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tv   After Words Cindy Mc Cain Stronger - Courage Hope and Humor in My Life...  CSPAN  May 2, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT

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next on booktv afterwards program cindy mccain discusses family, country and her life with her late husband republican senator john mccain of arizona. interviewed by joseph lieberman former u.s. senator and vice presidential nominee. >> well, everybody. it is a pleasure for me to have been asked for this conversation with cindy mccain about her new book. and full disclosure [inaudible]
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a member of congress publishes a book that he or she has to read it. but i did read it and i loved it. it's a remarkable story in which you tell a lot of stories and portray the difficult times because it always is something where he was very devoted but we
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also see a lot of examples of this extraordinary tenacity, principal, courage and humor. but this is a story about you. and you pay great tribute to john mccain. this book shows one person, cindy mccain, really got stronger over her life. she was tested and had opportunities and came from strength in her own family. now in this very difficult
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period, to me it was a wonderful book to read. but it was also inspirational so i hope that people will go by it. for a lot of people they will learn more and maybe some people, your mom and dad and the influence they had on you growing up as their child. >> first of all i'm grateful for c-span for having us on. but to begin with, first of all, i am not -- i love the family
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and they've been good friends to us for so many years. my mom and dad came from absolutely nothing. they were dirt poor. my dad became a pilot during world war ii and it was an amazing time. many of them did not live through it, so he, with that said, the reason i bring it up is because it began when he came back from arizona, when he came back from the war and began to build this business with my
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mother. he built an amazing business and corporation that is huge now and to him it says a lot about the man it's pretty terrifying when she got off the train but they were both. >> you were an only child? >> at the time i didn't know any
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different but i have no complaint but because of it allf the stuff that surrounds a large family and i remember my mother coming in and this form of complete chaos. so i think that is what she wanted and she had a very shy daughter. >> as you know our youngest child had five little boys.
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we leave and come back. you tell us about your father and the way he started that business he had nothing really when he started and has all of this ability and drive as you know my parents sold everything
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they had. they borrowed money and did everything they could to scrape money and get by. [inaudible] the rest is history. >> on one of our trips with john, the three amigos, we were joking about the fact
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[inaudible] this initial investment two of her brothers had liquor stores. twenty-five dollars a week so this is a great incentive. it is a great american story. about how you met john mccain i
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kind of had enough of the dating. i decided i wasn't going to date or get married. i was going to figure out something else. we were in hawaii on spring break and were invited to a party i saw this guy across the room evidently from what joe biden described, he said the same thing about me.
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we met quite suddenly in hawaii. so interesting to talk to because he was so smart and well read.
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it was so fascinating. i went back on my word. did you talk about hoping to go into public service? >> he assumed he would go on to a command. i assumed i had married and that is what it was and he was unable to command and decided to get out.
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john didn't really have a home because his family [inaudible] when they challenged in arizona [inaudible]
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to run from there and so you made an interesting decision and independent-minded they were mostly members of congress in washington and decided to -- tell us about the decision. [inaudible] during that timeframe when he was running for the second term,
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which they had megan, and both, with what little experience but he had more than i did we made a decision i would stay out west. the kids don't ever feel like he neglected them or anything like that. i stage it like your dad is deployed, serving his country. it was the best move we ever made because our kids all came
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out normal and we are fortunate to have a great family. you are always there but john made them feel he called you [inaudible] it wasn't much of an e-mail, john mccain they carry it out
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each in their own way but you and john -- barry goldwater and john decides to take that seat. maybe john told me this story once but i must have forgotten. the first to invite you to their home was joe and joe biden.
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drinking from a fire hose for me it was such a steep learning curve it was the kind of thing it's important to make friends and keep friends it's how i always considered it. it's just been such a blessing for us and for me especially.
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>> beneath all the headlines there were people going to work at the same place every day and the extent they like you and trust you [inaudible] but it sure changed but members of congress would stay there you comment on the books about the way in which washington they
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changed over the many years that john was a member. witness to so many incredible things that have occurred many of them had to do with bipartisanship with other members as well across the aisle for the good of the country now mind you the famous fight with ted kennedy as the years went on i know you saw this as well he became such in my opinion a deep divide in the senate it's been
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hard to watch especially since john's death it's been very clear. the one thing i would like to remind the readers i believe in the states there's this pendulum that swings back because that is what we do, that is what americans do. so i just hope as people read the book that they understand it. we tell these stories as the days go by the truth of the matter i believe is it will swing back to a more civil society. >> let's go through in your raising of the book it's a really important message.
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what you said about john and kennedy i just was saying to people why should the democrat republicans, left and right a critical question to negotiate the words you use to support in a civil and respectful way with your colleague on the other side to get something done. he was a liberal democrat and john mccain was a conservative republican but kennedy was
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really amazing and came to the senate to get something done and started with the people in his committee, whether it was orrin hatch, all conservative republicans he would figure it out. john was wonderful and it's how he developed a relationship that started during the debate over 1991. a story that i tell people about
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john is after the presidential campaign and he said people ask me about climate change and i realized i wasn't giving a good answer because i don't know much about the subject. maybe if we work together on it. we put out a good climate change and got about 55. you were very personal in this book about the challenges you had along the way, just this human nature with some health problems and back surgery et cetera and i think it took a lot of courage for you to talk in
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this book about how you are addicted to opioids and you ultimately drove away from it. the reason i admire you for telling the story is that it's going to be and probably has been very helpful to people. we all know people addicted to one thing or another that deal with it. it's human nature in a way and to figure out how to break away from it. so, when you look back, how do you express yourself how you
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became addicted and how did you break out of it in that way? who woke you up and got you to break away from the opioids? >> for me and for millions of other people that have suffered or are suffering right now, addiction is an enemy. it slips in and it takes you down before you know what's happened. in those days especially in the very beginning, i had a couple surgeries and some other stuff. painkillers were easy and doctors would hand them out like they were candy. it was too easy. and a lot of times in those days physicians would also talk to a woman and say you are just
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neurotic, go home and have a drink or take these pills, this will be better, instead of addressing whatever the issue may be, you are masking it with these pills and other things, and that is exactly what happened to me. before i knew it, i was completely down the spiral right in the middle of it. with that, there was a consultation in this community. shame is a large part of it because when you are addicted to something like this and you know that you are sick and you are being shamed for it it's the worst thing that you can do and in my case it happened all over.
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but it can drive someone back under. number one, don't listen to the media which is a big lesson but number two i have the power and i knew that i had to. i had four children john never knew. you become very good at hiding it when you are addicted.
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it's a very tough problem more importantly, women's health is what this is about to make sure that women are talked to and dealt with on a medical standpoint in an adult fashion that is helpful rather than go home and have a drink. i was quite taken with the story that your parents really were the ones -- >> yeah, my mom and dad. >> so they both sensed something was wrong with me. they came to me and confronted me and of the evening they confronted me, i had never taken
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another pill. and i did go into rehab after that as a result of it. i was so grateful not just for them talking to me, but making me see, myself, what was going on. it takes tremendous strength and courage but i wanted you to tell that story because family members like your parents if they are worried about somebody in their family or a friend of theirs that they think may be addicted to something, it's important.
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years ago [inaudible] i just didn't want to say it to them and i was wrong. somebody else that worked with them said you are becoming an alcoholic. you're going to kill your self and he went to aa and thought he really was fine. that is a kind of shame. >> you were a good child and felt you wanted to make them
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proud. >> in my case, excuse me for interrupting but especially, i wanted to because i'm being told through the media and books and i put pressure on myself to make sure that i would be perfect in whatever way. all the things a wife, mother, woman could put on herself and it was all me trying to be perfect instead of realizing no one is perfect. i was touched when you described the reaction -- the word candor
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at the outset they watched them. as for his memory. >> his persona was strong and he was the one that was going to help us win, whatever the issue may be. he was a wonderful husband. in the deepest darkest time in my life at that point, we are a
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team and we are going to fix this whatever it was. and he never left my side. for me it was a realization that it was okay to bother him. he was a sitting senator and i didn't want to bother him. of course i should. he's my husband. wrapped up in this profession and persona about what was going on. >> it's a great story. it goes through the challenge. let's talk about another side of life. he loved to tell jokes.
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over and over -- irish twins. the press made a t-shirt during the race that had all these jokes on the back of it. that was the funniest thing i had seen quite frankly. john was so good at using humor and believing in humor. all people, someone with great strength and humility as a result of it and humor came in to this i believe during the pow
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years. as you know it could be a tough time and everything is better again. >> it's interesting what you just said about the pow. there's going to be an unusual reaction. there's a group of college students that recognize them and start to chant mccain and they want photographs and autographs.
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he said there's two reasons. one is because i was treated better, the second was they became the leaders and ended up in long diplomatic relations to reconcile. everybody [inaudible] people we won't mention. he would always say what kind of hero and i because he was a
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hero. [inaudible] either walking with him or traveling with him, very surreal. there was a huge crowd of people chanting. don't you think that it's a little small when you think about the true [inaudible]
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and he said no, sir. john mccain deserve something much bigger. we also develop some real public interests, service, passions of your own such as in the trafficking and human rights. you talk about them in the book which is important. talk about how you got into human trafficking and human rights and may be what you're doing now to advance those.
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>> eight story that i tell about in the book, -- came out of a kiosk to bring home and calcutta is a crazy place with everything going on. i happened to look down and i heard some grumblings. there was a man that said that's my family that lives below. i looked again down before i
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left there were all of these eyes looking and something didn't work. there was something bad going on. i didn't know what it was so i came home and began on what was going on and what to do about it. human trafficking was a tough, tough issue. for many people they really don't know what to look for or understand it and that is what i tried to do is bring awareness to understanding it as a basic human rights issue. if people want to get involved in trying to work against human
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trafficking, what do you say? >> i tell them the first and foremost you need to look within your own community. in that case in calcutta or in vietnam, something like that. but it doesn't happen here. it happens every neighborhood we have seen it then i tell them to do with locally. we have to take care of our own first. there are people working out there but i encourage everyone to stay local because we have to
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stop this. >> that is a great answer. it would have the most impact. you mentioned somewhere it's one of the best things someone can do in life is to create an institution that means to carry on as you try to do in your lives. so tell us a little bit about its university affiliation.
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>> just after the 2010 race we began to think about the legacy and all the things that come into play. we have a great working relationship and it's about john's legacy and the idea of the things that meant the most. from his standpoint the next generation leadership. that's what the institute does and also human rights, freedom of the press, of course human trafficking is a large part of the institute and it's what john considered a social justice in terms of doing right by human
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beings and we are doing very well. it's a strong independent organization. we are action based. we get in there and implement what we are working on. he wanted action. so it is uncharged now so, we have a little more time, not a lot. stem back a little bit while we are talking about john, and then i will get to you. what do you think and hope his legacy will be from his life?
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>> i think his honesty and honor, his conduct, the way that he led his life. people believed him and stood for what he worked on in his public service either in the thy or certainly within the united states senate. he's remembered for many great things but most importantly he wanted to be remembered as someone who tried to do right and i think he did more than just do right. >> the middle of so many important things thinking the other day about the independent nonpartisan position investigating the events of the
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capital and i will never forget after 9/11 it was very similar. the administration talked about doing its own investigation and congress was in it to break down party lines. one sunday morning he talked about this and he said why don't we put in a bill. it became the 9/11 commission. but we were going to make them
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look bad when they finally realized we were not most of the recommendations were adopted and part of the reason we haven't been getting that but anyway, that was john's actions. after we adopted the commission, the senate had basically gone into that last week and people hang around it has to be agreed upon by everybody in the house of the senate because most people were going home so they come over and tell somebody in
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the house republican leadership was holding up funding for the 9/11 commission investigation. he said i'm going to take care of this. come with me. he said i understand that you are holding up the bill and i want you to know it would passive nobody object. we are going to be on the floor 24 hours a day and unless you pass that funding bill, we are going to object. [laughter]
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>> i said all i could do is give him a hug and laugh like hell. okay let's go back to this book, stronger. it's your book. as i sit at the beginning it's about you and when you first met john you wondered how could he be interested in you with all he had done. it's very clear how he was interested and i can tell you because i spend so much time with him not only how much he loved you but how dependent he was and how it came out in his
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final months that were so important to him. in some ways it's about john but it's a woman's book, tomac. it's a story of a strong woman who got stronger as her life was going on. in some ways i'm answering my question -- can you help people take away from reading your book "stronger"? >> i hope people see that i am a very normal person. from the same issues everyone else does. but the discovery as you grow and get older, the discovery that you are in perfect and you can make mistakes and it's okay to make mistakes and learn from them and all those kind of
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things, so i'm hoping people can take away from this that you've made mistakes. just keep trying, keep going. there's lots of people that make mistakes and do all the work they need to do and that's okay. the profession that was tossed early on and it started in the 70s about this profession that you have to be perfect and do everything is bold and so i think for those of us who have tried to live our lives and the best way we can it is a learning curve and i hope people enjoy it. number one, i hope they laugh about things. i hope they love it and end up living their own lives as a result of it. and also i hope they know that there's friends out there.
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for me in that case it was being able to have friends and open up to people. i would never do that before and now i have great friendships, girlfriends and boyfriends, not bully boyfriends but male friends that are good friends of mine and i've decided that it's okay to be me. >> it was great for john mccain, but it's going to be great for everybody that reads this book. you really accomplish what you just described. you're an extraordinary person but in a way, everybody is capable of being extraordinary. you just rose to every challenge in your life and continue on
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which is really great. i thank you for writing the book. it's not easy to write a book. >> no, it's not. the hard part also is the audio portion. >> you've got to read it out loud. i once read and i forgot which writer said this, but he said i do not enjoy writing. i enjoy having written. a final one i happened to be in israel several years ago and in a period of morning he had this great hero and i naturally tried to comfort by saying what a
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dream it must have been for your father you became prime minister. what a legacy you gave him and he raised his hand across the coffee table in front of him and said thank you. this is my father's legacy. i looked at the coffee table and across you have a legacy. thank you for the wonderful conversation. >> it was fun. >> "after words" is available as a podcast. to listen visit c-span.org/podcast for visit on your podcast app and watch this and all previous interviews at booktv.org just click the button near the top of the page.
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>> the greatest town on earth is the place you call home. right now we are all facing our greatest challenge around the clock to keep you connected. we are doing our part so it's a little easier to do yours. along with these television companies supporting booktv on c-span2 as a public service. during a virtual event hosted by strand bookstore in new york city, former fbi assistant director for counterintelligence shared his insight into the organization standards and how it operates. here is a portion of the program. >> people need to understand something. i get stopped a lot and asked the question frequently how did
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this member of congress ever get a security clearance. i've had people ask how did the president to get a security clearance. it's a teachable moment for me. we don't get security clearances. no one decides whether congress or president gets these clearances. they get it because we've elected them to office. i compare and contrast that to fbi reporting who serves coffee at the shop and the headquarters goes through more of a background investigation than the president of the united states would ever get. so here's the deal. we've got to do this better and i'm not suggesting.
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if i had to fill out the financial disclosure forms with a number on my card with all the debt in my household and all of my travel that the president should disclose that to the public including his taxes and his financial disclosures. let's do some vetting here. it caused some minor heartburn. as i told him the story, how frequent this is and how we've got to get better at vetting our public officials i told the story having to sit down as the director of the fbi across the table from a member of congress and confront him with the fact that the service considered him a source of there's and an
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informant. i had to do the same thing for a minor presidential candidate previously in my career who was dealing with foreign intelligence officers clandestinely. if you think that trump is a one-off it's the worst i've ever seen, he's not. your congressman could be involved in this and we've got to get better at this. the other thing i talk about is the vetting of a supreme court nominee and again it is a teachable moment. people say the fbi didn't go all the way with cavanaugh. they didn't investigate all of the allegations from the women. you are darn right they didn't because there is a rule in place that says the reinvestigation of a nominee is proven by the client agency. guess who the client agency is in a supreme court nominee, the white house. the white house dictated the parameters of the investigation of cavanaugh. only look at this, only talk to
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this person. that needs to change on the long list of biden harris administration things to change, that should be near the top. >> to watch the full program visit booktv.org and type his name or the title of the book the fbi way in the search box at the top of the page. .. the hero code. wrapping up a look at some of the best-selling books

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