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CNN Live Event/Special

The Funeral Of Senator Bob Dole. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired December 10, 2021 - 11:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: He did have a great sense of humor. And Nia, you spent a lot of time watching him unfold over the years and really speak out bluntly to the point that he was a real, real spokesman for so many important causes.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think, that's right. I met him when I was a page for Senator Strom Thurmond. And Senator Thurmond's office came to me and said, listen, you can meet any senator, you want to meet. And I, of course, wanted to meet Bob Dole. He's somebody who I watched as a political junkie in South Carolina.

John talks about his strength and his resilience. There was also a sense of humanity to him, you could see that through the television, he was very plain spoken in the way that he talked about politics, so much so that I could understand it as a young political junkie, and to see him grow, you know, through years run for president and win the nomination in 1996.

And you think about what he said in that speech, right? He talked about the values of the Republican Party being about inclusivity. And he said to the folks who were bigots and racists leave this convention hall if you don't believe in the values of Lincoln in this party. And that was a real moment for him. We've obviously seen an evolution in a different way for the Republican Party. And he, of course, endorsed Donald Trump, who didn't necessarily stand for those values.

But, you know, I'll never forget meeting him in his office, I, of course, put on my best blazer, and went to go meet him. And he was, you know, to me, the embodiment of power in Washington, but also someone who could connect with our trips.

BLITZER: Is that the blazer you're wearing?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But as I as somebody who covered me, he could be really steely to you. He could give you that glare. And a couple of words, when you wrote something didn't like. On the other hand, he could just flip it in a minute, and be incredibly funny. And, you know, I was talking to him about Clinton and losing the race to Clinton.

And he said, Well, I figured, you know, he could shake twice as many hands as I could. So that's why I lost because we all know he walked around with a black pen in his hand. So people wouldn't be confused about which hand they could shake. And he did hide, as you were saying, a lot of the physical infirmities he talked to me about later on, that he was having during the campaign.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR & CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And that was part of the respect thing.

BLITZER: Because he couldn't really shake hands with his right.

KING: So you did this to Senator Dole.

BLITZER: All the time we shook hands with our left. It's just the natural thing to do.

KING: And he took that as a sign -- he took that as a sign of respect, if it became natural to you, because he did not want it to be unnatural. He did not want people to feel uncomfortable around him. But he could not move his right hand that's why he kept that pen there. And so what if you did that to Senator Dole, he appreciated the gesture of respect.

He took it as a gesture of respect. And I remember after that campaign, because it just became so commonplace that you shook hands with your left hand that I would always smile after when I would start extending my left hand to somebody else and realize that I was not on the Dole plan anymore.

BORGER: It was a reminder. It was always a black sharpie wasn't it, black sharpie.

BLITZER: Yes, interesting. You see some of the people sitting next to each other. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are sitting next to each other, Gloria, but you know, who's sitting next to Chuck Schumer? Mitch McConnell.

BORGER: Well, there you go. They've been in conversations a lot lately. And they're actually had been working together on raising the debt limits. So they have been having conversations.

KING: The old Mitch McConnell was very much like Bob Dole. And what he what Mitch McConnell did on the debt limit was very much like a Bob Dole. I want to read your quote, this is when the day before Bob Dole announced in 1995, I asked him what values guide you when you have to make a tough decision? You look at it from straight politics, you get a good deal, something you can live with.

That was his greatest strength is cutting deals in the Senate. It was a great weakness as a presidential candidate, because people he would always -- he had a long rivalry with George H.W. Bush, but then he would adopt this language saying people want the vision thing. I don't have the vision thing. They say I don't have the vision thing. You know that's what Dole would say. And that's what George H.W. Bush said. They became friends. They were fierce rivals in the 70s 80s and early 90s.

But he was a dealmaker, and that, again, there are people out there watching who say, well, we don't want that, that art is lost in Washington, in part because in our polarized politics, it is but you see there Mitch McConnell talking to Chuck Schumer is viewed as blasphemy.

BLITZER: Tom Hanks is sitting there with Savannah Guthrie of NBC News. They're going to be speaking later at the World War II Memorial service. That's a -- they're going to be taking place. Suzanne Malveaux you're still over there at the Washington National Cathedral, walk us through the program that's about to begin.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the things that I want to highlight of course, the program we are expecting to hear from President Biden, who will be giving remarks as well as Senator Tom Daschle and Pat Roberts as well as his daughter of Robin Dole. But one of the highlights of the songs that will come almost at the very end before they proceed out of the cathedral, it is called "You'll Never Walk Alone." And this is from the musical 1945 musical carousel.

It is very important and meaningful to Bob Dole this was the song that played over and over and over again on repeat when he was in the hospitals for 39 months recovering, trying to get over those war wounds and holding on for dear life. And he needed something, he needed inspiration. He needed encouragement.

It was that song that he kept playing over and over to give him what he needed to move forward. And that is something that we will all be hearing together as a community, as a nation and really, as a world. That message of hope, and that you are never alone in moving forward. That is going to be one of the central themes today of this tribute. Wolf.


BLITZER: Yes, you're absolutely right. You know, Jamie, we're told that President Biden has now arrived over at the Washington National Cathedral. It's a pretty short drive from the White House up in Massachusetts Avenue to the Cathedral. We see Senator Amy Klobuchar sitting next to Ted Cruz. Interestingly enough, almost everyone seems to be wearing a mask, except for Senator Ted Cruz. I'm not seeing him wearing a mask. But the President wants to pay tribute to a great American.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And just to go back to something that Nia-Malika mentioned, he did endorsed Donald Trump. But he was talking I'm told to a very close friend, another politician from Kansas not so long ago, and he was really dismayed about where the Republican Party and the base was today. And he said, I couldn't get elected, I couldn't get through a primary today.

And also just to mention the rivalry with Bush 41, it was fierce. But late in life, it was a genuine friendship. They used to call each other, Bush 41 used to say he was his greatest partner. They bonded over the Americans with Disabilities Act. And the Bush family was really touched when Bush 41 was lying in state. There was that extraordinary picture where Bob Dole stood up to salute the casket. BLITZER: The President now and the first lady walking into this cathedral, I think, I mean, I can't see the shot. But I think the Vice President Kamala Harris is coming in as well. So this is a -- this was the program, Nia, is about to begin, and it will be very, very moving.

HENDERSON: It will be. And it's a moment for the nation to reflect on a hero, someone who served his country not only in politics, but also on the battlefield as well, suffered personally, of course, with that injury that he was in pain for, for much of his life, but use that to do great good for such a broad segment of Americans.

BORGER: You know, Biden is known as the eulogizer-in-chief, because he's done so many of these for his former colleagues, I believe he served 36 years in the Congress, and I think Dole served 35 years in the Congress. And in many ways, they're cut from the same cloth because they've always been looking for compromise. And I, you know, Dole always used to tell his staff or ask him, what was the last time that losing ever worked in your best interest? So, and he said, never give up. And I think that is something the President now abides by.

BLITZER: And there we see Senator Dole, John, walking in, the widow.

KING: Labor Secretary in the first Bush administration. Again, that's part of the outreach, if you will later in life. Jamie Gangel talked about two men who were fierce rivals who came to understand each other and move on. A Senator then from North Carolina at Senator Dole side, presidential candidate herself briefly, later in life as well. Fiercely loyal to him.

A power couple, a very power couple here in Washington. But sad, sad, you see her and then Robin Dole, obviously in behind, the Senator's daughter from his first wife, who worries right very private, Suzanne made this point, very private, she's not a very public person, rarely would come out on the campaign trail, but when she did, she always had great stories.

BLITZER: And we will be hearing from Robin shortly. She'll be making a presentation, some thoughts about her dad, as well. You know, Gloria, we're about to pause and watch all of this unfold. But give us a final thought because you spend a lot of quality time with this great man.

BORGER: Well, I think he would be honored to have so many leaders of the body in which he served appearing here today, so many members of Congress. I think he would love it. The Bill Clinton was there, the man who beat him, and man he became friends with.


BLITZER: Yes, very moving. All right, let's watch.



REV. MICHAEL CURRY, PRESIDING BISHOP AND PRIMATE, THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH: I am resurrection, and I am life says the Lord. Whoever has faith in me shall have life, even 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 then at the last, he will stand upon the earth.

After my awakening, 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 those who die in the Lord, so it is says the spirit for they rest from their labors.


REV. RANDOLPH HOLLERITH, DEAN, WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL: Good morning my name is Randy Hollerith and I'm the Dean of Washington National Cathedral. On behalf of Mariann Budde, the Bishop of the Diocese of Washington and Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, welcome.

Welcome to this 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, Colin Powell. We have indeed seen too much loss in recent days.


To Elizabeth, Robin, and the entire Dole family please know that this cathedral and this nation, grieves with you and you're in our prayers. Bob Dole was one of the greatest of the greatest generation, a 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 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 and pain are no more, where there is only life everlasting. This then isn't goodbye, because in God's story, death, never has the last word. For now, it is enough to say on behalf of a grateful nation, well done, good and faithful servant. Well done. Thank you.



REV. MARIANN BUDDE, BISHOP, EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF WASHINGTON: The Lord be with you. And also with you, let us pray. Oh God whose mercies cannot be numbered, except our prayers on behalf of your 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.

PIA PYLE, SERVED AS SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO BOB DOLE IN SENATE: A reading from the prophet 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 youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall. But those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. The word of the Lord.

CROWD: Thanks be to God.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Reverend Clergy, distinguished guests, among the many memories from 50 years of friendship, who's one that especially captures 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 in Normandy. We started in Italy, Anzio. Much has been written about his time in Anzio, but to be there with him felt significantly different. He was on a mission in the mountains. Nazi gunfire and mortar fire was stick. Man was dying, men were dying, facing the hail of bullets, Second Lieutenant Robert Joseph Dole hurled a grenade into an empty gun nest.


He was trying to help a fallen comrade, his platoon radioman when everything changed and I mean everything changed.