tv Jose Diaz- Balart Reports MSNBC December 9, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST
aarp will tear your shorts off, but that's another thing. anyway, he confronted big issues with good humor and he knew his adversaries. he one time, this was a little confidential, he went to byrd and he said why don't we go overseas, the two of us, and show the european countries and the countries of the world how two men of opposite parties can make this show of work and put up and byrd might have known toward the end that byrd had parkinsonnian syndrome. he could hold the microphone to his chest and never have a quiver, but he sat with bob and he said, bob, i can't do that
because here's what happens and he had a cup of coffee and he had difficulty in picking it up and bob said that's not the issue, robert. we want to show civility and unity. he said i just can't do it, and i have great pride and he showed it. i tell you, if robert byrd had been in the senate these last few weeks or months, he'd have collared his own party and some of us and tell you i'll tell you what ate the cabbage around here, and so it was his outreach was great and then of course, don't forget we had a rule,
wonderful rules unwritten, if one of our senate colleagues of the other party was roaming, we wouldn't go on campaign against him. that broke down at the race of tom daschle, a member of the u.s. senate republican when they campaigned against daschle in south dakota, that broke that mold. that never got healed. so them and the people who came from the house have been tortured over there for 40 years, and didn't know the slaves, some of the slaveholders and they got tired of it, and they said, wow, get the hell out of here and go to the senate. thank god for them i'm living. >> senator, thank you. thank you for being with us and remembering a colleague that clearly was a close friend of yours.
susan, you're a daughter of kansas. how did coming from the sunflower state shape his life and his career as we see senator mcconnell's, schumer, nancy pelosi arriving. >> he had the stamp of russell kansas until the day he died. he had the state's fiscal conservatism, its suspicion of big talkers, its suspicion toward big government but what i think he also, one thing that changed him were the wounds he suffered during world war ii and the realization that was that there are times when people have a tough break, that life can be unfair, and that you could need a hand up and sometimes that involves a government hand up. that's why he was willing to work on things like the americans with disabilities act to work to expand and overall
the food stamp program. these are programs government helping people who were in need, and that is something that very much marked his public career. >> there we see president biden arriving. we just saw the vice president arriving. >> linda chavez, you worked in the white house while bob dole was serving as senate republican
leader. what do you remember most about working with him? >> well, i actually, my friendship and admiration for bob dole actually goes back earlier than that. i met him first when i was a young staffer. i was on an airplane and seated right across the aisle from bob dole and i was reading "war and peace" at the time, and the senator looked over to me and said, "i've seen both. i prefer peace." that was sort of an example of his sense of humor, but he was very conservative, but he was also very much in support of civil rights, and that's really where my tenure with him began, i was the head of the u.s. commission on civil rights. bob dole, the great negotiator and compromiser and person willing to reach across the aisle was able to get his colleagues to rewrite the civil rights commission law that allowed me to become staff
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 heartfelt prayers. we ask that the influence senator dole has had on countless people, leaders, neighbors and strangers alike would not be without longlasting fruit, and extolling senator dole's unequalled 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 deck indicated war hero, this, your humble servant. we commend this tribute to you, that you would 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, "the task ahead is monumental" and this is before bob 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 we'd whip control of the senate, we'd have run better candidates." [ laughter ]
i swear bob could have made it as a standup comic, but in that maiden speech, bob was earnest. he was already championing a signature cause, helping americans with disabilities. the t "the task ahead is monumental but i'm confident there are forces in america ready and willing to meet the challenge." bob dole himself was certainly proof of that.willing to meet t" bob dole himself was certainly proof of that. that maiden 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. through all his decades in public service, bob dole 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 leadership, through bob's incredibly active retirement in name only, 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 he planned for longevity by closely studying our most senior colleaguing. we a whole comedy routine how he tried to copy strom thurmond's eating habits. strom takes his shrimp, i take a shrimp. if he eats a banana, i eat a banana. but the real engine behind bob's 98 remashlgable 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, the source of all love both for bob's incredible journey
here in this life and for the fact 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 senator elizabeth dole and robin. the scriptures say that we should "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. over the 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 goodness leaves 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 elderly, its disabled, and millions of kids across the country are better off because of bob dole. he never lost his roots as a 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 ada. 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, whose county attorney had to approve his grandfather's welfare checks each month, whose recovery from war was made possible 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 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 whit as he worked 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 of bob with elizabeth at his side, standing and saluting danny inouye one last time. bob used to tell the story of him and danny recovering from war wounds at percy jones army hospital in michigan. as they recuperated they discussed their futures with bob
telling danny he'd plan 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 pearly 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, this is a sad and official honor to join our colleagues in the leadership in welcoming you and the first lady and the vice president to the united states capital. you come as senator dole's long time colleague, personal friend and as president, and 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 wise
and dedicated partner in service, elizabeth, senator eliz 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 rtunda to pay tribute to an extraordinary patriot. once we gathered here before in the rotunda in his name in 2018, it was my personal 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, he always talked a 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 sides of the aisle, on both sides of the capital across the country, senator dole was widely respected for his legendary service on the battlefields of world war ii. his inspiring resilient 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 hard-working 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 ada 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 heros who 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 and service to a country he loved and to our cherished national values for which he fought. i remember when we were gathered here honoring george herbert walker bush and how moved the whole nation was so 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, to act worthy of our ideals and carry on his mission. when we in congress gave senator dole congressional gold medal, in receiving, it he brought lustre to the award just as his service and sacrifice brought lustre to the congress and to the country. may it be a comfort to you, robin, to elizabeth and all who love him that all, so many people across the congress, the country and his beloved state of kansas that a grateful nation mourns with them, 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, minority 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 capital 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 to liberty and temple to possibilities. bob dole loved this capital. 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., whom 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, 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, and that's not hyperbole. it's real. of wit and grace, of principle and persistence, of courage and conviction. i have the great honor of serving 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.
it's historic. 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, 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. i hope we 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 i've always served my
country best when i did it so first and foremost as an american, prioritize principles over party, humanity over personal legacy. we do that, we accomplish far more as a nation. by leading, we 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 its timeless truth. the truth of the matter is 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, the basic fundamental principles we all agree on. may god bless bob dole, and god bless america. may god protect our troops.
great is thy faithfulness, oh god my father ♪ ♪ there is no shadow of journeying with thee ♪ ♪ thou changest not thy compassions they fail not ♪ ♪ as though hats mean thou forever with me ♪ ♪ great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness ♪ ♪ morning by morning, new mercies i see ♪ ♪ all i have needed thy hand
♪ great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness ♪ ♪ morning by morning new mercies i see ♪ ♪ all i have needed thy hand hath provided ♪ ♪ great is thy faithfulness, lord unto m ♪ ♪ great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness ♪ ♪ morning by morning new mercies i see ♪ ♪ all i have needed thy hand
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.
senate. susan paige is still with us. susan, very much a group of senators, almost like reminiscing of times that seem so distant in many ways, you know, i was just struck by it. the president, former senator, the vice president, former senator, bob dole, former senator, and yet it's as if they're speaking of a time long ago by people that are unique. >> so bob dole at home here no, place he loved more than the u.s. congress, much better suited to him in many ways than the white house, welcomed here with such warmth and yet as though they're speaking of an entirely different time of politics when the conservative senate majority leader who make legislative deals with people, like pat moynihan on social security, with ted kennedy on
food stamps. >> food stamps. >> with ted kennedy and tom harkin on the americans with disabilities tada time of some bipartisanship, and you we seem to have a time of no bishop. >> and you saw the president with the first lady over the casket. it's as though we're being reminded of the extraordinary strength of the americanic. of democracy. of what the senate and what the capitol needs for so many, not only here but around the world. >> to see the rotunda, such a beautiful place and such a stately place for a memorial service like this but a place overrun by insurgents on january 6th. so our sense of democracy as being imperilled, there was some sense of that during world war ii. i think there's some sense of that in our country at this
moment. >> jonathan, columnist for the daily beast is with us as well as an msnbc contributor. jonathan, an extraordinary philosopher once said man is man plus his circumstance. bob dole is very much a person of his circumstance. >> i think that's right. we need to to understand that this is the end of the greatest generation maybe in all of american history that won the greatest war in human history and then came home to build the most enduring and prosperous piece that we've known. i think a lot of people expected that there would be another world war after the second world war, and instead, bob dole
generation made sure that while we stood up for american values, we kept the world safe, and service is the hallmark of his career. not by bipartisanship. yes, he could be bipartisan on occasion, but he was a fierce partisan, to be honest about it. and one that could as chuck schumer made reference to, could be very cutting and often amusing way about democrats. but at the end of the day, he played between the lines. he did not go out of bounds. he understood that we all share certain values of decency, honor, and service. and so i think part of what was going on today is that the people who run this country in congress and the president, they're trying to create what historians call a usable past.
so we can harken back to that era and maybe benefit from it. and i think there are already some signs of a certain nostalgic to that. 19 republican senators just very recently joined with the democrats to approve that infrastructure bill. i think there's a sense in which you can get to the kind of senate that bob dole served in again. if we all protect democracy and invest ourselves in these personal relationships that can take us beyond party to the interest of the country. >> and linda chavez, how will you remember bob dole and his legacy? >> well, because he was a republican who believed very much in civil rights. and was very active in all of the civil rights battles,
particularly during the 1980s. he fashioned a compromise on the voting rights act extension in 1982. he was a fierce partisan, but he also wanted people to remember that the republican party was the party of abraham lincoln, and, in fact, in 1964, even though he had voted against many of president johnson's great society programs, he voted for the 1964 civil rights act and voted for the 1965 voting rights act, and then again was active as a leader in the various amendments to that act. so i will remember him as somebody who understood the legacy of the republican party in civil rights and who was always willing to do the right thing. >> he also voted in 1986 for that immigration reform proposal. comprehensive immigration reform. that was the last time that the
united states saw any comprehensive immigration reform. susan, i'm just thinking your thoughts. you were able to interview him and spend some time with him this last summer. >> i interviewed him two days before his 98th birthday in july. i've interviewed him for 40 years, the first time in 1980 and covered all three presidential bids. the man i interviewed in 1980 was the same as the man in july. he was smart and sharp and had an edge and sense of humor. and very interested in public policy. he was very curious to talk to me about joe manchin who he had never met but who, of course, is a figure of some influence in the senate where bob dole himself served. and he asked if i thought manchin would be interested in coming over and talking to him, meeting him. he was curious. i said i was sure he would. he said he knew he was dying. he knew he wasn't going to live much longer. he had been diagnosed with lung
cancer and could not sustain chemotherapy treatment. he hoped to gather enough strength to go home one last time c that is home to kansas one last time. >> i don't think that dream came true. >> not to be possible. >> are we witnessing the end of a very important generation that was instrumental in the stability of our country? >> in a generation that was so tested, right? they were children during the great depression. they fought world war ii. they came back at a time when america became the most influential democracy, the most influential force in the country. they were here with the cold war in the ussr. yes, that is a generation that was tested and proved up to the task. >> susan page, jonathan, thank you all for being with me this morning. i appreciate your time. that wraps up our special coverage celebrating the life of senator bob dole.
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with a 2-year price guarantee. give your business the gift of savings today. comcast business. powering possibilities. good thursday morning. i'm in more craig melvin live from msnbc head quarters in new york city. you just saw the moving tribute to a life-long statesman bob dole. we'll have more on his life and legacy ahead. right now we're tracking the alarming rise of covid cases in two dozen states across the country. the daily average is back over 120,000 cases and on average we're losing 1100 lives every day. so much of the attention is on the omicron variant. but delta is driving this surge. and even though "the new york times" is reporting 200 million americans are now fully