John McCain Funeral: Obama, Bush Give Eulogies At Washington Funeral
WASHINGTON (CBSNews) — A memorial service for Sen. John McCain took place in Washington Saturday (Sept. 1). Former President George W. Bush and former President Barack Obama gave eulogies at the service at the Washington National Cathedral. Both men defeated McCain in his two campaigns to become president, in 2000 and 2008. President Trump is not attending.
The service began at around 10:00 a.m. and ended shortly after 12:30 p.m. ET.
The “maverick” senator was previously honored at a memorial ceremony in his home state of Arizona Thursday, where he was eulogized by friend and luminaries such as former Vice President Joe Biden. Thousands of citizens paid respect as he lay in state at the Arizona Capitol.
Then on Friday, McCain lay in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, where top elected officials paid their respects. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence all gave remarks honoring McCain at a morning ceremony. The public had the opportunity to pay respects on Friday afternoon.
McCain will be buried with military honors following a private service at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sunday.
McCain memorial service ends
The memorial service for McCain ended around two and a half hours after it began at 12:30. A military guard escorted his casket out of cathedral.
Renee Fleming sings “Danny Boy”
Famed opera singer Renee Fleming sang “Danny Boy” at McCain’s funeral. McCain requested that the song be performed at his funeral because he often listened to it while sitting on his porch in Arizona as he battled brain cancer.
Fleming, who is currently starring in “Carousel” on Broadway, and took the day off from the show to perform at McCain’s funeral, per CNN.
Kelly Ayotte, Sidney McCain, Lindsay Graham read scripture passage
Former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte read from the Book of Wisdom during the service.
“The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace,” Ayotte read.
McCain’s eldest daughter, Sidney, also read a scripture passage from 2 Corinthians.
“So we are always con dent; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord–for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord,” McCain read.
Sen. Lindsay Graham read the final Bible passage of the service.
“Jesus said, “This is is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,”” Graham read.
Obama gives eulogy to McCain
Former President Barack Obama followed Mr. Bush in offering a tribute to McCain.
“We come to celebrate an extraordinary man: a warrior, a statesman, a patriot,” Mr. Obama said.
He referred to his former competition against McCain during the presidential election of 2008.
“He made us better presidents, just as he made the Senate better, just as he made the country better,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Obama talked about how he was surprised but honored to be invited by McCain to speak at his funeral, saying it showed his contrarian and mischievous streak and his “largeness of spirit.
“After all, what better way to get a last laugh than to get George and I say nice things about him to a national audience,” Mr. Obama joked, to laughter. “But for all our differences, for all the time we sparred, I never tried to hide – and I think John came to understand – the longstanding admiration that I had for him.”
Mr. Obama discussed McCain’s commitment to service, and how that inspired others to be better.
“He did understand that some principles transcend politics, that some values transcend party,” Mr. Obama said. Mr. Obama also gave an implicit rebuke to Mr. Trump, who has been criticized for his breaking of political norms, saying that McCain understood that “those institutions, those rules, those norms are what bind us together.”
Mr. Obama said McCain held the belief that citizenship was “based not on our bloodline, not what we look like or what our last names are, or where our parents and grandparents came from, or how recently they arrived.” He also referred to when McCain defended him during the 2008 campaign. “He saw himself as defending America’s character, not just mine,” Mr. Obama said.
He discussed unpublicized private meetings he and McCain would occasionally have at the White House during Mr. Obama’s presidency.
“Our disagreements didn’t go away during these private conversations. Those were real and they were often deep. But we enjoyed the time we shared away from the bright lights, and we laughed with each other, and we learned from each other,” Mr. Obama said. “We never doubted we were on the same team.”
Mr. Obama compared McCain to Teddy Roosevelt’s “man in the arena” speech, describing a man who always fought to be and do better.
“So much of life, our public life, our public discourse, can seem small, and mean, and petty,” Mr. Obama said in another veiled criticism of the Trump administration. “It’s a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but in fact is born in fear. John called on us to be bigger than that.”
“May God bless John McCain. May God bless this country he served so well,” Mr. Obama said at the close of his speech. Like Mr. Bush, he was embraced by Cindy McCain at the end of his tribute.
Bush delivers tribute to McCain
Former President George W. Bush spoke at McCain’s funeral after a performance of “Amazing Grace” by the United States Naval Academy Glee Club. Mr. Bush famously defeated McCain in the Republican primaries in the 2000 election.
“Some lives are so vivid, it’s difficult to imagine them ended,” Mr. Bush said about McCain. “His absence is tangible like the silence after a mighty roar.”
Mr. Bush alluded to his former rivalry with McCain.
“Back in the day, he could frustrate me. And I know he’d say the same about me. But he made me better,” Mr. Bush said. He said the rivalry melted into friendship.
Mr. Bush also contrasted McCain with current leaders in the country and across the world.
“Perhaps above all, John detested the abuse of power. He could not abide bigots and swaggering despots,” Mr. Bush said. “To the face of those in authority, John McCain would insist ‘we are better than this. America is better than this.'”
“The world is smaller for his departure,” Mr. Bush said, adding that America will remember him as “unwavering, undimmed, unequaled.”
Henry Kissinger speaks at McCain’s funeral
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger spoke at McCain’s funeral, offering the late senator up as a paragon of how America should conduct its foreign affairs.
“Our country has had the good fortune that at times of national trial a few great personalities have emerged,” Kissinger said. “John McCain was one of those gifts of destiny.”
Kissinger is a controversial figure who was critical in shaping America’s foreign policy in the Vietnam War during the Nixon administration.
“He was an engaged warrior, fighting for his causes with ebullience, with courage, and with humility,” Kissinger said at the memorial service. “John was all about hope.”
Joseph Lieberman gives tribute to McCain
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a close friend of McCain, was the second speaker to eulogize McCain. Although Lieberman was a Democrat, and the running mate of Al Gore in 2000, McCain reportedly considered him as a running mate in 2008.
Lieberman decried the “tribal politics” that have “recently characterized our life,” but said that the “last great gift that John McCain gave to America” was reminding Americans of values such as service to one’s nation.
Lieberman, one of the so-called “three amigos” of the Senate including McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, talked about his friendship with the senator.
“In all the times we were together, I never heard him say a bigoted word about anyone,” Lieberman said. He referred to a moment in the 2008 campaign when McCain defended Obama against accusations from a voter that the Democrat was an Arab and not a good man.
Lieberman also talked about McCain’s respect for Lieberman’s Jewish faith and practices, saying it was an example of McCain’s tolerance and acceptance of all people who differed from him. Lieberman also characterized McCain’s efforts to normalize U.S. relations with Vietnam as an “extraordinary act of personal forgiveness.”
“The name John McCain, based on the action of the man John McCain, had become a source of hope and inspiration for the oppressed across the world,” McCain said about McCain’s reputation around the world.
Meghan McCain gives tribute to her father
Meghan McCain, a co-host of “The View” on ABC, was the first speaker to give tribute at McCain’s service.
“I am here before you today to say the words I have never wanted to say,” McCain said about her father’s death. “We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness.”
McCain also made veiled references to President Trump, denouncing the “cheap rhetoric” characterizing politics today, and referring to men who avoided service in the Vietnam War. Mr. Trump had five deferments from serving in the war.
However, most of McCain’s tribute was in honor of her father’s parenting.
“The best of John McCain, the greatest of his titles, and the most important of his roles was as a father,” McCain said. “John McCain was defined by love.”
She discussed her parents’ relationship, as well as relationships among her family. She told a story of when he encouraged her to get back on a horse after an injury, and how that inspired her to keep going. McCain also discussed the lessons from her father’s suffering.
“My father knew pain and suffering with an intimacy and an immediacy that most of us are blessed never to have endured,” McCain said. “Yet he survived, yet he endured, yet he triumphed.”
She described “the America of John McCain” as the America of the Revolution, Abraham Lincoln and members of the armed services.
“The America of John McCain is generous, welcoming and bold,” she said. She took another shot at Mr. Trump: “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was always great.” The audience reacted with applause.
“My father is gone, and my sorrow is immense, but I know his life was great because it was good,” McCain said toward the end of her tribute.
McCain funeral begins
Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, received McCain’s casket with a prayer. The casket was then escorted into the cathedral.
The family processed into the cathedral at around 10:00 a.m.
McCain motorcade arrives at the National Cathedral
The motorcade carrying McCain’s casket arrived at the Washington National Cathedral shortly before 9:30 a.m.
The McCain family arrived at around 9:40 a.m. McCain’s casket was escorted by a military honor guard.
McCain family arrives at the Vietnam Memorial
Cindy McCain and McCain’s children arrived at the Vietnam Memorial, escorted by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Cindy McCain laid a wreath in front of the memorial with the McCain children looking on. The family then departed for the Washington National Cathedral, where the funeral service is occurring.
McCain regularly visited the Vietnam Memorial quietly and with little fanfare to reflect on the war. The senator also helped to restore relations with Vietnam by visiting the sites of his former captivity in the country.
“John McCain, through forgiveness, accomplished what we were unable to do with all our weapons of war,” CBS News’ Bob Schieffer said.
McCain’s casket is escorted from the Capitol
McCain’s casket was escorted from the Capitol shortly after 8:30 a.m.
The motorcade carrying McCain’s remains is on its way to the Vietnam Memorial for Cindy McCain and the McCain family to pay respects to the soldiers who died in the Vietnam War.
John Dickerson remembers McCain
“CBS This Morning” co-host John Dickerson spoke about McCain’s legacy on CBSN this morning. Dickerson covered McCain during the 2000 campaign, when the senator held court with his reporters on his campaign bus nicknamed the “Straight Talk Express.”
“It was one rolling conversation,” Dickerson said about the discussions McCain had with reporters on the campaign bus.
Dickerson also talked about McCain’s capacity to admit to his mistakes. Although he voted against making Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday in 1983, he later apologized for that position in the 2008 campaign.
“He believed in standards of personal conduct and also institutional conduct,” Dickerson said.
McCain family honors veterans at the Vietnam Memorial
On its way from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington National Cathedral, the motorcade carrying McCain’s remains is stopping at the Vietnam Memorial. McCain’s wife, Cindy, is placing a wreath at the memorial in honor of all who died in the Vietnam War.
McCain served as a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War, and was captured and held as a prisoner of war in Hanoi for five and a half years during the conflict.
Tributes from former rivals
McCain’s funeral is in many ways a tribute to the senator’s belief in the power of bipartisanship.
McCain is being eulogized by two of his former rivals for the presidency, Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush.
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent, was Vice President Al Gore’s running mate in the 2000 campaign. McCain considered Lieberman as a running mate himself in 2008 before settling on Sarah Palin, who is not attending the service.
Several Democrats who served with McCain in the Senate also have roles in the ceremony, including Biden, Whitehouse, Feingold and Hart.
McCain’s funeral, in its very composition, is a call for unity in American politics over common values.
Speakers at service include family, top political officials
Several members of McCain’s family are speaking at his funeral in Washington. The program includes McCain’s daughter, Meghan, giving a tribute to her father, his son Jimmy reading a poem, and another daughter, Sidney, reading a Bible passage.
Other speakers include prominent public officials such as Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, as well as former Sen. Joe Lieberman and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. McCain’s longtime friend in the Senate, South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, is reading a Bible passage.
The two former presidents will hold in a room before entering the nave together.
Pallbearers include Biden, actor Warren Beatty, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, and former Senators Russ Feingold, Phil Gramm and Gary Hart. Another pallbearer is Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza.
Some interpret the inclusion of Kara-Murza as a posthumous message from McCain to Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump. McCain criticized Mr. Trump for being too friendly with Putin amid the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.