Hillary shares favorite memories of McCain

Hillary Clinton sits down with CNN's Dana Bash to share her favorite memories of Sen. John McCain.

Posted: Aug 27, 2018 2:58 PM
Updated: Aug 27, 2018 3:31 PM

As the nation mourns the death of Sen. John McCain, friends and colleagues of the Arizona Republican are remembering the life of the man who made a lasting impact on so many.

McCain died Saturday, one day after his family announced he had chosen to stop treatment for the brain cancer he had been battling for more than a year.

His death prompted an outpouring of reminiscences, including lighthearted stories from even his sometime political foes, with many calling him a patriot as well as a politician who will be remembered for his integrity.

'An emotional thing for John'

Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole, a veteran like McCain who served for more than a decade in the Senate as majority leader, shared his favorite memory of McCain with anchor Ana Cabrera on "CNN Newsroom."

"I wore John's POW bracelet for a number of years," Dole said. "And one day in the Senate, I decided to let John know, and so we got off in a corner, and I extended my arm, and on my wrist was a John McCain POW bracelet. It was kind of an emotional thing for John."

McCain was a prisoner of war for more than five years after his plane was shot down in North Vietnam. The injuries he sustained in the war left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his shoulders.

"He was my friend," Dole said. "And, you know, what do you say about a man like John McCain?"

Funny in the 'weirdest' ways

McCain's longtime friend, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, recalled McCain's humor in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash.

"You know, he is funny in the weirdest kind of ways," Graham said. "You know, I'm not a big reader. He is. But I might as well be because he reads the entire book to me."

When asked to clarify if McCain would actually read the books out loud, the South Carolina senator replied: "Yes, reads it loud. ... You know, 'What you do think about that?' I said, 'Well, I think if I liked that book I would have bought it.' But John has a very sarcastic sense of humor that took him through some pretty dark times, but he's a funny guy."

"You know, he can be tough," Graham added. "He is a politician like the rest of us. But the one thing I always believed about John, if I really needed him, he would be there. When he joins the fight, he sticks to the bitter end. There is no changing sides."

'Don't back down'

McCain's fellow Republican senator from Arizona, Jeff Flake, shared advice McCain gave him after Flake was elected to the House and was being criticized in his home state for his stances on reducing spending and earmarks.

Flake recalled the two traveling back to Arizona together, when McCain approached Flake with "a stern look on his face."

"I was like, 'What'd I do? What'd I do?'" Flake said. "And he put his finger in my chest and said, 'Don't back down.' He said, 'Don't back down, you're in the right, they'll come around. They'll come around. Stick to it.' And that was ... really nice of him to do. And I did stick to it. And they came around."

'This joy for his work'

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said McCain's love for his country was "unmatched."

"While he never made it to the presidency, in the Senate he was the leader that would see a hot spot in the world and decide we need to go there and stand up for that democracy," Klobuchar said.

She added: "He went every place -- every place that no one else would go -- to stand up for America, and in that way, he was a leader like no other. But I think part of the moment that people don't always realize about him was just this humor he had, this joy for his work, and that's anyone that worked with him experienced that. So, yes, it's about patriotism, but it's also about personal friendship."

'Doing vodka shots'

Hillary Clinton recalled stories of her and McCain's travels together -- including one time when the two drank vodka shots together.

"Well, our most famous experience with vodka shots was in Tallinn, Estonia, and of course we were there because John understood that Estonia was right on the front lines with Russia, and although we all hope that Russia would be a good partner, we had reason to be concerned," Clinton told Bash. "So we spent a memorable night in a hotel right on the old square in Tallinn doing vodka shots."

When asked whose idea that was, Clinton said it was "a mutually agreed-upon venture."

"We used to say what happens in Tallinn stays in Tallinn," she said.

Devil horn 'revenge'

Members of the media also shared their memories of their interactions with Arizona's senior senator.

CNN's Manu Raju tweeted about an instance when McCain's humor shined; while Raju was on live television, McCain came up behind him and gave him horns with his fingers, later calling it "revenge" in a Twitter post.

"McCain loved this moment when he gave me the devil horns on live TV - he especially loved his tweet about this episode, which he said may have been his most retweeted tweet," Raju wrote on Twitter.

'A chasm in the public square'

CNN's Jake Tapper, who covered McCain for many years, also reflected on the senator and Vietnam War veteran's life on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Unlike other politicians who never admit error or even imperfection, McCain was all too aware of his and was usually the first to raise them. And yet, there was always, with the senator, standing there, defiant, the reality of his past, of what he did as a prisoner of war," Tapper said, a reference to McCain's refusal to be released by his North Vietnamese captors unless the soldiers taken captive before him also were freed.

"[A]nd as we say goodbye to Senator McCain this week, many of us feel as if we have lost something other than just a man," Tapper said. "That may be not only because he tried to encourage us all to serve a cause greater than ourselves, it may be because he never stopped trying to be a better man. He never stopped trying to become the man he wanted to be. 'We're all afraid of something ...' McCain wrote in his book 'Why Courage Matters.' 'Don't let the sensation of fear convince you that you're too weak to have courage. Fear is the opportunity for courage, not proof of cowardice. No one is born a coward. We were meant to love. And we were meant to have the courage for it. So be brave. The rest is easy.'

"We're in an era right now of lies and indecency, of tribalism and nastiness, and in this era, we lost someone who tried -- tried -- to embody the opposite of those vicious impulses," Tapper said. "His loss leaves a chasm in the public square."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32888

Reported Deaths: 1188
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds259141
DeSoto172418
Madison132635
Jones114049
Neshoba100473
Rankin98213
Harrison96911
Lauderdale92280
Forrest91643
Scott77915
Jackson68917
Copiah62015
Washington61710
Leake58919
Lee56220
Holmes56041
Oktibbeha55227
Wayne54515
Warren53218
Yazoo5236
Lowndes50913
Grenada5067
Leflore50053
Lamar4917
Lincoln48434
Pike45416
Monroe42534
Sunflower4208
Lafayette4094
Covington3755
Attala36523
Panola3646
Bolivar35618
Newton3479
Simpson3453
Adams31518
Tate31011
Pontotoc3046
Marion30012
Chickasaw28719
Claiborne28410
Winston2808
Noxubee2728
Jasper2676
Pearl River26532
Marshall2583
Clay24911
Smith22911
Union21810
Clarke21025
Coahoma2056
Walthall2056
Lawrence1872
Yalobusha1807
Kemper17914
Carroll16811
Humphreys1569
Tallahatchie1454
Calhoun1414
Montgomery1392
Tippah13811
Itawamba1378
Hancock13413
Webster12711
Jefferson Davis1134
Tunica1133
Jefferson1103
Prentiss1103
Greene1059
Amite1043
Wilkinson939
George913
Tishomingo891
Quitman811
Choctaw754
Alcorn742
Perry724
Stone692
Franklin452
Benton420
Sharkey370
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 46424

Reported Deaths: 1032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5486155
Montgomery4246105
Mobile4219136
Tuscaloosa234644
Marshall177011
Madison15548
Lee143337
Shelby135724
Morgan11285
Walker98525
Baldwin9809
Elmore96215
Dallas9109
Franklin90216
Etowah79013
DeKalb7615
Chambers64327
Autauga63612
Butler63228
Tallapoosa60469
Russell5680
Unassigned52226
Limestone5181
Houston5106
Lauderdale5016
Lowndes47821
Cullman4705
Pike4525
Colbert4266
St. Clair4162
Escambia4118
Calhoun3875
Coffee3863
Covington3727
Bullock36810
Barbour3572
Talladega3237
Marengo31711
Hale31521
Dale3020
Jackson3022
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Clarke2836
Winston2663
Chilton2622
Blount2511
Monroe2412
Pickens2386
Marion23613
Conecuh2177
Randolph2169
Macon1999
Choctaw19712
Bibb1961
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1187
Lawrence1090
Cherokee1037
Geneva840
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne391
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Overcast
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 78°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather