tv Lawmakers Pay Tribute to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid CSPAN December 24, 2016 9:40pm-11:55pm EST
president obama signed into law the most significant mental health reform in 50 years. with this new law, we are finally breaking down the wall between physical health and mental health. now federal agencies will be moving from vague feel-good programs to ones that emphasize evidence-based care for those at the highest risk. for the first time, there will be an assistant secretary for mental health and substance use who will lead the way, evaluating and improving the system. we'll be investing in services for the most difficult-to-treat cases and ensuring that family members are a part of the care delivery team. we'll be training people to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness, including law enforcement officers for how to best respond to a potentially violent situation. we'll be providing real resources to combat substance abuse, and specifically for the opioid crisis.
we'll be addressing, head on, the number 10 killer in our nationsuicide, which disproportionately affects our veterans -- and for the first time ever, congress is stepping in to help those with an eating disorder get access to real medical care. and we'll be expanding our mental health workforce, because today, half the counties in america do not have a single psychologist or psychiatrist. one bill won't solve everything, but these desperately needed reforms will bring help. and where there is help, there is hope. to the sandy hook families and all those who made this possible, who gave their time and took a stand, thank you. to anyone out there struggling, looking for answers, know that you are not alone. we are with you. we are fighting for you. although many doubted we would make it this far, here we are. and in a new year, with a new administration, we will keep working to get real treatment to those who need it.
this is what christmas is all about -- peace, goodwill, and above all, love. so god bless our caregivers, our doctors, our nurses. and god bless our troops, their families, and the nation they serve. and god bless the united states of america. announcer: this weekend on newsmakers, our guest is lee saunders who heads the administration of state, county, and municipal employees. he talks about donald trump's choice for labor leaders. he talks about the influence of the unions. watch the interview sunday at 10:00 a.m. and six caught him eastern here on c-span. ♪ announcer: the presidential inauguration of donald trump is 20.ay, january
c-span will have live coverage of all of the days events in ceremonies. c-span andon c-span.org and listen live at using the free c-span radio. ♪ announcer: earlier this month, hillary clinton and vice president joe biden joined congressional leaders to pay tribute to senator harry reid who is leaving congress. and included the official unveiling of a portrait of senator harry reid that will hang in the u.s.. this is just under two hours.
everyday the vice president and secretary clinton come to visit us at the capital, but it's not every day that a democratic leader gets to show us how he looks on canvas. i know our guests wouldn't miss it. i know landra and the rest of the reid family won't miss this moment either. it's great to see all of you here. you will hear some tributes to harry's service shortly. i offered my own on the senate floor earlier today. one of the stories i told was about landra and harry's first date. he promised her a movie, she wound up push-starting his car. [laughter]
sen. mcconnell: but unlike most teenagers, she didn't storm off or complain. she reassured harry instead with a warm smile. harry said that smile changed him. he said that stuck with him through the decades and so has landra. they have been by each other's side through the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs, the political scares, health scares, they have seen it all. but we haven't. but we haven't, we still haven't seen harry in two dimensions. [laughter] sen. mcconnell: i'm sure you are all curious to see what lies behind that curtain. is it harry sitting in his office? is it harry leaning on cactus? [laughter]
sen. mcconnell: is it harry high-fiving bryce harper? [laughter] sen. mcconnell: we will find out soon enough as soon as the vice president finishes his remarks. [laughter] sen. mcconnell: actually you may be here for awhile. [laughter] sen. mcconnell: in any case, let we welcome everyone. congratulations, harry. now on with the show. [applause] rep. pelosi: good afternoon everyone. thank you leader mcconnell for your hospitality and your kind words about our special guest. the presence of such honored guests is a potent testimony to the towering leadership of harry reid. vice president joe biden, president of the senate and most beloved vice president in our history, and i mean that sincerely. [applause] rep. pelosi: secretary and senator hillary clinton. [applause]
[cheers] rep. pelosi: thank you for your immeasurable contributions and leadership to our country. senator chuck schumer and outstanding leader in his own right, who will build on senator harry reid's legacy. [applause] rep. pelosi: when i first learned of the ceremony i thought there would only be one musical accompaniment worthy of harry reid's life. copeland's "fanfare for the
common man." of course, harry reid unique in washington for another reason, harry reid doesn't like listening to other people [applause] rep. pelosi: it is really a miracle that we have persuaded him to sit through all of us saying how wonderful he is. harry, in case you are tempted to walk out from all of this praise, we have asked the sergeant at arms to bar the door. [laughter] rep. pelosi: it has been my privilege to work side-by-side
with harry reid for more than a decade. to observe harry is to observe a master at work. his commitment to his values and his respect also for his colleagues. harry had many occasion to evaluate the leadership and the courage of our colleagues as we ventured one fray or another. all of my years working with harry as leader he always spoke in the most glowing, respectful and understanding way about all of the senators, and republican senators as well. very respectful of everyone's point of view, the constituents they represented. never, never anything but the finest word. his respect for them was reciprocated in his repeated election as leader and here we are. in every battle, in every bill,
he has -- anyone who has worked side-by-side with harry reid would say that he has been unparalleled. his leadership on the floor, his mastery of the senate rules, his command and the respect that he has on both sides of the aisle, on both sides of the capitol, and we know up and down pennsylvania avenue. today, we will unveil a portrait of one of the greatest leaders the senate has ever known. indeed, it's hard to imagine, with all due respect, that we will ever see his likes again. to his family, he talked about you all of the time. landra and the children and the grandchildren. he was here because if this biography, from searchlight, to capitol police officer, to senate majority leader.
he was here because of his values. he was here because of his family and his strength that they gave him. to his family think everyone in this room can say we heard about you and we know the love that he has had for you and we hope you will always know how respected your grandfather, your father and landra, the joy of his life, your husband thank you for sharing harry reid with our country. we are all in your debt. thank you. thank you very much. [applause]
[applause] sec. clinton: thank you. thank you very much. thank you all. thank you. thank you. thank you very much. this is not exactly a speech at the capital i had hoped to be giving after the election, but after a few weeks of taking selfies in the woods i thought it would be a good idea to come out, and i am very grateful to harry for inviting me to be part of this celebration. as we celebrate a great leader and senator, and yes, a great american. i just want to pause for a moment and mark the passing of one of our great americans as well. senator john glenn, a friend to many of us and a genuine american hero passed away today. and i know the tributes will be flowing.
i'm sure the congressional record will be filled with pages of appreciation and recognition of this extraordinary american's life. it is fitting that we are here in the kennedy caucus room, which has seen so much history. harry got his start in politics organizing for jfk. even then, he knew how to win. my very first experience as an intern here on the hill was helping with hearings right in this caucus room. and it's fitting that we would gather in a place that represents the values of this extraordinary deliberative body. i want to thank landra and the entire reid family for sharing harry with us all these years. and i am delighted to be here with vice president biden, leaders mcconnell and pelosi, and my former partner from new york, chuck schumer, as well as
so many other friends and former colleagues. today, we are hanging harry's portrait here in the capital but the more fitting portrait of him will be the one that goes in the dictionary next to the word "fighter." throughout his career, harry fought the good fight. on behalf of the working family of nevada and all americans. harry welcomed me as a new senator more than 15 years ago, and over the years he became both a trusted colleague as well as a friend. one of my favorite memories of harry is going with you to nevada. we went to hold a hearing about the high rates of leukemia in a small town.
we both shared a passion for health care and the worries about so-called cancer clusters. and on that trip and on many occasions, i saw first-hand harry's deep conviction to the country he loved and served so well. no matter how high he rose here in washington, he never lost touch with the people and values he grew up with back in searchlight. in a little house where he was born, there was an embroidered pillow case with that quote from franklin roosevelt that embodied his life and career. "we can, we must, we will." i have walk the neighborhoods, stood in union halls with metal workers, and through casino kitchens and everywhere i went nevadans told me how much it
meant to them to have harry reid as their corner man. we have seen the strength of that and in election after election. i have benefited from it and so have many democrats. harry's commitment to our country runs just as deep. throughout his career, he fought tirelessly to protect america's public land and natural beauty, from protecting the great basin national park to restoring lake tahoe, to leading the way on clean energy. his legacy is embodied in landmark legislation that made life better for american families, like the affordable care act, which wouldn't have passed without his leadership and now provides health coverage to more than 22 million people. millions of young people can stay on their parents health plan, because harry reid file -- fought for it. that's not all. millions of seniors rely on
social security today because harry reid led the fight to stop it from being privatized. he fought to pass comprehensive immigration reform and got it through the senate. if it had been signed into law, millions of families would not be living in fear of being torn apart. and our economy would benefit from the millions of workers coming out of the shadows. as a senator, i learned a lot from harry about how actually to get things done in this place. he is not a man of many words, but when he uses them he always tells it as he sees it. he is never afraid to speak out, even when it's not easy or popular. harry has fought for the simple but powerful idea that yes, we are all created equal. he understood that all of our leaders and all of our citizens alike have responsibility to defend the rights of every
single american. after the constitutional convention, it is well-known benjamin franklin was asked what form of government the new nation would have. a republic, he replied, and you -- if you can keep it. that is still our charge and it's as urgent as it's ever been. we must stand up for our democracy just as harry has done his entire career. let me just mention briefly one thread in particular that should concern all americans democrats, republicans and independents alike, especially those who serve in our congress. the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that has flooded social media over the past year. it's now clear that so-called fake news can have real world consequences. this isn't about politics or partisanship. lives are at risk. lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days,
to do their jobs, contribute to their community. and it is a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly. bipartisan legislation is making its way through congress to boost the government's response to foreign propaganda and silicon valley is starting to grapple with the challenge and threats of fake news. it's imperative that leaders to the private sector and the public sector step up to protect our democracy and innocent lives. harry reid and vice president biden may be stepping back from the daily scrum of politics and governing, but i know i speak for them as well as tens of millions of americans, when i say we are all counting on those of you to remain. -- who remain. counting on you to defend this institution that all 3 of us love so much and the democratic values that embodies. counting on you to carry forward
harry reid's legacy to stand with working families and fight the good fight for a better stronger and fairer america. harry my friend, thank you for your service and your friendship. i can't help but think of that wonderful song, "the boxer." you left your home and your family when you were no more than a boy. now in the clearing stands a boxer, a fighter by his trade. you carried the reminders of every glove but even more he -- we carried the reminder of every fight he waged for us and we will never, ever forget. i wish you and your family all the happiness in the world. you have earned it. thank you. [applause]
[applause] v.p. biden: my name is joe biden and i work for harry reid. [laughter] v.p. biden: i have to admit. i have to admit, the years have come every time i hear a dial tone, i will think of harry. he doesn't do that to you girls, does he? he stays in line longer, right? please, talk to me more. he tells you that, right? what a beautiful family. what an incredible family you have both raised. and i also want to point out nancy, that gracefulness is more
abundant in san francisco than it is in brooklyn. when you said that nice thing about me in the senate, schumer said, you know, it could have been aaron burr, you know what i mean? [laughter] v.p. biden: i don't get it, you know what i mean? [laughter] v.p. biden: one big play on broadway and everything changes. [laughter] v.p. biden: oh man. [laughter] v.p. biden: mitch, i know your reputation is not in tatters having said something nice about me yesterday and having been here today. on a serious note, reminded me of what this room reminds me of. the great traditions of this body. the great traditions of the united states senate. the way in which we all,
democrat and republican, would use this place as a healing room at the and of the day. some of the biggest in the 44 years i have been here, the most monumental sites and debates and arguments, as john can tell you, occurred in this room. the most controversial supreme court hearings in history, the whole watergate year, but every single time, every single time the nation has assumed divided, there were a few democrats and a few republicans of that crossed over and embraced one another. whether it was powered baker, -- howard baker -- i could go down the list. it seems appropriate, mitch.
i want to personally thank you for it. landra, you know, when we honor members of the senate we really do not spend much time taking the time to honor their spouses. no man or woman with a spouse or significant other has a right to run for office of the united states senate without it being a joint agreement. because there is no way, no matter what we say or do, that you can avoid being caught in the crossfire. that you can avoid being called upon. that you can avoid becoming the subject of scrutiny. and you have been an anonymous
-- enormous asset, not only as a partner, but in your own right. your work on literacy and women's health husband real. it has affected the women in your state and your country. you are preserving landmarks like the ford theater. it matters. history matters. and your courageous fight and your battle against cancer has given so much so much hope and courage to so many women not. only here but around the world. and you deserve our undying gratitude. [applause]
[applause] v.p. biden: and it's been hard raising this boy, hasn't it? the first time i met harry went out to campaign for him and i was 32 years old, i think. the first thing i learned, he said i used to have a go out and shoot the mad dogs and i thought holy god, what am i doing here? [laughter] v.p. biden: as they say you have done good, girl. and the whole family. what a remarkable family. i really mean it. what a remarkable family. you know, where i come from in my family, like i suspect yours, if i heard my dad say it once
i've heard him say the thousand, times and he set said it to my sister as well -- you have got to be a man of your word. without your word you were not a man. you have got to be a man of your word and without your man -- without your word you are not a man. that phrase was emblazoned in our hearts and our minds. and harry, i think the highest honor any woman or a man who has served in this body can receive is universal acknowledgment that you have been a man of your word. whatever you say, whatever you say, you do. in the tradition of the room and for whom this room is named, john kennedy -- it was a common trait.
today, not just in politics but this notion that i gave you my word. i told you i would do it if -- but things have changed for me. how many times have you guys heard that? when i told you that, my situation was -- never, never the situation with you. no matter how much has changed and how much keeping your word would hurt you politically, and that's one of the reasons i have such high respect for you. you know, i served with a lot of great majority leaders and minority leaders. mansfield, byrd, mitchell, tom daschle, and you know, i don't think any of them had a tougher job at a tougher time, then you
were. i can recite why i admired them all. but you took over two years before we got elected as the earth was crashing. the greatest recession in the history of america, short of a depression. that is not hyperbole, that is simple fact. a financial meltdown that affected the entire world. and you made a commitment to a president, that when you thought he was right you would support him. and you cap -- kept your word. forcing your colleagues through cajoling them, probably trying to intimidate occasionally, to
cast some of the most unpopular votes anyone in the years that i have served here would have to cast. passing tarp, bailing out the very people in the world caused -- who caused the crisis. that's like delivering a snake in the mail to every american. i really don't think there was more an unpopular vote to cast, including all those serious social issues that were also controversy over. you ended up passing the recovery act by just a couple of votes. a hard, hard case to make to our colleagues. we are drowning, yet we are going to go out and spend almost a trillion dollars to try to revive the economy. you went ahead and at a time
when there was anger but also confusion, you shepherded through the passage of dodd frank, still with controversy, but also stabilized the economy and wall street. and you were even able to get new start passed at a time when tensions between the east and the west were extremely delicate, as they are now. but the reason why i think your colleagues went with you harry, is they knew you would always have their back. you were going to do everything in your power to help them and you did, through your pack, three or contacts, through your -- through your contacts, through your personal engagement. ask anybody who has run on our
side of the aisle and i am sure it is similar with you, mitch, on your side. the very election, and i can think of a half-dozen senators in the last eight years, who rested on harry's organizational intervention. he is a new harry. he would not ask without giving. and you know, your background, i'm not going to repeat because some of it has been talked about already, but i don't think it's any surprise to people why i like you so much. [laughter] v.p. biden: you know, you grew up in searchlight and i grew up in scranton and claymont. you always knew the one person in your crowd who when you were jumped by two or three guys even
though he was going to get the hell beat out of him too. he would jump in. i'm serious. i am deadly earnest. that is you. always there. but the difference between you and me is, you know how to box. [laughter] v.p. biden: on a personal note, the way that you embraced me and my family, whether it was when i was hospitalized for seven months or whether personal losses occurred, the way you did what a lot of senators do but you did it constantly. another expression my dad had, you'd do me a favor and i appreciate it but you do my son or daughter a favor and i've -- i will never, ever forget it. you embraced my son. you help him get elected.
you embraced my son hunter and you reached out to my daughter. not a lot of highfalutin rhetoric, just there. just there. it kind of reminds me what i like most about this place, whether it was the last vote, that teddy kennedy cast. everybody knew he was dying. yet everybody, democrat and republican, came to make sure he could break the tie, everybody including his political opponents, stood and cheered, and cheered, and cheered, and cried. i will never forget the day hubert humphrey walked on the
floor. it was clear he didn't have many days left. his hair was gone and they walked down the well to vote and your dad was there, man in barry -- and barry goldwater walked up to him and embraced them. and they hugged and he cried. i think you were there, john. i remember the dead silence in the chamber. two men who could not have been further apart. they loved each other. one thing i learned from some of my senior colleagues, if you are here long enough and you listen, you learn the other
woman or man's perspective. you learn that no one's perspective is the only perspective. each of us understands our you are actions, if you are here long enough, have to represent in decency and reflect on her. and the capacity of the are american people who we are privileged to serve, it is the only way we can satisfy them. my guess is harry you believe and i believe that this is the greatest profession. it's the honor of my life to you serve. you i never have a high honor and and privilege in leading the send it in both majority and minority, but you have served at the behest of people of your state who trusted you consecutively to represent them.
i can't think of any greater honor and you have done it so well, harry. let me close with a quote from john adams. one of my favorite quotes about the senate. john adams said, and i quote, "the senate is the colossus of the constitution. no republic can ever be for any duration without a senate and a senate deeply and strongly rooted, strong enough bear up against all popular storms and passions, that's the place i am proudest of." because of men and women like you, harry, it still bills -- fills that role.
sen. reid: joe was scheduled to be in canada right now, meeting with the prime minister mr. trudeau, but he is going to go late, real late. so joe, thank you very much. i said yesterday in a fairly long speech i gave regarding senator biden as i call him, his life is what movies should be made of and are made of. what a story. i have great affection for joe biden for how he is treated me. -- how he has treated me. always phonecalls returned, his chief of staff is the best. so joe, thank you for being who you are to me and to everybody else.
[applause] i gave a long speech this morning, so everybody just relax, this is a going to be long. [laughter] as most of you know, i don't talk long. i talk too much, but not want. -- but not long. as i look around the room, i have such warmth for so many different reasons. my wife, my children, my grandchildren down in the front row. beautiful human beings, inside and out. i look around this room and see my staff, former staff. they have made my career.
i take the credit for it, but they have made my career. i look over here at senators i serve with now and senators i have served with. and i feel so bad about john glenn. he was such a hero. i can remember the first caucus i attended. john glenn said, i am going out on the aircraft carrier kennedy friday or saturday, anybody want to go with me? not a person raised their hand except for me. [laughter] like i said this morning, i don't go to a lot of stuff, one super bowl, one world series, that was enough.
never been to a congressional white house ball. i went to one state dinner and spent two years in argentina. i went to one congressional picnic and that's because of key, he wanted to show off, and he did a good job because they are married now with four beautiful children. [laughter] sen. reid: but i went out on the aircraft carrier. once was enough for me. [laughter] sen. reid: that was rough. but i was there with john glenn. one more story about john glenn. he called me when i decided i was not going to run again. he said, i am so mad you are not running.
i said, i hurt myself, but i'm not going to be able to do that. he said, i am still mad. he was so good to me but as i look over here i'm not going to go through the whole roll call, but what memories. nelson.ben i have said this before and i'll say it again, ben nelson gave up his career for something he believed in. i called him once in a while just to remind him that if there is anything that brings a tier -- brings a tear to my eye, it has been ben nelson and the sacrifice he made for the country. and he was right, it was the end of his career so then, the nation owes you a lot. you aople of nebraska oowe lot. [applause] sen. reid: and you heard about the nevada bill. he is here that did it. stand up.
here he is. [laughter] [applause] sen. reid: i will tell you, we are the reason, you and i and a few others, why earmarks should come back. [laughter] [applause] sen. reid: because, when we work together, barbara mikulski, when we worked together, we did with -- we did what the constitution said we should do. we had congressionally directed spending. there were earmarks. why should we as members of congress give that authority to the white house? that is what has happened, and it has brought congress to a standstill. bring back earmarks. [applause]
sen. reid: one of the great ear markers of all time is right down there. [laughter] with the red tie. [applause] ben, thank you so much. you are a friend. and i have so many fond memories of you. we did a lot of stuff together. we worked together and we got stuff done. paul, the sage of the senate, i would love to talk about each one of you. because there are so many memories i have with everyone. i served with 281 senators. joe has served with more. and i say this without any reservation, there is not a single senator i did not like. it was hard to get here.
you had to admire them just for that alone. i said it this morning and i say again, mitch mcconnell and i were lawyers. i went to court a lot. i had 100 jury trials. and you know, i would be so upset at my law your opponent, how could he talk this way? he is wrong, he is wrong on the facts, and on the law. but when the case was over and we walked out, we were friends. everyone, i know you don't like this story, but me and mitch mcconnell our friends. we work together and we do our best to enunciate our cause. i don't like what he does a lot of times, and he doesn't like what i do most of the time. [laughter] sen. reid: but that is ok. we understand what our jobs are.
now, nancy, thank you so much. i know that somebody mentioned that i killed the privatization of social security, but we did it together. [laughter] sen. reid: i have found her to be so thoughtful, so kind, and so considerate. we love her and we love paul. when landrieu took over the spouses operation, they had -- what is it called? you show off your clothes. >> fashion show. sen. reid: fashion show. [laughter] sen. reid: and she, of course, if i do so say myself, she looks good most of the time. the only time she doesn't is when i catch her in her pajamas, sometimes. [laughter] anyway -- but
[laughter] sen. reid: anyway, paul pelosi, this handsome man, would you be a part of our fashion show? of course, he walked down with everybody else. and he got the biggest applause of anybody. so nancy and paul are good sports, good people, and i'm going to miss you so very much. hillary clinton, there is no way that i, in the brief time i have today, can adequately pay tribute to hillary clinton as a person, leader, role model and friend. a loyal person. she is one of the finest public servants in the history of our great country. she is a skilled statesman, or should i say, how do you put a
statesman woman. whatever. but anyway. [laughter] course, a and of dignified legislator and wonderful diplomat. so thank you very much, hillary , for being here. [applause] sen. reid: but i do have to say, i mentioned her loyalty. my son rory basically took a year and a half off work to work on her campaign eight years ago. she has never forgotten it. when she comes to town, he's part of the entourage that goes to dinner that night, so thank you for being who you are. i mentioned my staff and one person i didn't mention that i
should, because he devoted such loyal service to me and was so good to me and to landra, and they weref my staff, hired by david, so david, thank you very much. [applause] sen. reid: now, did rahm emanuel show up? >> yes. sen. reid: where is he? mayor, has your finger ever grown back? rahm emanuel, in case no one knows, it is a private joke. he was cutting meat and cut off part of his finger. i guess i shouldn't joke about that. [laughter] sen. reid: he's done okay with missing part of the finger. i
. i know you have some real obligations as mayor to that beautiful city. i want everyone to know he was president obama's first chief of staff, and he took no prisoners. we worked so hard. that was during the first obama congress. you remember that, joe. we delivered big-time. we worked hard together, and i was always a nice guy. he was not. he could be so tough. [laughter] sen. reid: as part of the language, we all know rahm's language, he tried to convert me to a lot of those words, i didn't fall for it. [laughter] sen. reid: but thank you very much. that congress that we worked
with with the vice president, our congress was the most productive in the history of the country, more so than the first roosevelt administration. and i will never forget we did a lame duck and it was a lame duck we will always remember. lindsey graham was so impressed with what we did he did but he that he saidd numerous times, harry reid eight our lunch.id ate thank you so much for being here with me. chuck schumer. he is my friend. he is going to be my successor. he is going to talk to us in a little bit. and i appreciate the friendship he has shown me and the sacrifices he has made for our country, for democrats, and for taking positions he did not want to take.
he headed the democratic campaign committee twice. wow. so thank you very much, chuck. i am not going to tell everybody how smart you are, because we already know that. [laughter] sen. reid: ok, i will tell them. [laughter] sen. reid: everybody here, those -- those of you who have taken the lsat -- you hate to hear that, i bet. [laughter] sen. reid: perfect score. and he has a perfect score with me. what a great guy. we came together, we came to the senate together. he was on my leadership team. i so admire dick durbin for the person he is, the sensitive man. very few people legislate as
much with their heart as he does. he has a heart as big as his chest. thank you very much for being the friend that you have been to me. [applause] sen. reid: patty murray has been indispensable to me during my time as leader. her counsel has always been private. it has always been sage, and it has been direct. not a lot of words. i appreciate it very much. and i am happy to know that senator schumer is going to have them as part of his leadership team, and that is something that he will never regret. i talked this morning about the majority leaders. one of them is here, and as responsible as anyone for allowing me to be a leader. tom daschle, thanks for being here. [applause]
sen. reid: shortly after i was elected assistant leader to the whip, i went to him to complain about something. i thought he had given one of the senators too much and he said, stop that. he said, the whip's job, you're going to make it what you want it to be. and i did, didn't i? [laughter] sen. reid: so thank you a lot tom. thank you for trusting me. you gave me the privilege of the floor and i was there when the senate opened and when it left. thank you so much. john boehner was going to come. did john show up? ok, good. the speech was getting too long anyway. [laughter] sen. reid: i can't thank
everyone who is here today, but please know how much you have meant to me. i wish i could talk to each of you. but i can't. i talked this morning about my family. i love my boys and my girl and my 19 grandchildren. as indicated this morning, we learned from them when they were first raising children raising -- raising children, raising them into the big kids and , then we made it six
or seven years and have more and have fun with them just like we did the big kids. i told everyone this morning that my desire in life has been and always will be to make sure that i let you know how much i care about you, how much affection i have for you, how proud i am of you. we have had a love affair for more than 60 years. she was a sophomore in high school when i was a junior. we have been inseparable. we have done it together. i would have dropped out of law school so quickly to go back to my friends in nevada, but not with her. it was hard, but she knew what we wanted to accomplish together in life. she helped me always. always has been my rock, and above all, i love her, and my friend. so, this room is filled with
leaders of the senate and house, vice president, former secretary of state, majority leader of the senate, you all know what the leadership entails. it is not easy and not glamorous. leaders understand the highs and the lows. as i said this morning, it's joy, and then, what are we going to do now? as much as i love my job as leader of the senate, there have been times when i have terrified, frustrated. but the terror and frustration passes quickly, and chuck, that is what you have to realize. issues, anda lot of a not going to go through them, but we've made it through them. so i feel gratified that someone with my background can be a leader for our country.
so now, let me introduce the person that's painted my picture. this young man worked for me. i first saw him when he was a little boy. his dad worked for a senator on the appropriations committee. gavin can still remember. he was there drawing pictures, and i went up to him and said , andt are you drawing talked to him a little bit. he worked for me. he was 22 years old and had been with me a year and a half and he got sick. he had a tumor on his chest the size of a tennis ball. we were not sure he was going to make it, his parents were not sure and he certainly wasn't. when they were wheeling this young man into the operating room for this stunningly terrorizing event in his life, he says to himself -- nobody's there to listen.
he said if i get out of this, i'm not going to work at some office. what i'm going to do is draw pictures and paint. that's what i've done all my life. i'm going to try to do that. and his good parents, when he got out of the hospital and was well, he moved in with them and spent years in their home perfecting his craft. gavin is a great painter. he painted a portrait of my wife in my office. he has paintings all over america. he is a portrait painter, landscape painter, and above all, he's my friend. gavin? [applause]
gavin glakas: thank you so much for choosing me to paint your portrait. this means so much to me on a personal and professional level and i will always be proud of it. senator reid told a story i i don't know if he remembers this, but when i was a kid my dad worked for the appropriations committee. one day i went with him to work and i was in the corner of the room like this, and it seems there were hundreds of people. i'm drawing in my sketchbook and when the hearing finished up and everybody filed off, a nice gentleman in a suit came over to me and said hello son, what do you have there? he made a really big job out of the drawing i was doing and when he walked off my dad said you know who that was? that was senator reid. was getting out of college and people told me how difficult it is that the plan was to go to law school and paint on the
weekend and i actually got a job working for senator reid on his staff, and it was a great experience. lowliestsay i was the of lowly but one of the , highlights of my time on the hill is that i used to meet with senator reid once a week for five minutes to go over something, and we developed a nice relationship. i was the lowest man on the totem pole and he was always sweet to me and we got along really well. i would go over to his office and i would go out to the capitol, and i was in awe of all the great paintings in the hallways. i've always loved portraits in history and psychology and politics. i thought it was a great challenge as an artist. those paintings were a constant reminder that i simply didn't have the courage to pursue the only goal that i ever had. after about a year and a half i made my decision, i went to my parents' house and sat them down and a curious thing happened. as senator reid told you, i got very sick. the doctors told me if that would have happened at any point
in my life, but it happened exactly when i made that decision. i spent about six months in and out of the hospital and they eventually took a tumor out of my long, and i've been fine ever since. there were some moments i wasn't sure if i was going to make it, and that's when i realized life is short. i only have one goal and it's the goal i've had my whole life. i have to throw everything i have at it. that was 15 years ago. and i consider that by far the most fortunate thing that's ever happened to me in my life. so now at this point i have seen as painted some portraits a lot of you probably know and recognize. i was elated in my career when senator reid asked me to paint a id, and thenmrs. ree he hung it up in the capital next to a portrait of mark twain. but the fact that the matter is, the portrait artists out there that are older and further along than i am that have painted every president and every crown
head of europe, and senator reid could easily have chosen one of them. and as far as i can tell, the reason he didn't is that underneath it all, underneath the great statesman and the brilliant strategist and a hard kid that fought his way through college and the man who fought his entire life for people that are not strong enough to fight for themselves, underneath all of that is a sweet, sweet person who when given the opportunity to walk by and help someone up has spent his entire life helping people up. senator, i can't tell you how much i enjoyed working with you on this. if you want to spend sundays next summer watching baseball while i paint, i am in. i will be proud of this the rest of my life. thank you so much. [applause]
sen. schumer: good afternoon everybody. it's been an amazing afternoon. harry, you will be a hard act to follow this afternoon and harder even to follow as a leader. i want to thank the vice president and secretary clinton and the majority leader mcconnell, leader pelosi, all of the great family, so wonderful and beautiful. i see how excited you are. a, as he said, you are his rock. his strong, quiet, always there rock. my great colleagues past and present, it's amazing. how embarrassed are you that we all showed up? [laughter] sen. schumer: i know of nothing you would rather do less than sit and hear us all go on about
you, but i also know you are a good sport. i've seen it over and over again. one of my favorite memories is on a congressional trip. he kept bugging me to go, and it was to china, and there was a group of 10 of us, during the spring break. it is very ecumenical. we spent easter sunday at an evangelical church. it was sort of being oppressed by the chinese government. it was also passover and there were a few jewish members. we had a seder. harry, with his spirit of looking out for someone, we had it in macau. on the trip were frank and bonnie wattenberg. they were to conduct the seder. they spent the whole time -- it is pretty long before you eat. frank and bonnie prolonged it by
arguing with each other about how to conduct it. frank, you don't do it that way. shut up, bonnie. it's this way. and it went on and on and on. i thought harry, he was seated next to me. he was squirming. i know him well. steam coming out of his ears. he wanted to get on with it. it was getting late. but impatient as he was, the seder always wins, and so it did. but god bless his heart, he sat there a whole hour, another hour very polite and never said a word. that's who he is. he's always been a good sport, and he takes what comes. doesn't complain, doesn't w hine, just does the best to does
the best with whatever situation he is in. so while you're in a sporting mood, i will try to add a few words to what has already been said. he is not only somebody who can be quiet and take it as it is, he can at times be passionate. i'm going to let some of you who know the story, but i will let you in on a secret. there is another woman he gave eight, fat, sloppy kiss to in this room. harry and i were sitting there election night of 2006. it was all hanging in the balance, whether we would get the majority. when the tv came on and claire mccaskill came out as the winner, harry marched up to the tv and started kissing claire over and over again. i had to go up and wipe off the tv. [laughter] i got to know
harry when he came to the senate in 1999. here was this man, soft-spoken mormon from searchlight, nevada, a town miles from nowhere and , and here i was a brash, jewish kid out of brooklyn. i quickly learned soft-spoken didn't mean he would keep his opinions to himself or sand down the rough edges. we all heard him on the floor. he has never been cagey with the reporters. he would look at my shoes every so often and pulled me aside in the corner and slipped $20 to me and say, get a shoeshine already. [laughter] was blunt evene about his bluntness. he wants remarked about the political flareup. could i have couched my words more carefully? maybe, but i said it and i meant it and i'm not apologizing for it. it's just the truth. that is vintage harry.
[applause] if you have heard about his childhood as we all did today in his final speech, you begin to understand why he is so plainspoken. he is a product of his environment like we all are, but with harry, it's not exactly the way that you would expect. hardscrabble childhood like his , especially when they produced this person of such prominence , tend to instill that mythology of rugged individualism picking , picking yourself up by your bootstraps and going at it alone. harry learned that lesson, but he had such a big heart he also went a best learned much different lesson, and that is in tough circumstances, we need each other more. he wrote about how he and his brother would stick together to
stand up to their father if he was being rough on their mother. as a young lawyer he would take cases no one else wanted defending folks he knew were , guilty, but he also knew they were treated unfairly by the system. abhorred board -- he unfairness and injustice in life, no matter who it inflicted. ultimately, the lesson he carried with him throughout his life is that no one goes it alone and was part of his responsibility to stick up for those caught in the "tentacles of circumstance" as lbj put it. it was that same instinct that led him to take a hardcharging freshman from new york under his wing. i am telling you, there is no one better to have in your corner then harry reid. much has been made of his boxing
career, and it's true, he is a tenacious fighter, tough and relentless. but what these descriptions often miss is that the important thing is not that you fight, the important thing is what and who you fight for. he fought for people. he fought to protect seniors from the privatization of social security and medicare. he fought to get the aca over the finish line, providing healthcare to 22 million americans who never had health care before. just like his family. he fought for the environment and was one of the most -- and had one of the most illustrious records when it comes to clean energy, land and preserving historic landmark's he had a passion for them. i remember when he visited hyde park for the first time and he talked to me about it for a half , and that was it.
until one day about seven or eight months later i got a call from the hyde park monument. he said thanks for that $15 million earmark you put in the appropriations bill. i didn't even know it was there. it was harry reid. he fought for the things he cared about, and though he doesn't always prevail, he always kept fighting. and in the true tradition i have , i have the same lines from "the boxer" that hillary read. i will read them again because they are so apropos. in the clearing stands a boxer, a fighter by his trade. he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down, but the fighter still remains. harry is the third longest-serving senate leader and as we all know, the higher you go, the more fiercely the
winds blow. you can easily lose your way and get blown off course and beaten down. your fighting spirit can flag. what keeps people going is there heir internal gyroscope, their sense of right and wrong. no one has a better internal gyroscope than harry reid. while he carried the scars of the battle and hard-won victories and setbacks, he was always guided and that's why having talked to him i know he has very few regrets. watching him, working by his side, it taught me how to be a senator and a leader. he taught me that our senate caucus is a family. he taught me how we all look out for each other's back.
he taught me to stay true to myself and despite the obvious , differences, we are both from these remarkably defining places. and harry reid goes by the same credo that i do. i am from brooklyn. sometimes it helps me, sometimes it hurts me, but i would be less of an individual if i tried not to be from brooklyn. the same exact thing could be said about harry and searchlight, nevada. in fact, writing about his hometown, he said much attention is paid in the public life to the importance of collection of attributes that we call character. he wrote somewhat less attention , is devoted to the consideration of where the character is born. character and values come from places you wouldn't necessarily think to look, because some of the men and women of the
greatest character that i will ever meet in my life came from this place of hard rocks and inhospitable soil. he was talking about his friends and family and the people he knew growing up, but i don't think truer words could ever be spoken about the man himself. in my life, he's one of the men of greatest character that i've ever met. powerful, but with uncommon humility. honest and loyal, unsparingly funny. a scrappy fighter with a great big heart. a titan of the senate. he is one of the most unique men any of us will ever meet, truly one-of-a-kind, and i've been lucky to call him my colleague,
my mentor, my friend. harry i would not be the senator , nor the man i am today without you. i can only say thank you from the bottom of my heart and i will miss you. so folks it will be quite some , time until we see another like harry reid. until then, this portrait will have to do. thank you. [applause]