that say? we know harry reid was proud of the fact that barack obama gave him a lot of credit for that run. what are your thoughts? >> well, i think to become one of the most consequential people in american and public life speak well of harry reid and that everybody looks up to him because he was -- he was tough. and listen, to the fighting point, he was a fighter. and he wanted to get things done. and he did. barack obama is one of his legacies. so is the affordable care act. and so was the effort made to shore up the economy back in the
2008-2009, 2010 period. he did great things. but what distinguishes from so many people in politics today is he he believed and was a supporter of the institutions of our democracy. he really believed in congress and the importance of the congress. he believed in the importance of the presidency. and what we're seeing today of course is people going out and undermining the very institutions and raising questions about whether america is headed towards a civil war. we trust that's not going to happen. but nonetheless we move to a time when it's actually in the public discourse whether that might happen. >> so true. all right. well thanks very much for those insights all of. stand by if you could because we're taking a quick break, come back we expect former president obama to speak at the funeral for harry reid and we'll pick this conversation up after the break. be right back. kim is now demonstrating her congestion. save it slimeball. i've upgraded to mucinex.
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and welcome back. barack obama former president barack obama is now delivering a eulogy for harry reid high pressure let's listen in. >> most of all to harry's beloved landra, the reid children and grandchildren, friends and former staff. it's a great honor to be with you today to pay tribute to my friend harry reid.
now, to be clear, and as chuck mentioned, in his remarks, i suspect harry himself would not have wanted to sit through this thing. harry did not like being the center of attention. it made him a little awkward. he was uncomfortable when people said too many nice things about him. but as he looks down on us today, harry is going to have to suck it up. because few people have done more for this state and this country than this driven, brilliant, sometimes eirrascibl,
deeply good man from searchlight nevada. i first met hair bring in 2005. after i'd been elected to the senate and harry had been elevated to become democratic leader. and i was the sole african american in the senate at the time, a mixed kid with a funny name. and given how different our backgrounds were, i did not know how well harry and i would hit it off. he was older, of course. his kids were grown. i didn't know what kind of music he liked. but i figured he didn't listen to jay-z. on the issues, he had a reputation for being a little more conservative than i was, reflecting the politics of his western state. so he invited me to his office
for a chat shortly after i'd been sworn in. there was not a lot of small talk. in fact, there was not a lot of talk at all. he asked me what committee assignments i wanted. i told him. he said he'd see what he could do. half the time his voice was so soft i could barely hear what he was saying. afterwards, my senior colleague from illinois, dick durbin asked me how it went. i said, man, i don't know. the whole conversation lasted maybe ten minutes. he did not seem particularly pleased with my taking up his time. don't worry, dick said, if harry didn't like you, it would have
only lasted five minutes. that was harry. as has been observed, harry was not a schmoozer or a back slapper. he did not regail you with long drawn out stories and he did not appreciate long, drawn out stories. despite the years he spent in congress, despite all the power he wielded, his reputation as being the consummate washington insider, what i came to realize was that harry always remained something of an outsider in washington. which makes sense, given the remarkable path to the senate that he had taken, a path that was at least as unlikely if not more unlikely than mine.
others have mentioned harry's extraordinary journey out of search light. a tiny desert town, an hour away from just about everywhere. how harry had to hitchhike more than 40 miles each way to henderson and stay with relatives just to go to high school. how he put himself through college and law school, moon lightsing as a uniform capitol police officer to help cover tuition and support a young family. fair to say it was not easy. there must have been times where he felt doubt about achieving his dreams. like the time when his car broke down and he walked into the dean's office to say he wasn't sure if he could afford to finish school. as harry remember it, the dean looked him up and down and said, mr. reid, why don't you just
quit. that dean did not know harry reid's character. like others who would later underestimate the man, hardship had forged a steel in harry, a fighting spirit that explained his success in the boxing ring, despite being significantly undersized. he liked to talk about his boxing. you know, barack, i wasn't a great athlete. i wasn't big and strong like some of the guys i went up against. i had two things going for me. i could take a punch, and i never gave up. that's about right. and that same dogged
determination marked harry reid's political career. he lost his first senate race by just 600 votes. six months later he ran for mayor of this town and lost in a landslide. but harry did not give up. he got himself a seat in the house, then the senate. finally became senate majority leader. and let's face it, he enjoyed every minute of proving daughters wrong again, and again and again. sometimes the people who motivate us the most harry would later say, are the ones who believe in us the least. so, yes, being tough, being a fighter, was one of harry's
singular characteristics. apparently once a staffer handed him a -- some draft remarks in which he was supposed to refer to himself as a former boxer, and harry crossed out the word former. he was 70 years old at the time. but there were other aspects to harry's character that helped explain his extraordinary achievements. qualities that at this particular moment in our history seem especially relevant. first and foremost, harry was a pragmatist. at a time when so many americans across the political spectrum apply strict purity tests to our
politicians, demanding they toe the line on just about every issue, at a time when so often compromise is portrayed at weakness. harry had ha different view. he didn't believe in high falluting theories or ridged ideologies. he thought most people make based on life experience, based on immediate needs of families, based on their own self-interest, no matter what they may tell themselves. as a result harry met people where they were. not where he wanted them to be. and he was willing to cut deals, even with folks he didn't agree with or particularly like. i heard nancy pelosi say she
never heard harry say anything bad about any of his colleagues. i don't know about that, nancy. but he would work with them. i love nancy, but but he would work with them if that's what it took to move things forward. in a battle between perfection and progress, harry always chose progress. and that pragmatism made harry adaptable. when he first got to washington, harry's voting record wasn't so different than those who represented his state in the past, holding traditional positions on issues like gun rights, immigration, reproductive health.
but as nevada and the country changed, as harry met more and more people from different walks of life and realized their struggles weren't that different from his families had been in search light, harry's views on some of these issues changed as well. he didn't consider that a weakness. he understood that he wasn't always going to be right about everything. he knew how to listen and to learn. he was humble enough to admit when he had to change his mine and grow. and by the way, speaking from personal experience, it helps when you're married to somebody who is wiser and brighter than you. i know something about that. after harry introduced a bill repealing birth right citizenship in the 1990s for
example. landra pointed out that her own father had been a russian immigrant. later harry would say i came to the realization that i was way off base. i'm so glad she righted the ship. now, of course, there are plenty of politicians who change their positions just because they want to get re-elected. they've got their fingers out to the wind. they're interested in clinging to power for its own sake. but for harry, the whole point of holding office, the whole point of wielding power was to actually get things done on behalf of those he represented. during his time as leader, that is exactly what he did. he got things done.
without harry we would not have passed the recovery act. helping to prevent another great depression. without harry we wouldn't have saved people's jobs, helped people stay in their homes. without harry we would not have passed wall street reform, reining in some of the worst announces of the financial industry. without harry, there would be no affordable care act. people forget that there were many times during the debate over health care reform when it looked like nothing was going to get passed. but harry, working with nancy pelosi in the house, working with then vice-president and now president, my partner in this fight, joe biden, harry refused to give up. maneuvering and applying pressure like only he could.
the deals harry made to get that law done didn't always look pretty. they got votes. whenever i would object to a change he wanted to make, whether because of some policy concerns, or worries about the optics, harry would tell me, with some exasperation in his voice, mr. president, you know a lot more than i do about health care policy, okay. but i know the senate. and he was right. harry did know the senate, better than just about anyone else. more importantly, he understood why the work we were doing mattered. growing up, harry's family didn't have health care. he told me he didn't even know
what it was. and harry's brother broke his leg, he stayed in bed and waited for it to heal. his father needed a tooth removed, he yanked it out himself. harry remembered those times. he knew what that was like. so when harry put everything he had into passing the aca, he didn't do to burnish his own legacy. he did it for people back home and families like his, who needed someone looking out for them. when nobody else was. harry got things done. and here is another thing that set harry apart. he was always unfailingly himself. that may not sound exceptional.
but in washington it's an exceedingly rare quality. harry was the first to admit he wasn't the most charismatic or politically correct speaker. after a press conferenceo conference, he would sometimes go up to a staffer appear say, okay, tell me everything i did wrong. but harry knew who he was. and he had the distinct advantage of not really caring what other people thought of him. in a town obsessed with appearances, harry he didn't like phonies, he didn't like grand standing. he was proud of the fact he didn't own a tuxedo. when he had to go to fund-raisers, he would try to get out in under ten minutes. and apparently, the only white
house congressional picnic harry ever attended was for his son, key's benefit. he wants to impress a girl. he was dating at the time. he and meile got married, so harry admitted it was worth the sacrifice. >> finally, for all of harry's toughness, all his hard nosed views about politics, harry loved his family. loved his staff. and harry was a true and loyal friend. during my time in the senate, he
was more generous to me than i had any right to expect. he was one of the first people to encourage me to run for president, believing that despite my youth and despite my inexperience, despite the fact that i was african american, i could actually one. at the time, made one of us. you wanted harry in the fox hole with you. his willingness to fight by my side. to stick with me even when things weren't going my way. my poll numbers had gone down and some democrats thought it might be prudent to maintain a healthy distance from me. his willingness to be there, fight, would last throughout my presidency.
it's a debt to him that i could never fully repay. i remember toward the end of my time in the white house, michelle and i invited harry along with joe and jill, nancy, paul, chuck, and iris. during the meal, harry was his usual -- self. he would mutter about this and that, food was pretty good. but generally, he was keeping his own counsel. at the end of the night, those who were there i suspect will remember this. i sure do. harry suddenly asked for everyone's attention.
listen, he said, everybody here knows that i don't show a lot of emotion, okay. that's just how i grew up. i just want to say i'm really proud of what i've done with this president and i love this guy. and then without any warning, he leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. i think it's fair to say that we were all surprised. and i laughed. i said, thanks, harry. i love you too, man. and i put my arm around him, which i think was too much for him. because he said, well, okay
then, it's past my bedtime and with that, he and landra headed for the door. pragmatism, premium on getting things done, lack of pretension. abiding loyalty. that's what harry reid represents. man of old school virtues. there are qualities that are in short supply these days. yet it seems to me they are precisely the qualities our democracy requires.
harry understood we don't have to see eye to eye on everything in order to live together and be decent toward each other. we can learn to bridge differences, background, and race and region. he knew that our system of government isn't based on demanding that everybody think exactly the same way. a country as big and diverse as ours, people will, we can still work together. harry may have been a proud democratic part seisan. he didn't shy away from bare knuckle politics. what's true is that i never heard harry speak of politics as if it was some unbending battle between good and evil.
because he knew what was true for himself was true for everybody. that we're all a bundle of contradictions. we all have our flaws. but despite all that, it was possible for us to affirm our collective humanity because that's what made america great. once we both left office, i didn't see much of harry, but we'd call each other on the phone from time to time. he'd tell me about landra and he'd speak with great pride about his kids and grand kids and all that they were doing. told me about his illness and
treatments he was going through. and always keeping him busy. at some point during those calls, he'd usually mention somebody he'd run into who had thanked him for getting them healthcare or saved their job, and particularly in recent months, maybe knowing he didn't have much time left, he'd allow himself a hint of nostalgia. and talk about how together we'd made a darn good team. we had done pretty well for the american people. as i'd start to reply, yes, he would cut me off. okay, then, mr. president, he'd say, and hang up.
the whole conversation would last about five minutes. in those five minutes, he'd communicate more than some folks do in a couple of hours. that's who harry was. a man who knew what was important and didn't believe in dwelling on what wasn't. one former colleague explained it it by saying to harry, good-bye was an unnecessary word. might not have been necessary for harry, but it is for us. good-bye, harry. thank you for everything. has never had a greater champion
jill and i are here for harry, but he, he would want us to really be here for just him. everybody has referenced. landra, we're here for you and the family. eulogies are for the living. it's a true love story when you're still talking about your first date 60 years later. harry never tired of telling the time you two kids had to push start his car making your way down the road, wide smiles on your space. my recollection is he called when he told me the story, one of those quote moments that turn a life and they stay with you until the last breath.