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Washington pays tribute to McCain: ‘He would fight tooth and nail for his vision of the common good’

Washington pays tribute to John McCain at the Capitol
Blurb: At a ceremony inside the Capitol Rotunda Friday, Sen. John McCain's family gathered as lawmakers paid final respects, and top Republicans testified to his independent streak. Judy Woodruff reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    This has also been a day of tributes to the fallen, starting with the late Senator John McCain here in Washington.

    He lay in state today in the building where he spent decades of his political life.

    It rained briefly as Senator McCain's casket arrived at the U.S. Capitol, along with his family, from grandchildren to his 106-year-old mother, Roberta. But the weather did nothing to dampen the ceremony inside the Capitol Rotunda.

    Lawmakers paid final respects, and top Republicans testified to McCain's independent streak.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-K.y.:

    He would fight tooth and nail for his vision of the common good. Depending on the issue, you knew John would either be your staunchest ally or your most stubborn opponent.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    House Speaker Paul Ryan recalled the former Navy pilot turned politician as plainspoken.

  • Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.:

    From time to time, found myself on the receiving end of John's distinct brand of candor, happily so. I remember thinking more than once, yes, he really does talk like a sailor.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Vice President Mike Pence remembered a man of boundless energy displayed during a trip to Iraq.

  • Vice President Mike Pence:

    After another 18-hour day, when I was literally falling asleep in the middle of a dinner with Iraqi officials, after the dinner, John, who was more than 20 years older than me, walked up, put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Mike, we have got a few more meetings tonight. But why don't you turn in? You look like you could use some rest."

    "Thanks, John."

  • Judy Woodruff:

    McCain had openly feuded with President Trump. And it's widely reported the president was asked not to attend today. But the vice president praised McCain's long service in the military, then the House and finally the Senate.

  • Vice President Mike Pence:

    In every generation, there are those who put country first, who prize service ahead of self, who summon idealism from a cynical age. John McCain was such a man.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Afterward, family and friends had their own moments beside the casket, and the doors opened to the public. A formal memorial service follows tomorrow at Washington National Cathedral.

    We will have more on today's remembrances of John McCain later in the program.

    And in Detroit, the star-studded funeral for Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. The Greater Grace Temple in Detroit was filled with soaring musical tributes from Ariana Grande and Faith Hill. Smokey Robinson and former President Bill Clinton were two of those who delivered eulogies during the daylong event.

    We will take some time to listen to more of those tributes later in the program.

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