McCain (full film) | FRONTLINE PBS Documentary on the life of Sen. John McCain
Tonight. Our deliberations. More partisan, than at any time that, I can remember as America, remembers John McCain John, McCain fused, together -, almost opposing. Concepts, he was all about duty and he was all about dissent, the. Life politics, and legacy, of a maverick in some ways McCain, is a pioneer. Of the politics I think we're gonna get and in, some ways I think he's the last of a breed of something we're losing tonight. On Frontline, McCain. You. This. Is a big, day can't, underestimate on, July 27th, 27, is scheduled. To vote on the latest version of the Builder they're gonna be there all night what's, called the bow to Rob Washington, was closely watching Senator John McCain's, anticipated. Vote on health care about, he, was the key vote on President Trump's, first major legislative, initiative, a repeal. Of Obamacare. Every. Time he saw him it was like do you know you're gonna vote do you know you're gonna vote and he was, grouchier. And grouchy as the day went on as he sometimes gets and. He, just. Said stay, tuned you know it's sort of like what he kind of was even saying like watch the vote it'll be a show he is expected, to return to capital, just over a week before McCain. Had been diagnosed, with a deadly form of brain cancer, everybody. Knew at that point it came down to all people John McCain the one who had been fighting, with the president who had been. America's, he portrayed. Himself all these years and, all. Eyes. Are on him today, senators, are voting on a repeal, only, plan but it. All came down to one vote on, one night at, 1:30 in the morning it. Was the most dramatic. Night, on the Senate floor I had, seen, in. All my years up there mr., Barasa the. Votes ticking away the boat's ticking away and McCain's on the floor, he's. Not voting, mr.. Blue it was perfect, manifestation, of John McCain's career that it would fall to him in the middle of the night to, render final judgment, on president, Tom's major legislative. Initiative. Fellow. Republican, senator Susan Collins had, been pushing McCain to vote against the bill Trump was back in, Lisa. Murkowski and, I knew, that he had reservations. We. Were talking, with him about, the bill and all. Of a sudden he pointed, to both of us and he said, you know you. Two are right. It. Then that, I felt, a tap on my shoulders. And I, turned around and, it. Was vice-president pence. Pence. Had come to pressure McCain to support the president, the. Vice president, stood toe-to-toe. With. John McCain and he, was in a space it was it was very close they went on for I, don't know it seemed like 15 or 20 minutes back and forth back and forth one. Of the things I most admire, about, John, McCain, is, he, cannot, be intimidated, by, anyone, or. Anything. He. Knew he had the power to enable Trump's, presidency, to give him a new lease on life or to, ensure a. Critical. Defeat early in his presidency. Vice. President pence turned on his heel and walked away. And. Then it was time for McCain, to vote. He. Saw Mitch McConnell, looking more and more unhappy his arms were closed and you. Could tell from the body language on the Republican, side that they were very worried. John. McCain walks up to where, the vote. Clerks are and he lists, his hand very dramatically. He. Knew that this was his one last chance to. Really take a stand, capture the nation's imagination in, the process, but. Also remind his party that they had to do things differently. McCain. With. A thumbs down gesture. Shocked. The chamber. You. Could hear, audible. Gasp, in, the chamber. And those, gasps the, surprise, came from both sides of the ice. This. Was John McCain as, people. Had come to know him over decades. In public service, and it sort of stood out as kind of this cinematic, culmination. Of the, career that he has had in Washington, in a shocking folks Senator, John McCain delivering, a deathblow. President. Trump was furious, he, tends. To lash out most bitterly, in those moments and with, John McCain's, thumbs, down no vote he, just watched six, months of his presidency kind, of evaporate.
Into Nothingness he had gotten nothing nothing. Done in that time, the. President used the weight of his office to try to punish McCain, president. Trump is holding, a make America, great again rally in Phoenix the occasion was a rally and McCain's home state campaign, style event tonight this is harmony here in McCain country, Trump. Took him on they. All said, please, mr., president don't. Mention, any, names. So. I won't. I won't. We. Were just one, vote. Away, from victory, after, seven, years of. Everybody. Proclaiming. Repeal. And, replace. One. Vote, he, criticizes John McCain who at this point has been diagnosed, with brain cancer, not by name but it's clear who's criticizing. Very. Presidential, is it very president. Trump. Had been targeting, McCain for years at. Senator, John McCain should be defeated in the primaries, graduated. Last in his class at Annapolis dummy. He, portrayed McCain as a symbol of the old Republican. Party retweet. McCain, epitomizes. The career politicians who, have gotten us into our 19, trillion dollar trainwreck, Trump. Attacked him as a failed presidential, candidate, John, McCain led, us down by, losing to Barack Obama in, his run for president, and Trump, expressed his personal disdain. Retweets. Sen, John McCain is, always, talking, talking. But nothing gets done. And. For his part McCain, made no secret of his distaste for Trump a kinder. More respectful. Debate not whether somebody's, a jerk or not, now on top is everything, John McCain doesn't like he's not somebody served in the military he's. Not somebody who had given to his country in any serious, way for, McCain as sort of I think a pretty sour moment, in politics because, they don't like losers, but, Trump even attacked McCain's record, as a Vietnam veteran is that war hero he's. A war, he's. A war hero because he was captured I like. People that weren't captured okay I hate to tell you she, was awarded that is a war hero because. He was captured. It. Was not the first time John McCain had clashed with a powerful political run. This. More than three decades career, defined. By, conflict, with his own point of course a frequent, critic of President Obama's, heart is this the best self-styled, maverick, nation in an increasingly, partisan, Washington. John. McCain had been a public figure since, that day he was captured in North Vietnam when he was 31 I was on a flight over. The city of, Hanoi and. I, was. Bombing. And, it was hit. By. Either missile, or, anti-aircraft fire, I'm, not sure which. He. Landed, in a lake, in hanoi. Went. Down somehow. Managed, with his teeth, because his arms, were like all screwed up to pull. The plug, that caused, life life vests to inflate. McCain. Wrote about it in his autobiography faith. Of my father's a crowd. Of several hundred Vietnamese. Gathered, around me as I, lay dazed before, them shouting. Wildly at me stripping, my clothes off spitting. On me kicking. And striking, me repeatedly, and. I was picked up by some North. Vietnamese, and. Taken. To the hospital. Where. I almost. Died, John, wouldn't go to sleep he's on I cast his, eyes a feverish. He's in bad bad shape I, thought he's gonna die what. Is your name Lieutenant. Commander John. The North Vietnamese had discovered, McCain, was not just any captain may I know who, is your father. Could. You name him and, tell me ways yes. His name is Admiral John. McCain and he's in London England, yeah. You're doing what he's, commander-in-chief, of, the u.s. naval, forces in Europe. McCain's. Father would soon be in charge of all forces in the Pacific. John. Was prize they, referred to him as the Prince we've got the Prince. They. Realized, that they have this. Exceptional. Public relations. Tool, and they. Say op to him a high your. The crown prince. The. Crown prince's grandfather. They called him Popeye was. A legendary, Admiral in World War two. Here. Posing with McCain's father in Japan on the day the Japanese surrendered. With. The family legacy of service, and Duty McCain. Reluctantly, had followed them to the Naval Academy I was. An arrogant undisciplined. Insolent. Midshipman, who, felt it necessary to, prove my mettle by, challenging. Authority he. Graduated from the bottoms class and he managed to accumulate as, he calls it a very impressive catalog, of demerits, he. May not have wanted to go to the Naval Academy but, he got in because of who his dad was he, didn't get thrown out because of whose dad was despite his best efforts and. Everything. In his life was because of what his last name was it's. Hard to grow up in a family with a military, legacy that his family has and, it goes back to George Washington, General Staff that stuff. Is there it's like osmosis so, John's got all this then he goes that could shut down and now he's almost dead and.
He. Fights to survive how, many lates have you done until, the last one at 23. McCain. Says he made a decision it. Would compromise with, his captors, cooperate. Was this interview and returned for medical attention and. A chance to send a message to his wife if you have anything to say to the people you love and the, people who loves you, please, tell it now this time is yours I. Would. Just like to tell. Like, what I. Don't. Get well I. Lover. Hope, to, see her. Appreciated, you tell her before long. The North Vietnamese wanted, even more her, confession, of war crimes. Something. McCain was duty-bound not, to give them he, refused, and. Was beaten, the. Prick came in with two other guards, lifted, me to my feet and gave me the worst beating I had yet experienced. They, left me lying on the floor moaning from the stabbing pain in my, refraction, arm. There. Was the sheer pain of it and the. Deprivation and, humiliation. It's, a horrible experience we had to endure it 24 hours a day seven days a week four five six, seven. Eight nine years. Fearing. He would break under torture McCain. Saw only one way to avoid dishonor. Suicide. Despairing. A mini relief from pain and further torture, and fearing the close approach, of my moment, of dishonor I tried. To take my life with. My right arm I pushed, my shirt through one of the upper shutters and back through a bottom shutter as I. Looping around my neck the prick saw the shirt through the window he. Pulled me off the bucket and beat, me we. Wanted, to take our lives. Because. We couldn't, take, the pain and, if. We couldn't take the pain we were scared to death would do something, to hurt our country. He. Had failed to kill himself they. Continued, to beat him. Eventually. John mccain gave up they. Would get their confession. Finally. They, had me signed the document, the. Next morning they ordered me to record my confession, on tape i, refused. And, was beaten until i consented, he, believed he had dishonored, his country and disgraced. His family. We. All feel guilty, because the code of conduct says you will give only name rank serial number and date of birth and john wayne of course could do that because, he was tough and he could spit in their ID and get away with it well, the real world is.
This You. Can get information from, people. The. Confession, was broadcast, as north vietnamese propaganda. I. Couldn't. Rationalize, away my confession, I was. Ashamed I felt, faithless, and couldn't, control my despair, I shook. As if my disgrace were a fever, it, was quite disconsolate, but, it was the guy in the cell next to him who told him he had done the best he could gather. A strength go, back at him the next day and I, think that, was that was the great moment of self-discovery, for, him, he. Realizes, what is, important, in life you. Really, have to count on yourself you. Have to to lean on the guy next to you and he has to be able to lean on you and depend on you some, very very basic, core. Fundamental. Things in life that some people go through their whole lives never learn he, learned at a relatively, early age and I think he went from being a probably. A real cocky, sob to. Being a fellow who's pretty well grounded what's, important in life McCain's. Fellow POWs point. To a key event in his detention. With. His father about to take charge of the Pacific Command including. The war in Vietnam. Mccain, was offered special treatment, an early. Release mccain. Believed, that. This was an effort. On the part of, the, north vietnamese. To. Embarrass, his father. To. Show the, son, of a high-ranking. Admiral, being, released, and having special, privileges, and you know so basically cane smelled a rat, this. Time mccain, did not give him but. He's got a family, legacy, and it's again, it's about honor, it's, about those. Obligations. Spoken, or sworn. To that. You just don't, do things like that. In. The end it would be nearly five more years before john, mccain was released, we. Today, have concluded, an agreement to, end the war and bring peace, with honor in vietnam, the. Effects, of the torture and his injuries would remain he'd. Never be able to raise his arms above his head he. Was, a former powr. Hero. A celebrity. So. The Navy put him right out front with the politicians, when, members of Congress travel they usually have a captain. Or colonel as escort officer and. John. Was our escort, officer on several trips he. Was just fun. To be with and he. Had a sense, of derring-do, and let's go do some things and let's hop on the plane let's go to such-and-such country. Rather. Quickly he becomes friends with, some. Of the younger Senators Gary. Hart bill, Cohen later, Secretary. Of Defense Eric. We would hit, a couple, of bars and have some beers together, it. Was mostly three relatively, young guys who, were having a good time together. After. A while mccain, decided, he wanted to join the club is, a bright, sharp guide i'm sure he looked around and said boy these, guys can do this I can do this. The. Congress John McCain wanted to join was very different from the one today. He. Got to know a young staffer, in bill Cohen's office Susan. Collins when. John, was the navy liaison. He. Saw. A Congress, that worked much, more collaboratively. That. Was far less partisan. And that, got more done. Republicans. And Democrats saw each other as colleagues, not enemies and. It would color his view it was shape his view of how Washington. Should work for the rest of his career but. Before getting into politics McCain, rearranged. His personal, life his. Wife Carol had dutifully, waited through the pows, years a. Former. Model she'd, been severely crippled, in a car accident while McCain was in Vietnam, but.
Soon The couple would divorce. My. Marriages, collapse was attributable, to my own selfishness, and immaturity, more. Than it was to Vietnam, and I, cannot escape blame by pointing a finger at the war the. Blame was entirely mine. He. Was known to have an eye for women, and a taste for the high life, one, night in Hawaii he. Found what he was looking for. Was. Love at first sight and that was it said I met a gal that you just got to meet and he said I think this is this is the gal I'm 11. That. Was him bill, Cohen and I were members, of his wedding party when in he and Cindy were, married in Arizona. Cindy's. Father owned, the lucrative beer distributorship, in Arizona he. Was rich and connected, soon. John, McCain would be - for. Me it was a natural saying, you're in love with this young, woman from Arizona. You're. Conservative. Arizona's. Conservative, state go. Run in Arizona you'll have your family there and that will be the basis will you start. His. Leadership, is giving us something precious. For. The future, Iran, is an old-fashioned, pragmatic. Small government conservative. He. Won a congressional, election and. Then. Barry Goldwater's, former seat in the Senate. Mccain. Adjusted, quickly to Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush's, Washington, where, Republicans, often worked with Democrats to pass legislation I, worked. Here in the Senate 40 years ago as a staff member if, you did a scatterplot of the voting records of the hundred senators, there, were at least 20 who overlapped. More. Liberal, Republicans. There's a term you don't hear much anymore and, conservative. Democrats in. That. Environment john mccain star was rising. But. Then his, career was nearly derailed never. Before have five senators, been accused of intervening, with federal rating, five for, democratic senator everything is going great and then BAM. This scandal hits and even by today's standards, it was a big scandal, involving. Five very, important members the United States Senate. At. The center of the scandal was, McCain's friend and contributor, Charles. Keating an. Arizona. High Roller of the owner of a failed Savings and Loan, McCain, understands. And he he'll admit that when his obituary is written the. Keating, scandal, will be somewhere high. In the obituary. And so he. Understands, the. Dark stain that that had on his career he understands, that McCain. And four other senators, were accused of pressuring, government, regulators, to back off of Keating, and his, and. It, got to the core of the, think John McCain cares about most his, personal, integrity his honesty, it got to the very core of what is most important, to him I seek a speedy and just resolution to this process and I will continue to cooperate and. Assist the committee in every way possible he, was angry, about it he, was hurt by it he. Felt guilty by. McCain. Decided, what he called Straight Talk was, called for and. He said so from this day forward he says we're gonna take every. Interview that we can take we're gonna prioritize. Arizona. Media over national media but we'll do them all. This. Man is a United. States Senator. And you are about to hear him say something that very few senators, have ever said before listen. Carefully, it, was a very serious mistake on my part the, appearance, of a meeting with five senators, was bad and wrong and I agonized, it over the time this, was, the beginning of a pattern that he has developed, at, moments, of crisis he'll. Stand there until the last reporter, sits down I think. It's worked, very well for him, the. Press backed off and, the Congress all but cleared him of wrongdoing Senator. McCain has violated, no law of the United States or specific. Rule of the United States Senate, they said he was guilty of poor, judgment, most, people said after having gone through what he went through the kt5 that's it his chances, of any national office are over are done with and by the way he's probably not gonna be very successful in the United States Senate he.
Proved Them wrong his life has been proving. People wrong in. The wake of the scandal McCain. Began to repair his political image he, will survive a Vietnamese. Prisoner of war camp he will survive political, scandal, and he is relentless. Nothing. Will stop him no, matter how many times he trips. Up. But, the Republican, Party was changing, around the cane in, one of the most contentious, election few, sweet moments, for the democratic, revolution of election, 94, Kappa. 94, elections, had fundamentally, changed, the nature of the Republican, Party so you had the Gingrich revolution, which. Had created, the idea of a party with a much harder edge than, it had been prior. To that whether it was George HW Bush, or or or Ronald Reagan would be a fundamental, shift. The. Leader of the party was now Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, the. Republicans, were becoming more ideological, and, McCain didn't fit I. Think McCain, is, a really. Deep desperate. Sense of marching, to his own drum and what. That means that one level is that, it. Expresses, itself sometimes in a need to go kick people in the shins. And. And, he. Occasionally adopts, an idea which is. Abhorrent. To modern. Conservatism, McCain. Would chart his own course as, an independent-minded Republican, a, champion. Of campaign, finance, reform, a supporter. Of Environmental, Protection's, and. He wasn't afraid to take on the Religious Right, neither. Party, should, be defined, by pandering, to the outer reaches, of American, politics, and the agents of intolerance, whether, they be Louis, Farrakhan, or Al Sharpton, on the left or Pat Robertson, or Jerry Falwell, on the right. The. McCain had called leaders, of the Christian Right agents, of intolerance, this was a phrase never forgotten. McCain. Was willing, to go into battle with his base on, issue after issue he was still a conservative, Republican, but. He was more willing to break from the party mainstream. Than almost any other national, GOP leader this, morning the candidates, are already in, new hampshire caucuses. Behind, him the presidential, candidate by 2000, with a national reputation as, a maverick and reformer, John. McCain. Had decided to run for president John. Felt there might be a grassroots, populist. Rebellion. Brewing, about. Reforming. Government, performing. The campaign, system, so. He decided to do it look at John McCain on the trail and in himself him steadily win a bigger and bigger slice, of the, Republican, I ran an insurgent, campaign out of a bus he called the Straight Talk Express. Challenging. The establishment, favorite george. W bush would. You instruct the party not to take any money from the tobacco I wish our party, not to take any soft money and that's tobacco, steel. That. To beat george w bush in the republican primaries, in 2000, you had to make make a virtue of what was at your disposal. Was, at his disposal was this great personality, in this great sense of humor and this, true reformer, or maverick, spirit, and. The decision was to go out and put it on display. He. Put together a coalition of, moderates and, independents and, in. A key primary, he. Upset, george w bush, over. The favorite, done extraordinary. Political, day as the, voters of New Hampshire, have stated so overwhelming. The fact that he won in every demographic. The. Primary, night itself I think. He loved it I think, he loved the experience of New Hampshire.
McCain's. Victory sent shockwaves through, the Bush campaign and, the party establishment people. Don't realize how much the Republican establishment was. Nervous about John McCain they really, did not think they could control him and that's why we saw so. Much power. Wealth. And focus, go against him in South Carolina, it was incredible. Just. Over two weeks later in South Carolina the, establishment, and the bush team struck, back, things. Happen in South Carolina were pretty ugly South, Carolina's got a long tradition of being very tough I listen. Politics. Is a tough tough tough. And. There's. No tougher than South, Carolina, in America. Bush. Allies orchestrated. A bitter underground, attack designed, to appeal to the Republican base it. Was a series, of attacks. Personal. Life distorted, political, record distorted. It's. A real smear campaign, but it. Hurt. There. Were rumors all over the state that McCain. Had fathered, a black, child out of wedlock and, that, his wife Cindy, was a drug addict, McCain's. Daughter Bridget was adopted, from Bangladesh, and Cindy. McCain had been open about how she had overcome a prescription, drug addiction, it's. Just despicable what, they did was despicable I think, they were desperate, and if. You think about it had Bush lost South Carolina, it was over, for George Bush, and. It's wrong and, it's wrong my. Friends, this, is what's going on around here you saw more and more anger from Senator McCain himself. Who. Was openly, frustrated and angry, about the, ads against, him the attacks against his wife and, you. Could also sense it he wasn't sure what to do about it that he had a conflict within him over how how, hard he pushed back, some. McCain staff wanted to counter-attack to. Fight fire with fire, but. McCain wasn't, willing he, is a scrapper and a battler but he did not want to battle on those terms in South Carolina, at that point he wasn't going to do it in, the way that he felt it was being done to him he wasn't going to answer in kind John, McCain got his. Presidential. Campaign to, an end today with to lose by almost 12 ports. Before. Long he, shut down his presidential, campaign. George. W bush went, on to win the presidency. As. John. Mccain returned, to the senate to many republicans, it was an outsider they've been bad for him in the republican caucus he had been booed at one point when he walked in he really felt like these, are not the guys he was comfortable. With they didn't have that much in common he. Was really a bitter, man in those days, he. Was angry for the way he was treated, he was angry because his staff were not asked to be part of the new administration he, was angry because he thought George Bush was playing, to the most conservative, elements. Within his own party and, for, all those reasons he felt alienated. Became. Positioning, himself as, the voice of dissent in Bush's Republican, Party, McCain. Came out of the 2000, campaign drawn. To the idea that he had become a brand he. Represented. Something to, the American public of independence, pragmatism. Bipartisanship. And he, moved very aggressively, to maximize, a leverage, of that brand legislatively. McCain. Fought the Bush administration. As tax cuts as benefiting, the wealthy and. While he supported, the Iraq war he. Criticized, the president's, strategy as, inadequate. Demonstrators. Gathered, outside Iraq's. Abu, Ghraib but it was the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American, soldiers at Abu Ghraib that most enraged, the former POWs. It. Was incensed, I thought, was shameful, I'm gravely concerned. That. Many Americans, will have the, same impulse. As I did when I saw this picture and that's to turn away from and. We. Risk losing public. Support, for this conflict. As. Americans. Turned away from the, Vietnam War they. May turn away from this one and, with secretary I'd like to know what, were the instructions, to the guards. That. Is what the. Investigation. That I've indicated has, been undertaken. Determining. That's a very simple, straightforward question. Well. The mccain would insist the Bush administration, changed its policy, on the torture. They. Are that's. About who we, are and. These are values, that distinguish. Us from our, enemies. He'd. Been fighting with the Bush administration. For years but. As the 2008, election approached McCain. Still had ambitions, to be President takes, a while till he kind of comes around to the idea that for, his own interest, he needs to find a way to reconcile, with the president and reconcile with the party it is at this point George Bush's party first, he would make peace with george w bush if, he could forgive and, make, peace with.
The Leaders of North Vietnam, who. Tortured, him for six, years it wasn't that hard to get. Over it and make reconciliation. With, George Bush is. This the best the Republicans, can do because you nor any of you tempted to vote for t McCain more, challenging, McCain. Had to win over the Republican, voters who had rejected him last time. The. Best he decided that to become the nominee he had to make peace with the bush a wing. Of the party and with with people who are avid Bush supporters, and he set out to do so. He. Even embraced Reverend, Jerry Falwell, the. Founder, of the evangelical. Liberty University, a man. He had previously called, an agent, of intolerance. Reverend. Falwell came to see him said. You know put, our past differences. Behind us or acrimony, behind us or something and, then asked him on the spot if he would consider giving the commencement address at. Liberty. And he responded. On the spot sure. I. Heard. This crazy story, that, Senator John McCain, is giving. The commencement address at Jerry, Falwell University. Well. Before I bring on my two attorneys, I'd, like to. I. Love. You it cut against, you know everything, that McCain had done and said up to that point why. I did it is because of. The. Fact that my kids said why haven't you been on the stun jon stewart show lately, and i figured that was the best way to do that Senator. John. McCain is a politician, he's. Been elected to the Senate he's, involved in politics, he understands. That, yesterday's, battles, are yesterday's battles. And if you're gonna win tomorrow's you. Get may have to do things differently so you're freaking out on us because if you're freaking out just and you're just going into the crazy base world, are. You going into crazy base world I'm. A I'm. Afraid, so, McCain, has demonstrated both. Temperamental. Inclination, and, a real ability over the course of his political life, to. To. Do things that are politically, expedient and at, the same time signal, with a sense of irony and. Attachment, that. He doesn't really, like doing it that in a sense he's being forced by political, necessity to, do it. By. The first Republican, presidential primary in, New Hampshire it. Looked like McCain was on the right track my, friends you. Know I'm past. The age when, I can claim the noun kid, no. Matter what adjective, precedes, it. But. Tonight we. Sure showed them what a comeback looks like. McCain. Had positioned, himself as the heir apparent, to george w bush. But. There was a growing problem the, party was changing, the, president's. Support among the base deteriorating. No. Republican wants to be the third turn of doors IV bush he. Is a radioactive figure, at that point for the party and they, are divided over what the party should stand for at this point the key frankly. Has shown conservatives. Little, but contempt, over inside. The Republican Party, a rebellion, was underway and McCain. Now, the establishment. Candidate, was a target. They. Called him a RINO. Republican. In name of. Emma. Kratz how's, this guy gonna unite his party what's he gonna do Rush Limbaugh is out there on the radio every day telling people they'd be crazy to vote for this guy the. Opposition, to McCain came to a head here at the annual meeting of CPAC, the. Conservative, Political Action, Conference. They. Reluctantly, agreed to hear John McCain plead for their support. I've, never seen an instance where, somebody, in his position who. Is the. De facto leader of the. Party heading, into the next election walks, into an audience like that and gets. The kind of booze that he got I. Mean. It was extraordinary, to hear it now it's not as though everybody in the audience was booing but it, was loud. And, it. Was real it's. Been a little while since I've, had the honor of addressing, you, and. I appreciate very much your courtesy, to me today you, know we should do this more often. John. Wanted to make the case that here's, who I am on judges here's who I am on Texas, I believe, in limited government here's why I fight earmarking, earmarking. Is a corruption, of government I believe today is. I believe 25. Years ago in small government, fiscal.
Discipline. Low taxes a strong defense, judges, who inform, and not make our laws it's. Like if this thinnest balance, beam that's, probably existed. Because he started on one side he's trying to still retain them, I'm the independent, I'm the moderate I can, appeal I'm the Maverick on the other side is you can trust me I'm a good Republican I am pro-life and an advocate, for the rights of man everywhere, in the world, I will. Never waver in that conviction, I promise. You that. Day was a reminder that he still had a considerable, amount of work to do with the conservative. Base of the party. I think. What McCain did which almost killed him was, he tried to become mr. insider, and he tried to become mr. establishment. And, the truth was it didn't work I mean that nobody. Believed it on either side and. It made him look kind of foolish he's. Not an insider. Making. Things worse for McCain he, faced a formidable opponent in, the general election. Barack. Obama was, surging, in the polls. McCain. Is look at this campaign and he see that the energies on the other side that. The, momentum. Is on the other side that the freshness is on the other side. Because. Somebody stood up a few. All stood up. It. Was really, hard, for John. McCain. Especially. Having, worked. So hard to. Prove himself a, real conservative, to. Run against, the first, african-american. Candidate, this exciting. Young. Charismatic, figure. Who represented. Change just by getting up in the morning we will win this election we. Will change the, course of history. McCain. Was in trouble, and he knew it he needed. A dramatic, gesture by. The summer when McCain got ready to make a vice. Presidential, selection we, were behind and. We would have expected to go into the fall behind, so. John wanted to do something a little different, this. Is where John McCain will, appear with his. The, announcement, of his vice presidential, running mate was a closely, guarded secret, it's. Amazing, it was so amazing they were so, all the secrecy about it the secret, cars and secret names and the false airports. And it. Was the most wanted story, by any political court reporter, in this country everybody, wanted to find out who this wise. Thank. You thank you. You. Needed to find someone, an. African-american. Running, you, got to find a woman but. You have to find a woman who meets, some of the litmus tests in your own party. At. The time few. Realized that the decision was a turning, point for the Republican Party and the, history of American, politics, was. Probably the rascist, decision, that John McCain and the people around him ever made the truth is they didn't know enough about her other than the fact that she excited. The base McCain's. Advisers thought she, was, very. Different than what she turned out to be they didn't realize that she would. Be this. Populist. Crusader. And. Turn and turn into, a sort of right-wing grassroots. Populist. As. She, arrived at McCain's Republican, convention. Palin. Stole the show. Well. I'm, not a member of the permanent political. Establishment. Palin's. Arrival on the scene is, the opening chapter, in a way of the transformation, of the Republican Party into the Tea Party movement the. Idea that what we are going to reward are people who want to blow up the system who, are bomb throwers, who are fire, brands who appeal, to anger who appealed to grievance. I'm not going to Washington to, seek their good opinion I'm, going, to Washington to, serve the people of this. She. Electrified, the crowds with, her own brand of prairie populism. Attacks. On the Washington, establishment and, those, she labeled the elites. Quickly. These last few days that if, you're not a member in good standing of, the Washington, elite then. Some in the media consider, a candidate, unqualified. For that reason, alone. But. She. Didn't talk like politicians she, didn't she was careful with her words that she didn't. Make a lot of sense sometimes, I love those Hockey Moms you, know they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull, lipstick. Sarah. Palin was whatever, she, needed to be to. Get attention and, applause and, money, she. Was an entertainer and she. Was antithetical to everything john, mccain believed about politics.
John. Mccain assured, an insurgent, somebody, coming in from the outside literally. From alaska, and then also in, every other way in terms of her background and, her regard, for a lead institutions. She's. Something else sarah. Palin's completely, transformed. Republican, Party and the next president. Which, seems to fine as, Palin, connected, to the party's base in, a way he never could I kidded. John about a costume one. Day a week they campaign, together and. He would always double, his crowds me she was there she had tremendous, appeal among, the conservative grassroots, and. Among the campaign's grassroots, supporters, the. Anger was boiling over. I remember. Going to John McCain rallies in 2008. And for the first time having members in the crowd start, to throw things at reporters, you. Know, that. Was new there, was so much anger that, you, know members, in the McCain audience, were wanted. To throw it somewhere. Much. Of the anger was directed at McCain's opponent. Barack, Obama. One. Thing that was observable. And yet ignored. Was, the degree to which there, was real. Hostility, toward, Barack Obama on. The right. The. Hostility, firsthand I can't trust Obama, I have. Read, about him and he's, not he's not he's a. He's. An Arab, he. Is not. No. No, no, ma'am no ma'am he's a he's. A he's, a decent family. Man citizen. That I just happened to have disagreements, with McCain, wouldn't take advantage of racial, prejudice they. Had a rule in the McCain campaign that, if you if. If. There was any, hint. That. That. That that the McCain campaign was. Going to use racial, animus, against, Barack Obama you. Would have been fired, and banned from Republican, politics, it was a red line that. Was, never crossed in 2008. My wife and I are expecting our first child in April second next next, year thank you and. Frankly. Worse, were scared we're. Scared of an obama presidency, McCain, tried to reassure his, supporters, I have, to tell you he is a decent, person and a person, that you, do not have to be scared, as president. United States now I just I, just. Now. Look I I, if. I didn't think I would he doesn't want to play into that and yet he has picked somebody's a vice president, who. Encourages. That kind, of politics. So he, has both tapped into this force that she is at that point. And. His wary of what, he is got, himself into. Barack. Obama is projected, to be the next president Senator, Barack Obama, of Illinois when John McCain's quest for the presidency, ended on, the conservative Airways they, blamed him campaign. Never had a prayer and everybody. Knew it from the get-go John McCain is, a disaster. A complete, unmitigated, disaster. Can campaign, was one of the biggest, ridiculous. Disasters. In the history of campus a little while ago I had. The honor of calling Senator, Barack Obama to congratulate. Him. Please. To. Congratulate. Him on being elected. The next president of the country that we both love. John. McCain's time as leader of the Republican, Party was ending I am, also of course, very. Thankful, to governor, Sarah Palin one, of the best values. But. McCain's decision, to choose Palin, would, go on to shape the future of, the Republican, Party. The. Flash of brilliance was, choosing Sarah Palin, and I know the people around him agretti and. He had not only given. A platform to. Someone who was very corrosive to the political process, and to the party but. Had very nearly put her you know within a few feet of the presidency, and I. Would be very surprised, if that didn't, haunt him from. Then after. Race. Relations, in the months that followed, it, down America's. Roads it's another the populist, anger Sarah, Palin had tapped into all half the country races was bloated into the Tea Party movement. The. Things that Obama's doing are the exact things, the.
Hitler Did the. Politics, of grievance, and resentment, that McCain, had resisted were, on the rise radical. Communist, and socialist this. Is a party that John McCain and most Republicans don't recognize, anymore and they didn't even have the vocabulary to talk to, the members of their party there is an ugliness, with these fringe people who are comparing the president to Hitler, from that point on he's a misfit, in the party and cleared everyone, watching. Involved, that he no longer speaks, for. Sort of the ascendant. Republican. Base. McCain. Could only watch as the changes, in the Republican, Party, culminated. In a crucial moment in 2016. Iowa, everybody. Wants to do as the woman McCain had anointed Sarah. Palin. Special. Special. Pursuers. Thank you a new memory. Blending. Our support, for the, next president, of our great United, States of America Donald J Trump Tom McCain sees Donald, Trump and in effect what he's seeing is the manifestation. Of what, he, brought. To the table in 2008, by picking Sarah Palin heads are spinning. This. Is gonna be so much, Sarah Palin, was something, Republican, voters loved in 2008. And you saw Donald Trump completely, take advantage, of it and take all those sort of Palin voters and add to them that, breaking news on the campaign trail Trump is picking, up the endorsement from Sarah Palin. As. The Republican, nominee Trump. Exploited, the forces that McCain would not we. Are led by, very. Stupid. People we're. Gonna drain the swamp, of Washington. It's, gonna drive the cars up of the illegals. Almost. Everything. Stylistically. And many things about Trump substantively. Were, anathema. To John McCain there is almost, nothing about Trump. That. Is in the same space as John McCain stunning. Upset Donald Trump is honest and on election day Trump. Did what McCain could not win. The president's. Election. After. Watching president. Trump's, inaugural, as Donald Trump took, office John, McCain began his third decade, in the Senate. It's. An uncomfortable Washington. For John McCain in, part because there's a president, with whom he is at. And there. Is, Senate. And House that are doing, things that are probably more. Conservative. Than he, thought was wise. Congress. Was now very different from the one that McCain had witnessed to all those years ago it was a different, sort of period. Of time when we both, for a sense of the Congress there were certain issues that were very divisive, but most of the issues there was a way forward on common ground and. That. Common. Ground was. Shrinking dramatically. And I think his reaction was that's you know it's not good for us not good for the country. An. Ideological. Purity. Replaced. Collaboration. For. McCain, Washington. Was an increasingly, difficult place, McCain. Is one, of the last the Giants in the Senate who has, an independent identity, that is separate from his party, and it's hard to imagine whether they can be another one these days the system doesn't. Encourage. Independent. Thinkers and maverick. See people. Will get punished for that sad and shocking news about Senator and former presidential candidate John in. The summer of 2017, even. As he was diagnosed, with brain cancer. McCain. Was again the center of attention. As. He voted against, the president's, attempt to repeal Obamacare. And. Stood. Up to deliver a message to his colleagues our, deliberations.
Today Are. More partisan, more tribal more, of the time than at any time that, I can remember. Right. Now they, aren't producing, much for the American, people it. Felt like it really was symbolic, of who he has. Wanted to be this. Is who John McCain thinks he is in his heart after. A scathing statement, from Senator John McCain critic, John McCain critical, of the president, both with some very harsh news, conference, in Helsinki, Finland okhane continued. To find Senator John McCain said the president's, performance, was disgraced, a low point in the history of the American, presidents, to the very end. John. McCain senator, presidential, candidate, and Vietnam, war hero has died. You. Go. To PBS. To. Explore extended, interviews with lindsey graham's a real smear campaign, but it. Hurt Orson swindle and if we couldn't take the pain we were scared to death we'd, do something to hurt our country and, others very impressive, catalog of demerits, visit. Our film's page where you can watch more than 200, frontline documentaries. Connect. To the frontline community, on Facebook, and Twitter then, sign up for our newsletter, at pbs.org. Slash. Frontline, the stock. Market, is down, 110, years after the Great Recession that, took a piece of our soul cities. Like Dickens are still struggling to come back I actually worked in this same exact plant or GM. I'd say it probably averaged down around 35, an hour have, Puyo you started out at $12, an hour Dana's, not unique in the problems, that we are facing well, what is unique is that Dane is still small enough to fix us left, behind America. Next. Time on Frontline. For. More on this and other frontline programs visit. Our website, at pbs.org, slash. Frontline. Frontlines. Mccain, is available, on DVD, -. Where does, it shop PBS. Org, or call, 1-800. Play, PBS. Frontline. Is also available for download on iTunes.