tv U.S. Senate Senators Lamar Alexander R-TN John Cornyn R-TX Remember... CSPAN December 8, 2018 4:41pm-5:13pm EST
kind inwas still so these notes, and so sweet to his to those whos, and were his friends for so very long. as we pay tribute to president bush's tremendous record of we also must stay grounded in his respect for all servants, not just the ones he agreed with. unwavering belief in his own words that no definition of life can do anything but include serving others. of course, that service can come in many forms, as he showed in his own life. people may serve in the military. some people may take on causes government service, and volunteer. in lawmay work enforcement and others may, of course, get elected or have the privilege to work in this capitol for the people.
president bush lived that life. and america has lost a true leader. the entireare with bush family. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. >> senator from tennessee. >> i'm delighted to hear the from delaware, my friend, discuss some aspects of president bush's time there that well remembered, including his amendments to the clean air act, on which the delaware and i have worked. 1992, george herbert walker bush and his wife, barbara, were walking across the hot sunny day toot sunny day make a major announcement about school choice. and barbara turned to the president and said, george, you've got on the wrong pants! and the president of the united states turned around, walked changedthe white house, his suit, into the proper suit,
and came back out and made the announcement. biggest of his time of president, to ask the halfess to provide a billion dollars to states and cities like milwaukee and givensin, who wanted to low-income families choices of for theirools children. that, i can recall a 3 on januarymeeting 17, 1991. was aboutg educational assessment, a very dull subject. called president had into the cabinet room. governor will remember educational assessment from his days as governor. went on and on. and the president got up and left and came back after about 10 minutes. us thought very little about it. turned out later we found out calling gorbachev in
soviet union to let him know in states that the united was about to start bombing baghdad, about 5:30 that afternoon, u.s. time. and he had constructed and put on the public schedule that educational assessment so that the world wouldn't know what was about to happen. a few weeks later, we were having lunch and he was mulling the prospect of putting a million american military men women on the ground in the middle east, in the first gulf war. special feeling of that, because of his background as a combat pilot in world war ii. and he knew what it meant to american life in that exercise. all of us have been having memories and stories we could tell about the president. but i want to talk about three aspects of his service very briefly. one is gentlemen.
two is well-prepared. three is pioneer. pioneer especially in education. suggested to john meacham, biographer ofary president george h.w. bush that for his booke might be "the last gentleman." that to an author is kind of like saying you ought to rename your baby something else. very prudent thing to say. and i hope it's not true that he is the last gentleman. temperament and conduct, he won and while he lost, in war and in peace, with adversaries and friends, reminds us that you can be tough, that presidency, that you can be a combat pilot in a and you can still treat others with respect, which unfailingly did. i was thinking that last night as we stood outside on the steps
watched the casket being brought up, that we -- a beautiful evening. the sunset, looking out over the congress, looking out over the supreme court, i was thinking that with all the have here asetimes we work out difficult problems, we're pretty lucky to live in this country. we're pretty lucky to have this form of government we have. and we're extraordinarily we can produce like george h.w. bush, who bring out the best in secondch leads me to my point, what i think of when i think of our former president. and those are the words "well-prepared." now, we've had lots of different of thef presidents united states with varying backgrounds. many have been successful. to say exactly what will make a president successful. temperament has more to do with it than anything
else. we had in president george h.w. bush may have been best-prepared president in our history. congressman. candidate for the senate. head of his national political party. first ambassador in effect to japan. nations.he united vice president of the united states. head of the central intelligence agency. going to pute somebody through a training course, a boot camp, in order to be president of the united what you would do. you would take someone of extraordinary intellect, somebody who might have graduated in three years from extraordinary courage, someone who would fly combat, in worldest aviator war ii, you'd put them through that boot camp and say, now, you're the president of the states. i thought how fortunate we were
that he happened to be the one who came along then, because the he accomplished in his four years were the things that he presided over, the us to do as a country. weren't that easy. weren't that easy. take the disintegration of the soviet union. that's a very dangerous situation. they have a lot of nuclear weapons in the soviet union. and a history of antagonism of europe and the united states. but president bush, because of and his skill, extraordinary team he had around a wayresided over that in that allowed mr. gorbachev to -- and the soviet union -- to come apart. it could have easily gone another direction. the reunification of germany. you can be sure that france was skeptical about the reunification of germany. wouldn't you be as well, if been involved in two world
withi's in that century germany? margaret thatcher was opposed to the reunification of germany, quietly, according to vice quayle, who should know about such things. and mr. cole from germany was for it. our president had to know those individuals well enough enough to preside over the reunification of germany and the disintegration of the soviet union at the same time. balancing the budget. that wasn't popular within the republican party. when you look at the portraits of the president of the white think of, whatn did that president do that went beyond his base? that his original supporters might not have agreed with, but that put the country first? you look at nixon. you think china. thinkok at reagan, you the berlin wall.
at george bush and you think a number of things, but one of the things he did was balance the budget in a way that most republicans didn't like. he paid a price for it when he ran for re-election. country and president clinton, during the 1990's, benefited greatly from that fact. and then as senator carpenter out, he led the amendments of the clean air act. tennessee these last few weeks. we like the fact that you can smoky mountains. smoggyy're not the great mountains anymore. the reason that's true is because of the clean air act, more than anything else, which has required coal plants, when they operate, to put pollution control equipment on them. operate.still there's nothing to keep a coal plant from operating in this country, as long as you put pollution control equipment for mercury, sulfur on it.
they can be perfectly clean. but doesn't include carbon, carbon you can't see. we like to see the mountains. and the decisions that were made do with exhaust from trucks and cars. so america is healthier, can attract we businesses to our state now that our air is clean, because before problem.t was a and the americans with disabilities act, that was a difficult law to pass. and a difficult law for many parts of our country to accept. frankly, pay for. but think of the lives that it has changed. no one could have passed that whon wasn't well- -- who wasn't well-prepared for the presidency. so as i think of president bush, first of a gentleman. second, well-prepared. and then finally, pioneer in education. most of the time, when we think we thinkresident bush, of his skills in foreign policy,
because they were considerable. challenges were great. for example, i didn't mention gulf war a moment ago. well, i did in a couple of cases, but i didn't mention the putting a million troops on the ground, getting the rest of the world to pay for most of and then deciding not to go into baghdad and get mired down there. decisions that a skilled, well-prepared man would do. a pioneer in education. i'd like towhere talk about. 1989, president george h.w. bush assembled all the nations in charlottesville to talk about education. ambassador to china was then the chairman of the governors. of that summit came national education goals that year 2000d by the would learn math, science,
geography in a proficient way. with america 2000, the last two years of his term, i education secretary then. 2000.nched america that was to help states and communities reach those national education goals, state by state, community by community. 2000.had nebraska nashville 2000. democrats and republicans sought that. the importance of it was that bushdent george h.w. understood that to have lasting reform in education, it has to be owned by the state. it has to be owned by the community. we saw, for example, in the coret exercise on common standards. common core really was developed by the governors. theas moving through country, state by state by the federalhen when
government mandated it in effect, there was a great rebellion. because there wasn't any buy-in. the same with teacher evaluation. i led a fight in tennessee to evaluate tennessee teachers. the hardest thing i was ever involved in. great big fight with the education association. but we did it. and 10,000 teachers went up the career ladder. bought into it. when you order it from washington, they don't buy into it. understoodnt bush that. so with his national education goals, his volunteer national voluntary his national tests, they were all voluntary. imposed from washington, d.c. he created an environment where states and cities and adopt them.could and they were lasting. of the steps, including my state of tennessee, have taken to make schools better in the
last 30 years were either or encouraged by thege h.w. bush since national governors summit in 1989. that includes charter schools. '92, president bush encouraged every community to create start-from-scratch he called them. and many did. schoolsed new american development corporation with the help of deputy education secretary david kearns. $70 million and gave grants to that. my last act as education wasetary for president bush to write every school superintendent and say, why don't you try one of these new charter schools that the minnesota democratic labor party has created? were only 10 at the time. that was 1992. start-from-scratch schools suggested by president george h.w. bush are now 5,000 charter schools in the country
or about 5% of all the public schools in america. and then school choice. of hisgan with the story walking across the south lawn to announce the g.i. bill for kids money to states and districts to encourage school choice. the democratic congress at the time didn't appropriate the for, fore asked start-from-scratch schools, and they didn't appropriate the money for school choice. but his advocacy, persist the bullyusing pulpit, gave us national goals, standards, school choice, charter schools, all of the difference was that he insisted that we not have a national school board in the process. his successors all tended to edicts.hington president clinton, president george w. bush, president obama. they feltrstand why that way. they were eager to see results.
and so they thought, let washington order texas teansd tennesseesin -- and texans and wisconsin to do it. that back fired. as we stepped back and used advocacy instead of as president george h.w. bush understood, we got a more lasting result. so he was well-prepared. gentleman. he was a pioneer in education. some people are suggesting he be the most effective one-term president in our history. he could very well be, if you add it all up. the gulf war, handled like it was. reunification of germany. the successful disintegration of the soviet union. the clean air laws. the americans with disabilities act. pioneering in education with america 2000. balancing the budget. lot to do in four years. james poke is the only one
that might give him a run for his money in terms of that accolade. i wish i remember when the gulf war was over. speakesident bush came to to the congress. i'll close with this. i was the -- it was the first to sitd have a chance and listen to a presidential address, as a member of the cabinet. remember thinking, after sot wonderful victory, well-done, a million men on the very fewnd women, casualties. the rest of the world paid for most of the war. we avoided going into baghdad, a very successful operation. the president's approval rating was at 91%. i remember thinking i wish he would say now that we have won war, let's turn our thention to home and apply same sort of energy to america 2000 and make america 2000 his entire domestic program. perhaps it would have been
difficult for bill clinton to him that year if that had been his domestic agenda. no one will ever know. what we do know, he was a gentleman, he was as well-prepared as any president history for the job, he served at a time when we needed that preparation because the challenges were immense, he was a pioneer in education, and he may have been the most successful one-term president in history. who put the country first and whom we all admire. george h.w. bush. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. >> mr. president. >> senator from texas. >> mr. president, i join my friend comedy senator from tennessee, in saying a few words about the service of george herbert walker bush. i would note the difference
between him and me, though, is he, having served as education secretary and worked here under howard baker and then having had a chance to work with and watch and listen to george herbert walker bush firsthand has the advantage over me. i certainly know the bush family and president bush 41 from my experience in texas. they were the dominant family in influence and politics in texas, certainly during the time i grew up in politics, but i appreciate the comments the senator from tennessee has made. he and i have had a conversation about what our side of the aisle needs to do more in the area of supporting public education, which is, i think, probably at the top of the list of most people's concerns, and certainly when you look at what happened in the mid-term elections, particularly in the suburbs, and you talk to people about what
motivated them one way or the other, education had to be high up on that list and we simply need to try to find a way to work together to come up with creative ways we can demonstrate our support for public education, and i think our constituents will respond very well to that. the other is -- and certainly the senator from tennessee is the chairman of the health, education, labor, and pensions committee and responsible for a lot of the legislation that emanates from this body, and that is another area that, frankly, i think we did not do as good a job as we could or should have done explaining what we were for and what we could do actually to bring premiums down and make health care more successful. so i appreciate the senator from tennessee's contributions to this body and his comments, but --erly about this great particularly about this great man.
and i think it's important to say not just a great man, but a good man, george herbert walker bush. we know to his family he was a loving and caring father, grandfather, and great grandfather. to his country he was a devoted public servant who fought to defend our freedoms and led our nation at the end of the cold war and at the fall of the berlin wall. every time i think about the fall of the berlin wall in 1989, i think about my dad, who was a b-17 pilot in world war ii. he was shot down on his 26th bombing mission over nazi germany. he was stationed in molsworth, england, and he and his fellow crew in the 303rd bomb group in the eighth air force would fly their bombing missions from england, in this case molsworth air force base across the english channel, and drop their bombs in germany in an effort to bring them end to that terrible, terrible war.
unfortunately, my dad died before the berlin wall came down, and i really -- that's one of my regrets, that he was unable to see what ultimately happened as a result of that terrible war in world war ii, a war that, according to one expert who i read one of his books recently, he calculated that 39 million people died in world war ii. it's a shocking number, but we need to be reminded of what the horrible wages of war can be. 20 million people died in the soviet union alone. i know that staggers our imagination, but we need to remember our history, or in the words of a wise man, we are going to be condemned to relive it. but certainly george herbert walker bush's contribution to ending the cold war and bringing down the berlin wall are one of his most notable achievements.
he served his country first as a war hero. he actually enlisted in the navy after the attack at pearl harbor. he, like a lot of other young men, decided this was the time to come to the aid of their country. after nearly losing his life, after being shot down, but then being saved by rescuing forces, he came back home, and like so many of the greatest generation, he went to work and raised a family. in my dad's case, he too was part of that greatest generation. fortunately he got out of that prisoner of war camp and came back and met my mother and married and had a family and continued his education, and like so much of the greatest generation, made enormous contributions to this country in the post-world war ii era that we are benefiting from even today.
we also know that george herbert walker bush represented his fellow americans starting as a congressman in houston, texas, and then he moved on to be director of the central intelligence agency. he was vice president, he was president. it's been said that george herbert walker bush was the best prepared person ever to have served as president, by virtue of his experience and his resume, and i think there's a lot of truth to that. alluding to the time in the navy, you could say he was an anchor for our country during tumultuous times, steady and strong. and while he was a fierce defender of his principles and ideals, he was sometimes seen as a quiet soldier. some people even commented, i know, they said he's too nice a person to be president. i think that's a misconception. he was, it is true, both a good man and a great leader, but i think he showed us you could be
both. not all great leaders are good men. we are all flawed, of course, but he showed that you could be both a good man and a great leader. president bush carried the lessons he learned in the navy with him. specifically, we heard from the vice president he yesterday at the ceremony in the rotunda. he was talking about a concept known to pilots as the acronym cavu, which stands for ceiling and visibility unlimited. i only mention this again after the vice president talked about it yesterday because president bush mentioned it on his 80th birthday, and he said it summed up his attitude about his life perfectly. he said, you see, that is where my life is now. thanks to my family and friends, my life is ceiling and visibility unlimited, or cavu.
and through all he did, his compassion, his love of country, and his basic basic humanity and strong optimism shown through, which made him such an attractive political figure and one reason for his tremendous success, because people liked him and they believed in him. they believed he was doing what he did for the right reasons. after long and tough campaign for his second term for president, a campaign which he lost, he left a letter to the newly elected president bill clinton. there has been some social media circulating this letter, but i think it's worth noting because it's a snapshot into his character and the type of man he was. he wrote to president clinton, your success now is our country's success. i am rooting hard for you. it takes a big man to say that to your competitor after a tough
losing campaign, but, again, this is a window into the character of a good and great man. just like everything else he did, it was gracious and sincere. this letter conveyed the same sense of, it's not about me, it's about the country. in a word, it's about patriotism, a word that embodies president bush so well. he was the type of man that makes us look at our own lives and asked, what more can i do for my country, for my countrymen and women we all love? college,duating from he went to midland, texas, kind of an improbable place to go in those days, but he wanted to get involved in the oil business. he later, after his successes in midland texas, in the permian basin, which continues to be one
of the greatest reserves of oil and gas in the united states, he went on to houston and grew his business and, ultimately, as i said earlier, ran for congress. even though texas was an adopted home for him, texans loved and embraced him. as we did the entire bush family. we were privileged to have president bush as one of our own. he once said, i'm a texan and an american. what more could a man ask for? i don't think anyone could have said it better. throughout his time in public service and even afterwards, he could have moved anywhere in the world, but he chose to live his life in texas and in the warm embrace of the state and the people he loved. president bush felt a kindred spirit at texas a&m university, choosing it first to bear his legacy through his presidential
library and a graduate school of government and public service, and later to be his and barbara bush's final resting place. president bush, i think, identified with the university's unique culture, including its inculcation of patriotic values and the emphasis it places on hard work and public service. president bush taught us all that there's nothing more powerful in life than the power of a good example, and he challenged all of us, and he still does, by the standards he set for himself. joined by my colleague from texas, senator cruz, today we have introduced a resolution recognizing the nearly 30 years of public service president bush devoted to our state and our nation. president bush is in the nation's capital one last time, where many have and will
continue to have the opportunity to pay their respects and give their thanks for his extraordinary life. president bush once wrote in a letter to his mother, quote, "tell the truth. don't blame people. be strong. do your best. try hard. forgive. stay the course." president bush never chose the easy road to sacrifice doing what he thought was just and right. in the words of scripture, he fought the good fight. he finished the race. and he kept the faith. in his book "all the best," he writes that he wanted a plain gravestone, like the ones in arlington cemetery, with his navy number on the back and also he requested that a quotation be placed there as well.
"he loved barbara very much." this is the man he was. i know he has gone on to join the love of his life, barbara, and their daughter robin. a truly honorable and gracious man has gone home to god. mr. president, i yield the floor. announcer: one day after being released from federal prison, george papadopoulos, former advisor on the trump presidential campaign, sat down for an interview, along with his life -- his wife. mr. cap annapolis just finished serving a two week sentence in connection with the russian investigation. this interview hosted by the american priority conference is just over an our. -- an hour. >> [indiscernible]