tv Alan Simpson Remarks at President George H.W. Bush - Washington Funeral CSPAN December 5, 2018 7:47pm-8:00pm EST
the final burial ceremony is 5:15 p.m. eastern. in the meantime, let's take you back to the national cathedral in washington earlier today. we saw alan simpson deliver a eulogy. >> relax, george told me i only had 10 minutes. he was very direct about it, he wasn't even funny. [laughter] i first met my dear friend george bush in 1962. my father was a member of the united states senate, just selected. i came with dad to settle on his new office.
we met again with my parents left washington and sold her home to a brand staking new congressman from texas named george herbert walker bush. so, george and barbara, mom and pop, did that sale on a handshake. sound familiar? i came to the senate in 1978 and soon after that ronald reagan , cornered me and asked me to support him for president. i said that i would, not knowing that my friend george would enter the fray. hearing that i called and i said george, i want to tell you i would love to help, but i have already committed to ronald reagan. george's response? well, al, i'm sorry about that. i probably should have let you know sooner. and actually a guy doesn't get very many calls from a friend who says they can't support him.
sound familiar? of course it does. because in george bush's life, during all the highs and lows, there was a simple credo. what would we do without family and friends? and when he became vice president, our friendship, our enjoyable friendship was refreshed and the four of us had many, many pleasant times together. my life in washington was rather tumultuous. i went from the a social list to the v. [laughter] >> and never came back to the a. [laughter] had one dark period, i was feeling awful low and all of my wounds were self-inflicted. all of them. george called me early one morning, always early in the morning. [laughter]
country music playing in the background. he says -- i see the media is shooting you pretty full of holes. actually, he said it a bit more pungently than that. he said why don't we go up to camp david? come on over and we will have a weekend together. at that time, his popularity rating was 93%. mine was .93%. [laughter] and so off we went. the media of course all gathered as we headed to marine one. and george said, now, waved your -- way to your pals over there in the media, al. [laughter] and they didn't wave back. [laughter] so, next morning he's rattling through all the papers and he looks up and he says years the ha,et a half -- says a
here's the one i've been looking for. it's a picture of barbara and george with his arm and hand on my back. and later we are having a sauna. and i said george, i am not unmindful as to what you are doing. you are propping up your own wounded duck pal while you are at the top of your game, you reach out to me while i'm tangled in rich controversy. while i'm tanking my lumps. he said yup. there were staff members that told me not to do this, but al, this is about friendship and loyalty. sound familiar? we had an awful lot of fun, too. always a delight to be in the president's box at the kennedy center. off to a play at the national theater with the bushes. outside the box one evening there was a massive six foot
vase with an extraordinary glaze. i hope you know the difference between a vase and a vase. 35 bucks. [laughter] now, george walks up to it and he said al, wait, i think that's atruscum. he said it was a clay that could only have been found during that era. i said no, george. the patina gives me the perception that it was possibly older. perhaps of greek origin. with that particular herbal paste before firing. people gathered around mumbling about these expert observers. barbara and ann finally came by and said get out of here. both of you, get back in that box. [laughter] well, we did. [laughter]
it was impressive for a while. and then one night, the four of us went to see michael crawford. singing the songs of andrew rubber -- weber. all four of us was singing as we went back to the white house. don't cry for me argentina ♪ and tidbits from phantom of the opera and other magic of weber. a few days later, he is getting hammered by the press for some extraordinarily petty bit of trivia. and suddenly he sings out ♪ don't cry for me argentina ♪ [laughter] the president wrote that he was then finally losing his marbles. [laughter] now, these honored guests right here before us who have held this noble post know all of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. he was a class act.
from birth to death. he had the strong sinews of mind and body, gained from that extraordinary mother. we compared our mothers as velvet hammers, of course. and certainly most awesome fathers. the history books will and are treating him most fairly while uncovering some other powerful traits. his great competitiveness. his raw courage and self-discipline. recall the andrews air base conclave where congressional participants drafted a remarkable bill that dealt with two-year budgeting, entitlement reform, comprehensive and catastrophic health care, social security solvency, and much more. but it required the critical ingredient called revenue.
[laughter] translated into the word taxes. translated into the words, read my lips. the group went to george and said look, we can get the packet done but we must need some -- have some revenue. he said, and i will never forget, he said that what he had said on the subject put a lot of heat on me. they all said yes but we can get , it done and it will be bipartisan. and george said ok, go for it, but it will be a real punch in the gut. bob dole, then a real warrior for george, took it back to the senate and we won a strong bipartisan vote. he went to the house for his own -- house where his own party turned on him. surely one of the main factors ensuring his return to private
life, but he often said that when the really tough choices come it's the country, not me. it's not about democrats or republicans, it's for our country that i fought for. he was a man of such great humility that those who travel the high road of humility in washington, d.c. are not bothered by heavy traffic. [laughter] he had a very serious flaw, known by all close to him. he loved a good joke. the richer, the better. he would throw his head back and give that great laugh. but he never, ever could remember a punchline. [laughter] and i mean never. so, the punchline for george
herbert walker bush is this, you would have wanted him on your side. he never lost his sense of humor. humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of life. that's what humor is. he never hated anyone. he knew what his mother and my mother always knew, hatred corrodes the container it's carried in. the most decent and honorable person i ever met was my friend george bush. one of nature's noble men. his epitaph, perhaps just a single letter, the l for -- letter l for loyalty. it coursed through his blood. loyalty to his country. loyalty to his family. loyalty to his friends. loyalty to the institutions of government and always, always, always a friend to his friends. none of us were ready for this day.
we mourn his loss from our own lives and what he was to each of us. that is so personal, so intimate, so down inside. it would have been so much easier to celebrate his life with him here. but he is gone, irrevocably gone. and now we have loosed our grip upon him but we shall always retain his memory in our hearts. god has come now to take him back. we all knew that on one unknown day he would return to his god. and now we give him up. we commend him to your loving hands. thank you for him. god rest his soul.
announcer: the 41st president of the united states, george h.w. bush, lying in repose at st. martin's episcopal church in houston tonight. a public viewing will go on throughout the night at the church. coverage continues tomorrow morning with the funeral service at saint martins at 11:00 a.m. eastern, followed by the burial ceremony at the george bush presidential library and bcm in college station, texas. right now, events remembering president bush throughout the at the u.s.rt here capitol as the former president was taken from the capital to the washington national cathedral for the state funeral. president trump and former president obama, clinton, and carter attended the service. son, georgesident's w. bush, gave one of the eulogies.