tv John Mc Cain Newt Gingrich and Nikki Haley Speak at Kemp Leadership Award... CSPAN December 11, 2016 1:34am-2:09am EST
person that's painted my picture . this young man worked for me. his staff worked for a senator on the appropriations committee. gavin can still remember he was there drawing pictures i went up to him and said what are you drawing and talked to him a little bit. he worked for me. he was 22-years-old and had been with me a year and a half and he got sick. he had a tumor on his chest the size of a tennis ball. we were not sure he was going to make it, his parents were not sure and he certainly wasn't. when they were wheeling this young man into the operating room for this stunningly terrorizing event in his life, he says to himself -- nobody's .here to listen
he said if i get out of this, i'm not going to work at some office. what i'm going to do is draw pictures and paint. that's what i've done all my life. i'm going to try to do that. and his good parents when he got , out of the hospital and was well, he moved in with them and spent years in their home perfecting his craft. gavin is a great painter. he painted a portrait of my wife in my office. he has paintings all over america. he is a portrait painter, landscape painter and above all, he's my friend. [applause]
gavin glakas: thank you so much for choosing me to paint your portrait. this means so much to me on a personal and professional level and i will always be proud of it. senator reid told a story i don't know if he remembered that when i was a kid my dad worked for the appropriations committee. one day i went with him to work and i was in the corner of the room like this and it seems there were hundreds of people. i'm drawing in my sketchbook and when the hearing finished up and everybody filed off, a nice gentle man in a suit came over to me and said hello son, what do you have there? he made a really big job out of the drawing i was doing and when he walked off my dad said you know who that was? that was senator reid. was getting out of college and people told me how difficult it is that the plan was to go to law school and paint on the weekend and i actually got a job working for senator reid on his staff, and it was a great experience. i would say i was the lowliest
of lowly but one of the highlights of my time on the hill is that i used to meet with senator reid once a week for five minutes to go over something, and we developed a nice relationship. i was the lowest man on the totem pole and he was always sweet to me and we got along really well. i would go over to his office and i would go out to the capital and i was in all of all the great paintings in the hallways. i've always loved portraits in history and psychology and politics. i thought it was a great challenge as an artist. those paintings were a constant reminder that i simply didn't have the courage to pursue the only goal that i ever had. after about a year and a half i made my decision, i went to my parents' house and sat them down and a curious thing happened. as senator reid told you i got very sick. the doctors told me if that would have happened at any point in my life but it happened exactly when i made that decision. i spent about six months in and
out of the hospital and they eventually took a tumor out of my lungs and i've been fine ever since. there were some moments i wasn't sure if i was going to make it, and that's when i realized life is short. i only have one goal and it's the goal i've had my whole life. i have to throw everything i have at it. that was 15 years ago. and i considered that by far the most fortunate thing that's ever happened to me in my life. so now at this point i have seen as painted some portraits a lot of you probably know and recognize. i was elated in my career when senator reid asked me to paint a portrait and then he hung it up in the capital next to a portrait of mark twain. but the fact that the matter is, the portrait artists out there that are older and further along than i am that have painted every president in europe and we
-- and senator reid could easily have chosen one of them and as far as i can tell the reason he didn't is that underneath it all, underneath the great statesman and the brilliant strategist and a hard kid that fought his way through college and fought his entire life for people that are not strong enough to fight for themselves, underneath all of that, the bedrock of all of that is a sweet, sweet person who when given the opportunity to walk by and help someone up has spent his entire life helping people up. senator, i can't tell you how much i've enjoyed working with you on this. if you want to spend sundays next summer watching baseball while i paid, i am in. i will be proud of this the rest of my life. thank you so much. [applause]
sen. schumer: good afternoon everybody. it's been an amazing afternoon. you will be a hard act to follow this afternoon and harder even to follow as a leader. i want to thank the vice president and secretary clinton and the majority leader mcconnell, leader pelosi, all of the great family, so wonderful and beautiful. i see how excited you are. as he said, you are his rock. his strong, quiet, always there rock. my great colleagues past and present, it's amazing. how embarrassed are you that we all showed up? i know you -- i know of nothing you would rather do less than sit and hear us all go on about
you but i also know you are a good sport. i've seen it over and over again. one of my favorite memories is on a congressional trip. me to go, and it was in china and there was a group of 10 of us that it was spring break. it is very ecumenical. we spent easter sunday at an evangelical church. it was sort of being oppressed by the chinese government. it was also passover and there were a few jewish members. we had a seder. we had it in macau. on the trip were frank and bonnie wattenberg. they were could -- they were to conduct the seder. it is pretty long before you eat. frank and bonnie prolonged it by
arguing with each other about how to conduct it. frank, you don't do it that way. shut up, bonnie. it's this way. and it went on and on and on. harry was seated squirming. i know him well, steam coming out of his ears. he wanted to get on with it. it was getting late. but impatient as he was, they -- the seder always win and so it did. but god bless his heart, he sat there a whole hour, another hour very polite and never said a word. that's who he is. he's been a good sport and it takes what comes. doesn't complain, doesn't wine, just does the best to does the best with whatever situation he is in. so while you're in a sporting mood i will try to add a few , words to what has already been said. he is not only somebody who can
be quiet and take it as it is, he can also be passionate. i'm going to let some of you who know the story, but i will let you in on a secret. other than has wife, there is another woman he gave a date fat sloppy kiss to in this room. harry and i were sitting there election night of 2006. it was all hanging in the balance whether we would get the majority. when the tv came on and claire mccaskill came out as the winner, they marched up to the tv and started kissing claire over and over again. i had to go up and fight off the tv.hite -- wipe off the i got to know him when he came
to the senate in 1999. here was this man, soft-spoken mormon from searchlight nevada a town miles from nowhere and here i was a kid out of brooklyn. -- a brash, jewish kid out of oakland. -- brooklyn. i quickly learned soft-spoken didn't mean he would keep his opinions to himself or sand down the rough edges. we all heard him on the floor. he has never been cagey with the supporters. he would look at my shoes every so often and pulled me aside in the corner and slipped $20 to me and said get a shoeshine already. he was blunt even about his bluntness and remarked about the political flareup. could i have couched my words more carefully? maybe, but i said it and i meant it and i'm not apologizing for it. it's just the truth. that is vintage hairy.
-- harry. if you heard about his childhood as we all did today in his final speech, you begin to understand why he is so plainspoken. he is a product of his environment like we all are, but it's not exactly the way that you would expect. hardscrabble childhood like his especially when they produced this person of such prominence tend to instill that mythology of rugged individualism picking yourself up by your bootstraps going at it alone and she -- and harry learned that lesson, but he had such a big heart he also went a best learned much different lesson and that is in tough , circumstances we need each other more. he wrote about how he and his brother would stick together to stand up to their father if he was being rough on them and as a young lawyer he would take cases no one else wanted defending
folks he knew were guilty but he also knew they were treated unfairly by the system. he a board that unfairness and injustice in life, no matter who it inflicted. ultimately, the lesson he carried with him throughout his life is that no one goes it alone and was part of his responsibility to stick up for those caught in the tentacles of circumstance as lbj put it. it was that same instinct that led him to take a hardcharging freshman from new york under his wing. you, there is no one better to have in your corner then harry reid. much has been made of his career and it's true he is tenacious fighter and relentless but what these descriptions often miss is
that the important thing is not that you fight, the important thing is what and who you fight for. he thought for people -- fought for people and to protect seniors. to get over the finish line providing healthcare to 22 million americans who never had health care before. he fought for the environment and was one of the most illustrious records when it comes to clean energy, land conservation and preserving historical landmarks he had a passion for. i remember when he visited hyde park for the first time and he talked to me about it for a half hour on and on and that was it until one day about seven or eight months later i got a call from the hyde park monument.
he said thanks for that $50 dollar -- 15 the million earmark you put in the appropriations bill. i didn't even know it was there. he fought for the things he cared about and though he doesn't always prevail, he always kept fighting and in the true tradition i have the same lines. i will read them again because they are so apropos. in the clearing stands a fighter -- a boxer, a fighter by his trade and he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down, but the fighter still remains. he is the third longest-serving senate leader and as we all know, the higher you go, the more fiercely the winds blow. you can easily lose your way and
get blown off course and beat -- beaten-down. what keeps people going is there there senseoscope, of right and wrong. no one has a better internal gyroscope then harry reid. while he carried the scars of the battle and hard-won victories and setbacks, he was always guided and that's why having talked to him i know he has very few regrets. watching him working by his side taught me how to be a senator and a leader. he taught me that our senate caucus is a family. how we all look out
for each other's back. he taught me to stay true to myself and despite the obvious differences, we are both from these remarkably refining places. and harry reid goes by the same credo that i do. i am from brooklyn. sometimes it helps me and sometimes it hurts me but i would be less of an individual if i tried not to be from brooklyn. the same exact thing could be said about harry and searchlight , nevada. writing about his hometown, he much attention is paid in the public life to the important collection of attributes that we call character. he wrote somewhat less attention is devoted to the consideration of where the character is born. character and values come from places you wouldn't necessarily think to look because some of the men and women of the greatest character that i will ever meet in my life came from
this place of hard rocks. and inhospitable soil. he was talking about his friends and family and the people he knew growing up, but i don't think truer words could ever be spoken about the man himself. in my life, he's one of the men of great character that i've ever met. powerful but with uncommon humility, honest and loyal, unsparingly funny, a fighter with a great big heart. a titan of the senate. mens one of the most unique any of us will ever meet, truly one-of-a-kind and i've been lucky to call him my colleague , my mentor, my friend.
i would not be the senator or the man i am today without you. i can only say thank you from the bottom of my heart and i will miss you. it will be quite some time until we see another like harry reid. until then, this portrait will have to do. thank you. [applause] >> and folks, please remain in your seats after the portrait is unveiled until vice president biden and secretary clinton depart the room following their