tv Craig Melvin Reports MSNBC December 10, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PST
reserved for democrats alone when he shared power with newt gingrich. when he took over as speaker, it changed the nature of the house of representatives from his predecessor. the speaker's office had several big file cabinets and one tiny one for gingrich's good ideas. that is the way he talked. there's another reason why. this is similar to john mccain, another wounded war veteran. that -- dole on a campaign would talk to us the way reporters loved as mccain did on the straight talk express. they'd be so honest. they wouldn't say well, this is off the record or on -- they just would say it. >> one of the reasons he was such a bad presidential candidate. he would also talk in capitol speak, like we've sent that to committee for markup, when he was talking to a town hall, and
they had no idea what he was talking about. he wasn't a great or ray or the, he was a great senator. a staffer, chief of staff on the hill said they tried so hard in 1996 to give him speeches. there you see schumer and mitch mcconnell and pelosi who slammed mitch mcconnell just slammed him 24 hours ago for what he was doing on the floor, and look at the way they're talking in the cathedral today. in any case, bob dole could not play the game of traditional candidate. and these set speeches, because he just wanted to talk the way he talked. and as warfield recounted in an op ed, just after his death, they were wrong. he was right. he was speaking honestly and from the heart to people.
>> kansans i think have an aversion to pretense, and meeting grant's rhetoric seems pretentious. he would not like to refer to himself in the first person. he would refer to himself in the third person. bob dole did this or bob dole thinks this. i think a part of this is just being uncomfortable with the grandiosity that is so much of our politics. >> and again -- >> he thought it was -- >> stand by for just a moment. i think we're waiting for the president, president biden. dan, what were you saying? >> i was going to say he thought it was unfair to audiences to say the same thing over and over and over again in a presidential campaign. that's one of the reasons he resisted being scripted. but another aspect of the '96 campaign was because he had a reputation for being sarcastic with his wit, he was kind of hobbled. his staff did not want him to
use that humor. and it robbed him of a great weapon that was part of his personality. >> one of those moments ift present for was in 1988 we were in the nbc armory in new hampshire. tom brokaw was anchoring and interviewing bush. bush had lost in iowa, and so he thought dole was on the rise and so did his pollsters. and then he lost in the new hampshire primary. and it was a very bitter loss, and it was clearly going to change the momentum of the campaign, and on that election night in victory, bush 41 was sitting next to tom brokaw. i was off camera in the back.
tom brokaw said to dole who was on another camera remotely, do you have anything to say to vice president bush. and he snapped yes, stop lying about my record. and that was a moment. a kind of moment that you were just talking about which the campaign managers did not want him to use, because that was the other side of bob dole. but to this humor that dan and eugene and susan mentioned here, one of those moments we were watching the medal of freedom presentation by bill clinton to the man he had just defeated two months earlier at the white house. bob dole and he puts the medal around bob dole's neck, and dole has a moment to say a few words. and he starts speaking and says, i, robert j. dole, do solemnly swear as though he is taking the oath of office as president and
continues that nn that frame. the audience cracks up. he says, mr. president, this is not what i thought you would be presenting to me at this historic moment in time. i thought it was going to be i'd be arriving at the white house and you'd be presenting me the keys to the front door. his humor was often not just directed at others but at himself as well. eugene? i think we are waiting for the president of the united states. according to our schedule, this was supposed to begin at 11:02. i can imagine a lot of things, and not traffic because he has a motorcade. a lot of things that could have intervened. as we now think the motorcade is just arriving outside, i think my colleague garrett haake is outside. >> yeah. looking at these conversations -- >> can you see a presidential motorcade? >> andrea, we could hear the
helicopters, but i'm told the motorcade arrived through the back. the president and the entourage are in the building on their way into the cathedral proper. >> well, that is why just a few minutes late. we'll be seeing the beginning of this funeral service. the president will be coming in. and we will -- we have seen from president clinton, the bushes are not here. the obamas are not here, but bill clinton was fought and really soundly defeated bob dole in 1996, but remained someone who really respected and admired bill clinton's resilience. speaking of resilience, we saw an example in that in an extraordinary interview for master class that hillary clinton did, and the bidens are walking in. we can see the first lady.
the president of the united states. coming in, they'll take their places in the first pew. and then we're going to see a service you will hear from president roberts, the former senator from kansas. you'll hear from tom dashl from a minority leader defeated when he left the senate. here are the bidens walking up the aisle. to their seats in the knave in the front seats. they'll be directly across from the dole family, senator elizabeth dole, robin dole. senator dole's daughter from the first marriage. elizabeth dole and senator dole were married for a day shy of 46 years. kamala harris, of course, the first gentleman also in that first row. coming in the white house motorcade.
you will hear also lee greenwood singing today. it has become really a republican anthem, starting with ronald reagan, really, but adopted and adapted by the trump campaign. and the wonderful cathedral choir. senator dole, mrs. dole, accompanied by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, mark milley who will also be speaking at the world war ii memorial today. he will be her escort throughout the day. ♪♪
whoever has faith in me should have life, overen though they die. and everyone who has life and has committed himself to me in faith shall not die forever. as for me, i know that my redeemer lives. and that at the last, he will stand upon the earth. after my awaking, he will raise me up, and in my body, i shall see god. i, myself, shall see and my eyes
behold him who is my friend and not a stranger. for none of us lives to himself and no one becomes his own master when he dies. for if we have life, we are alive in the lord, and if we die, we die in the lord. so then whether we live or die, we are the lord's possession. happy from now on are those who die in the lord, so it is, says the spirit, for they rest from their labors.
good morning. my -- i am the dean of washington national cathedral. on behalf of the bishops, welcome. welcome to the house of prayer for all people. we are honored to host this service for senator dole, yet, we recognize that we are gathering yet again to lay to rest a great american only five weeks after having saying farewell to another icon in our
nation, collin powell. we have, indeed, seen too much loss in recent days. to elizabeth, robin, and the entire dole family, please know that cathedral and this nation grieves with you and you are in our prayers. bob dole was within of the greatest of the greatest generation. the patriot who always placed country above partisanship and politics. while we mourn his loss, we gather this morning to give thanks for and to celebrate his extraordinary life. though senator dole has gone from us, he is not lost. the same god who raised the jesus from the dead will raise bob dole as well. that is the good news. our faith tells us that we will meet again in a place where there is no death, no sorrow,
♪ till all the world adore his sacred name ♪ >> the lord be with you. >> and also with you. >> let us pray. oh, god, whose mercies cannot be in your opinioned, accept our prayers on behalf of our servant, bob, and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy in the fellowship of your saints. through jesus christ our lord who lives and reigns with you and the holy spirit, one god now and forever, amen.
isaiah. do you not know? have you not heard? the lord is the everlasting god. the creator of the ends of the earth. he will not grow tired or weary, and his understandings no one can fathom. he gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak, even yous grow tired and weary and young man stumble and fall. but those who wait upon the lord will renew their strength. will soar on wings like eagles and run and not grow weary. they will walk and not faint. the word of the lord.
friendship, this is one that especially captured what bob dole was as a man and in my view as a patriot. we were on our way to the 50th anniversary of d-day, and we started in italy. much had been written about his time in enzio, but to be there with him felt significantly different. he was on a mission in the mountains. nazi gunfire and mortar fire was thick. the man was dying. men were dying. facing a hail of bullets, the second lieutenant, robert joseph
dole, hurled a grenade into an empty nest. he was trying to help when everything changed, and i mean everything changed. his spine was damaged because fire tore across the hills, shattering his body. grievously wounded, he was paralyzed. dragged behind a wall, bob would pass in and out of consciousness, dreaming of home as he lay bleeding in a fox hole for nearly nine hours. he was 21 years old. decades on, we gather here in a world far different from the mountainous battlefield in 1945, but there's something that connects that past and present
wartime and peace then and now. the courage, the grit, the goodness, and the grace of second lieutenant named bob dole who became congressman dole. senator dole, statesman, husband, father, friend, colleague, and a word often overused but not here, a genuine hero, bob dole. dean a the clergy officiating today's service, president clinton, vice president harris, vice president pence and cheney and quail, speaker pelosi, leaders schumer, leader mcconnell, members of congress of both parties, past and present. members of the cabinet, general
milley, and leaders of our military, distinguished guests, most of all the dole family. elizabeth, it's been said that memory is the power to gather roads in the winter -- roses in the winter. bob left you 45 years worth of roses. all i've built, the love shared, it's going to guide you through the difficult days ahead. jill and i will always be there for you as many others in this church will be. as you and bob were always there for us in ways nobody knows. and robin, you carry your father's pride, grace, and character. he's always going to be with you. as the always saying goes, we irish say, you are your father's daughter. you are your father's daughter. bob dole's story is a very
american one. born and raised in the three-room house through the dust ball of the great depression. shipped out as a young man to world war ii, wounded in battle on the same weekend that franklin roosevelt was being mourned by millions. bob came home. we built his life, painful hour by painful day by painful week by painful month by painful year. he and danny who was wounded on the mountain not far from where he was. talk about the recovery they spent together for all those literally several years. it was astounding. god, what courage bob dole had.
he then went to school in the gi bill. came to washington with a new frontier. bravely voted for civil rights and voting rights in years of the kennedys, linden johnson, and martin luther king, junior. ran for president with gerald ford, and through the ages of nixon, carter, reagan, bush, the clintons, bob was literally the master of the senate. we served together for 25 years. we disagreed, but we were never disagreeable with one another. not one time that i can think of. i found bob to be a man of principle, pragmatism and enormous integrity. he came into the arena with
certain guiding principles that began with devotion to country, to fair play, to decency, to dignity, to honor. through literally attempting to find the common good. that's how i worked with george mcgovern, to fight hunger in america, particularly as it affected children and around the world. he'd work with teddy kennedy and tom hark ton bring down the barriers of americans living with disabilities. a profound change, a profound act of grace. he worked with daniel patrick moynihan to literally save social security because bob believed every american deserved to grow old with their basic dignity, basic dignity intact.
and over the opposition of many in his own party, and some in mine, he managed to build a federal holiday in the name of martin luther king junior. bob dole, bob dole did that. he never forgot where he came from, and i've never forgot what he said to our colleagues about the effort from the king holiday. and i'll quote. he said no first class democracy can treat people like second class citizens. no first class democracy can treat people like second class citizens. bob didn't hate government. he knew the people that needed it most were the people most in need. he wanted government to work, to
work for folks like him who came up the hard way, just give everybody a chance, joe. just a chance. during the depression bob's parents moved into the basement of their three-room, not three bedroom, but three-room home in russell, kansas so they could rent out the upstairs. bob understood hardship. he had known hardship. and he never forgot it. he never forgot the people as well who sent him to washington. people from russell and from kansas. bob was a man who always did his duty, who lived by a code of honor. almost seems strange to say that today, but he lived by a code of honor. and he meant it.
just as his colleagues, republican and democrat, look to him, i think they saw him the same way i did. just ask any who served with him at the time. bob dole fit my dad's description. he said you must be a man of your word. without your ma -- without your word you're not a man. bob dole was a man of his word. he loved this country which he served his whole life. the bible tells us to much whom is given, much is expected. and bob dole for all his hardship, believed he'd been given the greatest gift of all. he was an american. he was an american. and he felt it.
let's be honest. bob dole was always honest. sometimes to a fault. he once endured the wrath of his fellow republicans when there was a legitimate fight going onto defund amtrak. now, i've traveled over 1,200,000 miles on amtrak because i commuted every day. it came time for the deciding vote. the deciding vote on whether we were going to defund amtrak, and he cashed the vote against his party, deciding to keep funding amtrak. and obviously my guess, he was asked why. why would you do that? he said, it's the best way to get joe biden the hell out of here at night so he's home in the morning. excuse my language. true story.
absolutely true story. god, i loved the guy. he was always honest. but bob relished a good political fight as much as anybody i've ever served with in the 36 years i was in the senate, and bob gave his good or better than he got. he was a proud republican. he chaired his party. he led his caucus in the united states senate, and he bore the banner as the nominee for vice president and president of the united states. he could be partisan, and that was fine. americans have been partisan since jefferson and hamilton squared off in george washington's cabinet. but like them, bob dole was a patriot. he was a patriot. here's what his patriotism
teaches us in my view. as bob dole himself wrote at the end of his life, and i quote him. 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 so first and foremost as an american. end of quote. first and foremost as an american. that was bob dole. that was your husband. that was your dad. always as an american. he understood that we're all part of something much bigger than ourselves. he really did, i felt. he really understood it. and the compromise isn't a dirty word. it's the corner stone of
democracy. consensus is required in a democracy. to get anything done. it's how you get things done. again, listen to bob dole's words, not mine. when quoting him again. i learned that it's difficult to get anything done unless you can compromise. not your principles, but your willingness to see the other side. those who suggest the compromise is a sign of weakness misunderstood the fundamental of strength and democracy, end of quote. in his final days bob made it clear, he was deeply concerned about the threat to american democracy. not from foreign nations, but from the division, tearing us
apart from within, and this reminded us, and i quote, too many of us have sacrificed too much in defending freedom from foreign adversaries to allow our democracy to crumble in a state -- under a state of in-fighting that grows more unacceptable day by day. grows more unacceptable day by day. he wrote this when he knew his days were numbered. in small numbers. my fellow americans, taps is now sounding for this soldier of america. forged in war, tested by adversity, taps is now sounding for this patriot, driven by a sense of mission to give back to
the land that gave everything to him for which he nearly gave his all. taps is now sounding for this giant of our time and of all time. we're bidding this great american farewell, but we know as long as we keep his spirit alive, as long as we see each other not as enemies but as neighbors and colleagues, as long as we remember that we're here not to tear down but to build up, as long as we remember that, then taps will never sound for bob dole. bob will be with us always, cracking a joke, moving a bill,
finding common ground. in his final message to the nation, bob said that whenever he started a new journey, whenever he started a new journey, the first thing he would do, and i quote, is sit back and watch for a few days. then start standing up for what he thought was right. end of quote. bob was taking his final journey. he's sitting back watching us. now it's our job to start standing up for what's right for america. i salute you, my friend. your nation salutes you. and i believe the words of the poet rgingersoll when he
described heroism. it better fits you than anyone i know, and the following was written. when the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns a compromise with death, that is heroism. if flights of angels, things -- sing you to your rest, bob. god bless bob dole. god bless america. and may god protect our troops.
david eisenhower, are kansas's favorite sons, and they represent the vision and the promise of america. life in our in our state, bold ike, open prairies, wind, always the wind, wheat fields, agriculture, where a man is at the mercy of chance and weather but can still be confident in the dignity of his labor. bob's early life in russell, kansas, where the population hovered around 2,000, included the dust bowl and the great depression. bob characterized russell when addressing the russell high school graduating class of 1986.
he said, there's two kinds of education in this world. there's one where you give yourself and another you get from others. you can get an education on the farm, from a factory, in the science lab, on a church pew. most of all, if you're from russell, you can get an education just from looking at life around you. when i was a boy, i doubt we knew the names of our congressmen or senators. but we were blessed to have friends and neighbors, who knew and cared for one another. when times were tough, people were tougher. when the winds howled and part of the prairie was buried away,
i could barely see to deliver the newspapers on my paper route. because i came from russell, because i came from kansas, i was granteded a special vision, one which has seen me all the years since, one which you can rely on, just the same. and he defined this kansas vision by saying, my friends, i hope that you will never stop looking at the stars. i hope you will never forget our state motto -- to the stars through difficulties. i hope that you will never stop believing this things you cannot see. i hope that your future is as hospitable and beckoning as mine was when i stood on the seminar platform more than 40 years ago. i hope that in the making of life, for yourselves, you won't neglect serving your country.
most of all, i hope that wherever you go, and whatever you do, russell will go with you. and for them, i know that you will be well-guided. and well-guided he was, in obtaining his vision and providing the promise of america. when we lost bob on sunday, there was a pause throughout the state of kansas, as kansans from all walks of life stop to reflect. bob dole was a person who meant something to everyone, in the coffee shop, the campaign trail, the halls of congress. whether we were in topeka, abilene, or dodge city, i saw bob dole connect with kansans always on a personal level. he would share with them this
vision, this promise, and he would help them to achieve it, just like the folks in russell did in supporting him. now, as a young staffer and later a member of the house of representatives, following in senator dole's footsteps, i certainly understood bob dole's influence and power. on a thursday, in 1983, he would be fighting to protect social security with president reagan, senator moynihan, others, in the white house. and then, on saturday, he would be listening to felons in kansas, telling him what social security meant to her pocketbook. when he returned to washington with that empathy of his, knowing kansas, and knowing
velma, it enabled him to win the victories he did for the disabled, for veterans, for the hungry, or for any of the issues of the day that needed negotiation, steady compromise and the vision of america's promise. bob never lost his common sense and famous wit. it was embedded in his nature to deliver that punch line, deadpan, waiting for the light to come up, letting the air out of the partisan balloons. dole's manner and influence were so strong, that if i were for something, people thought bob was for something. and i never informed them or bob otherwise. while the work we did was serious, it was a different
time. there were lighthearted times, too. i would call up his chief of staff and say, where's my speech? and the scramble was off to get the leader's remarks. they eventually figured out it was roberts again. and i made sure that my staff didn't take calls from dole's office for the rest of the week. when his official public service came to an end, bob could have faded away, with his dear elizabeth, telling stories, remembering the good old days, but that was not his nature. there was still so much vision and promise, still so much he could do for his fellow veterans and for his nation. let everyone know, without bob dole, there would not be a world war ii memorial. bob also stressed at the time
that there should also be a memorial to ike, so that veterans could salute and thank their commanding general. that effort took 24 years. and again, with bob's help, we dedicated the eisenhower memorial last year. bob dole understood it was just not recognition that this greatest generation deserved. it was reflection and renewal. and it was for the greatest generation to inspire the next generation. there is no better display of division and promise of america than every weekend, when the honor fleiss would roll up to the memorial, kansas veterans, escorted by high school students, would visit their memorial, to reflect on their
fight, to preserve a free world. and there was bob, shaking every hand, posing for every picture, listening to all the stories and the thanks -- the thanks of a still grateful nation. when elizabeth told us he passed in his sleep, and we all knew that an era had come to an end, my first reaction was one of sadness and grief, losing a dear friend and mentor. then, thinking about it, i think the good lord touched bob's hand and told him it was time to come home, see his folks. there were quite a few world war ii veterans and some from korea and vietnam that were looking forward to thanking him, as well as folks who were disabled.
quite a few dog and cat lovers and quite a few folks from farm country, still upset about something. and a whole household of folks from kansas and all over, a lot of them republicans who said they voted for him and some democrats who say they should have. and then, he said, don't worry, bob. our heavenly gates are guarded by united states marines. so, thank you, lord, for enabling us to live in such a time and space that gave us the opportunity and privilege to know bob dole, a kansas star, who truly shined through difficulty.