tv Alan Simpson Remarks at President George H.W. Bush - Washington Funeral CSPAN December 6, 2018 6:33am-6:45am EST
precious surroundings. there are wooden ships, there are sailing ships, there are ships that sale to see. but the best ships are friendships and may they always be. >> george told me i only had 10 minutes. [laughter] he was very direct about it. it wasn't even funny. [laughter] i first met my friend, my dear friend, george bush, in 1962, when my father, miller simpson, was a member of the united states senate, just elected. i came to washington with dad to settle on his new office eating vacated by one senator prescott bush, george's father.
well, then we met again when my parents left washington and sold her home to a brand staking new -- brand spanking new congressman from texas named george herbert walker bush. so, george and barbara, mom and pop, did that sale on a handshake. sound familiar? then 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, i'm sorry about that. i probably should have let you know sooner. and actually a guy doesn't get
very many calls were a friend -- 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. at one dark time 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 preach full of holes. -- pretty full of holes. actually, he said it a bit more pungent lay than that. -- pungent lay 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 wave to your pals over there in the media. [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 one i've been looking for.
it's a picture of barbara, and, 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 old 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. -- while i'm taking my lumps and he said -- yup. [laughter] there were staff members that told me not to do this, but out all, 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 a trust can. etruscan/- 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 and 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 michael crawford was singing the songs of andrew lloyd reverend. -- of andrew lloyd webber. all four of us was singing as we went back to the white house. don't cry for me argentina ♪ [laughter] and tidbits from phantom of the opera and other magic of weber. a few days later 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. translated into the word taxes. translated into the words -- read my lips. [laughter] the group went to george and said look, we can get the packet -- we can get the package done but we must need some revenue. he said that what he had set on -- he said what i said on that subject puts 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 of -- 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.
his own party turned on him. surely one of the main factors ensuring his return to private life areas 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. and i mean never. [laughter] 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 four 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 that we have loosed our grip upon him, 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.