tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN December 5, 2018 6:00am-7:00am PST
gift by george h.w. bush, bringing the nation together if only for this moment. >> cnn's special coverage begins right now. at the u.s. capital, a final salute to the 41st president of the united states is about to begin. this is cnn's special coverage of the state funeral of george herbert walker bush. we await an extraordinary moment of mourning and unity in a divided washington. right now president bush's flag draped casket is inside the u.s. capital. it will be carried down the capital steps soon, the first of many solemn rituals on this day.
we'll watch as the motorcade travel down pennsylvanianue passed the white house where bush 41 served as vice president and then president. and on to washington's national cathedral the bush family will join with u.s. and world leaders, friends and bitter rivaling to celebrate george herbert walker bush's 94 years of life and his legacy. jake, his service will be exactly as president bush would have wanted. >> that's right. he planned it for years. the president, who said that famously he wanted a kinder, gentler nation made sure in fact that the current commander in chief would be at his funeral, despite their considerable differences in both policy and personality. it is hard to overstate what a remarkable gathering we will see. president trump and first lady melania trump will join all four living former presidents. obviously george w. bush and his
family. we will also see barack and michelle obama, bill and hillary clinton, jimmy and rose carter. it will be the first time all of them have been together since the trump inauguration. for political junkys and the public, the body language should be fascinating. although, it is anticipated that differences will be set aside for this moment, especially for the moment when bush 43, george w. bush eulogizes his father and we expect this to be very emotional and personal for him. he's not going to be talking about necessarily moments of import beyond george h.w. bush, the family. >> yeah. this is understandably so very emotional. this is a son speaking about his dad. it will be powerful. let's get more on what we can expect. chris cuomo is over at the capital for us. they have new details on what we
will see and hear at this historic funeral. chris? >> reporter: this is historic on a lot of levels. with all these presidents and dignitaries here, the security is unusual here, unusual in its depth, its breadth, its timing. so that will be part of it today. we may see results today. and the memorializing of this president, which will take place in phases is going to start here, though, with this. you will hear from three different people today. john mechun, allen k. simpson and george bush. what are they going to say? jaime has more information for us about that. no easy task to eulogize a father. >> reporter: especially for his son and, remember, his favorite moment is when he spoke right after 9/11 right in this
cathedral and his father leaned over and touched his hand. i will been told that president bush's speech will be very emotional. it will not be about his father, the statesman. it will be about his father. i know people who have read the speech, and they could not get through it without crying. i think that's going to be a very moving moment. then we're going to hear from his biographer, from the former canadian prime minister who will talk about the statesman, the global leader. and finally, get ready, hold on. senator allen simpson, one of his dearest friends, who we all know is very funny. we may have some blue material. they loved to laugh, those two men. they loved to joke. i think he will go where no man has gone before in the
cathedral. >> for president 43, how do you deal with the pain of loss of a man who made you? when you're lucky enough to have a father like president george bush had in its own father, not just sharing names but sense of service and a formation of your core character. >> correct. >> to balance that pain of loss, the expression, a boy doesn't become a man until he loses his father, to balance that with letting you into that sense of humor, it will be hard because he's going to be trying to hold it together. i really don't believe any stage of life matters in a moment like this. it will be a really difficult thing. i think that's part of our processing, to see one president struggling with their emotions. >> no question. there is also one other very emotional moment. president bush loved music. he went to hamilton this summer. his favorite is going to be
singing one of the tenors, his favorite song, the last full measure of devotion. he asked him to come to see him his last day, friday, and sing silent night to him right before he passed way. >> wow, wow. and the other dynamic that is going to be impossible to keep our eyes off of is the trump dynamic, the fact that he is going to be in this cathedral with these former presidents watching and listening to somebody be eulogized and memorialized and celebrated who president trump, let's be honest, has spent the last two or three years attacking everything george bush held dear. when it comes to the un, the cia. >> points of light. >> not only his slogan, but his charity, and his children. you know, his children george w.
bush and of course jed bush, who was his rival. and, yet, what you have seen over the past two, three days and what we will see and hear is all of his offspring, all of the people who learned from him trying to channel him, trying to rise above it, trying to be better than that and trying to, you know, appeal to the greater good, appeal to the gentle side of the politics that is gone. and that contrast is going to be real, really phenomenal. and watching the way the bushes are going to try to do that, despite what you know is going on inside. >> right. >> what would 41 do is the mission this family has been given. >> right. >> and how they're going to behave with president trump. >> such a party loyalist. he said everything he needed to say when he said he was voting for hillary clinton. you know, that part of it was
taken up. i had a family member last night ask me to, you know -- ask me to promise that i would try to make this day in terms of reporting in a manner and perspective about remembering how things are done right. don't dwell on what's gone wrong. >> exactly. that's the whole point of 41 and his children having president trump here, having melania here, having that moment of the way it is supposed to be, a sitting president with former presidents, honoring and memorializing a late president. >> respect for the office. george herbert walker bush never went into the oval office without putting on a jacket. >> that's it. the man is the metaphor. a lot of people inside the cathedral here. let's bring it back to anderson there. anderson, we'll be watching here and letting you know who they see. but for now, to you. >> chris, thanks very much.
we just saw bob craft from the new england patriots entering the cathedral. we are seeing people get off busses. this is really the first state funeral since 2006. it is very rare to see an assemblage like this in this nation's capital. >> 12 years since we said farewell to an american president. we have had. the question is how long will it last. but we have had a remarkable show of bipartisan ship, respect for tradition, respect for history and respect for this president to his family and i believe we have smarter people than i at the table. and history is growing to appreciate even more. if you think back to those days, we live in an age now where every morning there are 10 or 12 tweets that disrupt this town.
when george h.w. bush was president, that's one of the things you see. people in talking about it, remembering those days. yes, he was only a one term president, but an incredibly consequential time. to see this, see the tributes, it is interesting. and he was a soft-spoken person, but he was very like everyone, having covered the george w. bush white house, i am riveted by that moment just because of the way they speak of their dad. not the president, but the way they speak of their dad and the family. and he will not be able to keep it together. >> seeing two former cia agents in attendance. >> this is also a convening of the president's club. and it's a club that's really strange because nobody asked the other person to join. they all kind of find themselves together in this club. and there is one, you know,
member that has been distant from the rest of the club. that is, of course, donald trump. but in doing what george h.w. bush did, which is inviting him in to this service, he has done in death what he did in life, which is to be a gracious human being. and the two men could not be more different. you know, one it was a disrupt t er, one was a conciliator. it will be interesting to see how donald trump reacts with the members of the president's club around him, most of whom he has not had conversations with at all since he has become president. >> it says a lot about george h.w. bush that he would want donald trump at his service. donald trump is probably antithet cal to everybody george bush lived by and believed in in terms of dedicating your life to
the service of others, which is what george h.w. bush from the time, you know, he went to -- he was in yale and he joined into world war ii. he didn't have to do that. his dad didn't want him to do it. yet, he went ahead and did it and was a hero. >> and the respect for the office of the presidency that he always knew and felt was bigger than himself. i mean, this president very often seems not to believe. you know, as i look at all of this, i think about dynasty and disrupti disruption. the bush political dynasty is what we're seeing before us. it is not only those people that worked in the government and the administration of president george h.w. bush, but also his son. he had a big influence on the bush 43 administration as well. and yet george h.w. bush, who cared about the presidency, who really cared about the niceties of politics and public service also is subject to a kind of
disruption. and of course that young upstart from arkansas, bill clinton, who represented a new democrat and a new generation of leadership. >> mary kate, you were a speech writer for the president from 1989 to 1992. it is kind of fascinating watching the assembly where all the people have come, all the people that stood in line to pay their respects. it does harken back to a different washington, to a different time in this country's history. it seems like, when he is reminded, just politics has always been rough and tumble and it certainly was with george h.w. bush. but in retro spect, it seems much more, i don't know the word, polite. even though it was rough then, by today's comparison, it seems
hardly so. >> you know, i speak to young people all the time about him. and if you're 25 years old or younger, you were born after he left office. and i have children that age. and most of them knew him as w.'s dad, i think. and really don't know much about him. i think young people can watch today and learn a tremendous amount, even though it wasn't that long ago. it seems like a different era to us, but to them we could all learn a lot. there is a great line from his inaugural address where the president said, i take as my guide the hope of a saint, which is st. augustine, even though he doesn't say that, in crucial things unity, in important things diversity, in all things generosity. i think that could be a theme for today. the unity he is inspiring right now. >> there is rudy giuliani as he
heads into the cathedral and obviously president trump will be arriving shortly as well for this service. we're going to take a short break. we're waiting for the historic reunion of all the living presidents, including president trump sitting next to the obamas and clintons. among the vips, president bush's medic who saved his life several times and was there right up until the end. he joins us live next. ♪
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everyone is getting ready for this extraordinary state funeral, this memorial service that is getting ready to begin. jake, the current president and all four living former presidents and a lot of special guests from here in the united states and around the world will be here. >> that's right. dignitaries and former world leaders as well as the four
former presidents and the current president. let's go to jaime now. she is with three special guests. they are individuals who were close advisers to former president george h.w. bush, who we are mourning today, including one adviser with him to the very end. >> the three men with me are personal aids who i think spent more time with him except for barbara bush. and did you ever get in trouble with him, the three of you? did you ever get the look over the glasses? >> if we did, we're not saying it. >> no comment. >> guys. >> there was never a doubt. you knew. >> evan, let me start with you. evan, you were his most recent personal aid. and one of the reasons you were picked was because you had a background as a paramedic, and you were the person who after barbara bush died, your
responsible for sully. >> talk to me about how important it was. >> elderly patients do really well if they have a sense of purpose with a dog in their life. that was a big drive for us. i also think honestly the dog was just as good for the family as it was for him. came with two pages full of tasks he was able to perform. but more than anything, i think it brought everybody together. it was something joyous in the room. >> he could do everything but make a martini. >> i couldn't get that right. i tried. >> on a more serious note, i know you would be too modest to say this, but you really were responsible for all the medical care day in and day out around him. you helped save his life several times. you were there the last day with him. talk to me about what that was
like. >> well, as a medical provider, i wouldn't want to go into too much specifics, especially medical care. but what i would say is he was surrounded by the people that loved him most in life, his family. the secretary and mrs. baker were there. he didn't have any quit. he fought his entire life and to see him, i think he became comfortable in the end. there is a story that secretary baker was saying that that's where i want to go. he was comfortable. he knew where he was going. he was surrounded by the best people. we would all be so lucky to have that to be the way to go out. you spent a lot of time with president bush traveling all over the world during what i would call the bill clinton buddy years. >> yeah. >> was the friendship as real as it seemed to be? >> absolutely. so they didn't have much
professional relationship before 2004, but after the horrible events of the stsumani in 2005, they raised hundreds of millions of dollars to do it. but bringing these two guys together was a message both in the u.s. and throughout the globe. we had some heads of state in southeast asia say to us what you two are doing we couldn't have done in our own country is impressive. they make you go out and see the destruction so you can come back and report on it and help raise the awareness. when they got on the plane, it was essentially air force 2 that they were using and there was one bedroom. so president bush of course gets out and says, president clinton, i want you to have this. and president clinton with great
deference says, i'm 20 years your junior. you are going to stay there. but president bush brings out a roll-up mattress, put it up in the hallway, put the blankets on there for him. and i think this was the start of this relationship. >> president bush once said to me, he talks a lot. and president clinton said, i think he thinks i talk too much. they were funny together. >> they constantly teased each other, but it was respectful. i think president clinton viewed it as somewhat of a fatherly figure. you know, he would reach out to him, personal things. but he would come up to me every summer and spend the night and go golfing or go for a boat ride. there was nothing on the agenda. it was, how is your family? how's life? that's how it was until this last summer, and it's always been. >> president clinton never missed an opportunity to say i
love george bush, and he really did. he really did. >> it was for real. >> go back in time for me a little bit more and talk to me a little bit about this staff, this secret service. you guys, you really did love him. i mean, the outpouring of emotion and loyalty has been quite something. >> absolutely. i mean, you know, i've had the opportunity to speak about president bush over the last couple of days, and i always tell the story that people would say to me how fortunate i was to get to work for a former president, and they were right. but where i was really fortunate is getting to work for one of the best human beings i know i will ever meet on this earth, someone who did the right thing ten out of ten times, who was humble and kind and brought everyone up that was around them. he was just a joyful person. and that transcended the attitude and culture of our office. loyalty is a two-way street, and george bush got loyalty from the people who worked for him
because he gave it. whether it was the staff, whether it was the secret service, whoever he came into contact with in life he demonstrated that and was a living example of it. >> i think you told me on the phone secret service agents have been calling former secret service agents who wanted to pay their own way to come and stand to wave. >> literally all of us have received messages where they said, how can i go? they don't live in d.c. or houston. >> they just want to be here and pay their respects. >> one of the agents wrote a piece i read online that was beautiful. this is why the secret service loves president bush and the bush family, and it gets into the detail i told you. whether it was rearranging family schedules so agents didn't have to be away from their families on holidays. or about the child of a secret service agent who was battling cancer.
as soon as he sees it, he says get him in here. just emotional. >> two words, very quick. best advise he ever gave you? >> to live by example. >> tommy? >> marry my wife. >> that's good! evan? >> can't sum it up in two words, but when i told him i was looking at med school, he said it would be good training. it would be a good resume builder. i didn't understand what he meant. it was keep on pushing. never settle where you're at in life. always keep going higher. this is a guy that became president in his 70s. >> he's just the greatest man, was the greatest man. >> you can't work for that man and not want to just become a better version of yourself. >> we were all lucky. >> thank you all for being here today. thank you. >> jake? >> thank you. jake, we're watching the invited guests arrive. so many friends, family members
we're continuing to watch as other mourners gather at the national cathedral here in washington. we're also standing by to see the bush family for the first time today. >> there is a lot of anticipation obviously for the moment when president trump enters the national cathedral. he will join four past presidents. one of whom george w. bush has had only cursory contacts. we'll have much more of our coverage ahead. stay with us. [beep] you should be mad your neighbor always wants to hang out. and you should be mad your smart fridge is unnecessarily complicated. but you're not mad, because you have e*trade which isn't complicated. their tools make trading quicker and simpler. so you can take on the markets with confidence. don't get mad. get e*trade and start trading today.
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coverage of the state funeral of george herbert walker bush. welcome also to our international viewers who are now joining us. you are looking at live pictures from inside the washington national cathedral where so many of the guests have already involved. >> as president trump gets ready to walk into that room and to attend the funeral service, he has been trying to set a tone for this day in a new tweet a short while ago, the president wrote, quote, looking forward to being with the bush family. this is not a funeral. this is a day of celebration for a great man who has lead a long and distinguished life. he will be missed. let's get more now from our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. jim, the president there obviously making an attempt, he or a staffer, to set a respectful tone for the day. >> reporter: absolutely, jake. i have been talking to some sources close to the white house. i talked to one source who said, you know, the bush family did an
incredibly gracious thing in inviting the president to these services this morning. it went a long way in establishing this truce between the bush and trump families and that's obviously going to foster what we're going to see as an incredible service honoring the late president. and the other thing that this source noted is the restraint that president trump has shown so far this morning. he has been tweeting about china this morning. hasn't been tweeting about the mueller investigation, as he was doing a couple of days ago that worried a lot of people here in washington, that he wasn't going to strike the right tone in all of this. but i talked to a source close to the president just a short while ago, jake, who said, you know, the president, it is in his heart to bury old grudges and while that may be in his heart and not done in practice very often, perhaps we're going to see that at least for this morning, for today, and that's obviously going to lend itself what will be a very moving
service honoring the late president. anderson? >> thanks very much. back now with our panel. i'm wondering just, as you see sort of the gathering of people, it really does remind one of a different time in washington and many of these people we haven't seen much of. it just seems like such a stark contrast to the way things are now. >> yeah. and it doesn't have to be. i'm hoping young people take from this is that politics today don't have to stay the way they are, and it wasn't that long ago that we saw people reaching across the aisle and getting landmark legislation through the congress together. and i think as you see today, it will unfold just how president bush did that. and it wasn't so much political gamesmanship or maneuvering. it was treating people with decency and respect no matter who they were in life. and from the queen of england to the guy mowing the lawn, and that, to me, is a key for young people to see that that was what
made him so successful. >> you tell a story about a guy who i had never heard about. it is sort of fascinating. it is kind of a window into the kind of person that george h.w. bush and barbara bush were. >> don was a 20-something campaign volunteer in the '60s on the senate campaign in texas. he was volunteering during the day for the bush campaign. he was a bit of a lost soul. he was an orphan. he was half deaf. mr. and mrs. bush took him in and employed him for the rest of his life. marvin said he was like a brother to me as they grow up. he was older than george w. but younger than the bushes. he was sort of their personal assistant. and don rhodes, there is all these funny stories about him.
and he exemplifies the president and mrs. bush's faith and how they lived their faith. he made a plaque for president bush that stayed on his desk for years that said preach the gospel at all times. use words then necessary. that embodies the way they treated him. if they said, who is don, they'd say -- >> and his ashes are actually -- >> yeah. after he died about five, ten years ago, the president and mrs. bush decided to spread his ashes on their grave site with them, not at don's request, at theirs. so tomorrow when we see president bush buries, everybody else has been saying he'll be joining robin and mrs. bush, but very few people know he will be joining don rhodes as well.
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here we are at the national cathedral. you see joe biden there with his wife. just some of the thousands that will be coming here today. we're told there are approximately 3,000 attendees that will be at the state funeral of president george herbert walker bush. this is such an important day for the family. of course, it is a funeral. it is a sad occasion, but such a full life. such a big and proud clan. his family has been coming in in waves. you will be seeing them on your screen. but there is so much to remember fondly. and in a moment for this nation, this is a reminder of a man of profound decency, and a man who led this country that way.
and you're going to hear that in different layers of eulogies today, and you are going to hear that from family members, that that's what they want this day to be about, the right way to lead. so i'm with jaime and dana bash. and of course the moment of the memorial of this particular funeral service will be when, and you see karl robe there on your screen coming in. there are many big shots coming in. you will see them on your screen. we will point them out when necessary. but a father eulogizing a son, i know it is historic. >> a son eulogizing a father. >> i know it is historic on many levels. john adams and john quincy adams were father and son. but not having the son eulogize the father has will happen today. but history aside, the emotion of a moment like that, the task of speaking about the man who
has meant the most to you in your life as a mentor and as a man and maker, the core of your person. and now president to president in front of this type of crowd, i'm not talking about as a political challenge. i'm saying as a personal challenge to balance all of these things, not easy. because this was real. there is nothing fake about the love between a father and son here. >> no question. i will tell you something that probably won't surprise you. he didn't want to give the eulo eulogy. he felt he would be too emotional. but the family came to him and said, you have to do it. one of the reasons it will be very hard is because in the days after 9/11 there was a service here and bush 43 spoke about it. and he said it was his favorite moment of his presidency between father and son. you will remember when he came down afterwards. his father leaned over, touched
his hand and we can show you the tape. >> one of the more very dramatic moments for me came on september the 14th at the national cathedral. it was a hard speech to give. i was speaking from a pulpit. i know i'm not going to look at it because i was fearleful of bursting out into tears and the country didn't need to see a weeping president. little did i know that dad had asked the clintons to move down so he could sit next to me and laura and mom. i felt his hand reach across laura and grab my arm. just a small gesture, but it meant a lot to me. you know, it was a powerful tonic. it was a very sweet moment of
fatherly love. see, that's the kind of guy he is. you know, it was not a calculated move. it was an emotional -- that's his definition of outward emotion at that point. but it meant -- it meant the world to me at that very moment. >> you know, the beautiful nature of it, the poignancy of it. but also, you know, this weird line that this family has to walk between the public and the private, you know, that the president 43 has to explain, oh, this wasn't orchestrated. we didn't think about it in advance. nobody has to live their life today. but that's about being presidential, living public and private emotions coming through. but i do believe, more than most, and this is a unique situation. this family has been uniquely blessed with opportunities to
serve, and they have taken them and made a lot of them. but it really does seem, dana, that they stand out as a tightly knit, authentic, loving group. >> and they loved their father. everybody loves their father. but this was so -- the bush men cry. and it was so emotional famously. i was with jed bush when he was running for president right before he announced in europe right before his father's birthday. and i asked him, i was doing an interview and i asked him. i just mentioned the words your dad, and he started to cry because of the reverence, because they all felt that hand come across and touch them literally and symbolically their whole lives. one other thing i want to say, of course, that is personal, but it is historic. the only other father/son presidential couple, if you will, were the adams. and in john mechu m's book, he
said that 41 used to jokingly call george w. bush quincy. because john quincy adams was the only other one to succeed his father in the presidency, which they were very well aware of the historic import of the fact that they both were president. >> now you have this reversal, right? my family went through something like this, where the central figure, my father had been a public servant and so much of his service reflected on the rest of us and our values. for my braother to eulogize his father, there is such a mixed sense of significance that, you know, george 43 owes 41 everything about who he is, what he achieved in his life. i heard you talk about this, jaime, that for president george herbert walker bush, he said nothing hurts more and nothing makes you feel better than
hearing about your own son. for all the political praise or any kind of criticism, that matters most. >> when the father was criticized, the son would blow up. when the son was criticized, it hurt the father. they were very, very close. i am told that no one will get through 43's eulogy today with a dry eye. >> right. and that's good. i hope that's true. it is, again, a family member said to me that today you see former vice president al kbogor there. this man deserved that kind of respect, not just as president. but we will be seeing members of the bush family soon. they leave blare house for the capital and begin what is clearly going to be an emotional day for a lot of people. again, that is a good thing. it is good to feel in moments like this. and there will be a lot of it, and we'll be back in a moment with our coverage. we are expec
international affairs. we will see the german chancellor angela merkel and one of the eulogizers will be prince charles in attendance. he was prince at the time of the bush presidency. one of the eulogizers will be the former prime minister of canada who worked very closely -- you see him listed second in the list of eulogizers along with president george w. bush. they will be talking about figuring out what quaswas next. >> we are looking at live pictures from over at the
washington national cathedracat before then the casket will be taken from the rotunda. there will be a presidential honor guard, u.s. military honor guard will escort the casket to the hearse to be driven to the national cathedral. >> i believe it will be a trunicated version of what we saw when his casket arrived on capitol hill a couple of days ago. obviously, this is a moment when americans and world leaders come together. >> the vice president mike pence has arrived with his wife, the second lady, karen pence. i think they are speaking with rudy giuliani -- is that rudy giuliani? no. it looks like him. the vice president is there. the current president will be there fairly soon together with the first lady. >> we should point out president trump has not spoken with presidents carter or clinton or
barack obama since taking office. he has spoken briefly with george w. bush around the kavanaugh hearing, kavanaugh having worked for george w. bush. he has had a word with his former opponent hillary clinton since she conceded and since the inauguruation in january of 2017. this is not just a gathering of the current president and four former presidents, it's also a time for the president to be in the same room as individuals, important viindividuals in this country, with whom he has not spoken in almost two years. >> bush 41 wanted everyone to be there and to feel comfortable and not get into the rancor which unfortunately so common here in washington today. >> very unusual because george h.w. bush and president trump were not -- there was tension between them. let's go to the capitol.
>> reporter: the crowd is starting to gather here as we await the family's arrival here. already the casket has been removed from the rotunda where he has been lying in state since monday. honor guards are now surrounding the casket. they will bring them down the capitol steps where the bush family will be gathering waiting for the casket to come down. at that point there will be a 21 gun salute as well as hymns. the casket will be put into the hearse and they will make their way on to the national cathedral. we expect the bush family to arrive here and wait for the casket's departures as members of congress are starting to head over to the national cathedral for the services in just a matter of moments. >> these are live pictures.
remember, the casket will be carried down those stairs very carefully into the hearse and then the motorcade will continue up to the washington national cathedral. they blocked off all the streets around the areas here in washington. security is clearly very intense with all of the former presidents and world leaders who have gathered. we will get to see the motorcade move from capitol hill. we will watch the brief ceremony that will take place first. let's go back to anderson. >> it was so moving to see just the thousands of people waiting in line to pay their respects to george h.w. bush. you saw a boy scout at one point or an eagle scout, a little boy saluting the casket. it looked like he was there with his little sister. it's not something you see every day in this country, but there
is a desire in the part of so many people to thank the former president, to kind of bear witness to his passing and to be part of history. >> and this is the pageantry of our national life. we are sitting here watching this and people who live around washington can go and see it in person. there are so many representatives of the whole country who are working and living in washington, people who work for the federal government who have been lining up to see the casket of the former president. they may have a memory of him when he was in government and they were in government, as well. i think about with airports around the country and tvs and schools that this is being broadcast. i think about the history of these moments whether it is inauguruations or other state events that we appreciate this public nature of our life, of our institutions and of our leaders and of an office that is really