Former McCain staffer recollects the late Senator


TED SIMONS: MANY MEMBERS OF ARIZONA'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION ATTENDED INCLUDING SENATOR JEFF FLAKE AND REPRESENTATIVES MARTHA McSALLY, DAVID SCHWEIKERT AND ANDY BIGGS. GOVERNOR DOUG DOUCEY WAS ALSO IN ATTENDANCE. --PHOENIX CITY COUNCILMAN JIM WARING IS HERE IN WASHINGTON TO ATTEND TOMORROW’S FUNERAL AT THE WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL. JIM WARING JOINS US NOW AT THE Arizona PBS- CRONKITE NEWS ROOM HERE IN WASHINGTON. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING HERE, APPRECIATE IT. TALKED EARLY THIS WEEK, WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT AGAIN. IS IT STARTING TO SINK IN?

JIM WARING: IT IS, SADLY. IT REALLY IS. IT WAS DIFFERENT. I THOUGHT AT THE SERVICES WEDNESDAY MORNING AT THE CAPITOL, SAYING GOOD-BYE TO THE CASKET. IT WAS REALLY HARD, AND I THINK PEOPLE SAW, PROBABLY A LOT OF YOUR VIEWS SAW EMOTION FROM THE FAMILY AND SOME OF THE DIGNITARIES WHO WERE THERE. PEOPLE FELT VERY STRONGLY ABOUT THIS MAN, OBVIOUSLY HIS FAMILY DID. SO DID MANY OF US WHO KNEW HIM. IT'S A SAD DAY.

TED SIMONS: THE LINES OUT THE CAPITOL ROTUNDA WERE IMPRESSIVE, HOT, RAINY AT TIMES, ARE YOU SURPRISED AT THE NATIONAL OUTPOURING FOR SENATOR McCAIN?

JIM WARING: I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT, I KNEW SOMEDAY THIS DAY WAS GOING TO COME. HARD TO PROCESS FOR EVERYBODY WHO KNEW HIM AND ENERGY, HARD TO BELIEVE THAT CANCER COULD FAIL THIS MAN, OBVIOUSLY IT DID. SOMEONE WHO RESPECTED THE WAY HE COMPORTED HIMSELF OVER MANY YEARS, AS WE TALKED ABOUT THE OTHER NIGHT. I AM VERY GRATIFIED HE IS GETTING HIS DUE. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I EXPECTED. I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE NATIONAL NEWS BUT IT HAS BEEN PRETTY MUCH OMNIPRESENT 24/7 AND NOW BEEN A WEEK ALMOST SINCE HIS PASSING, SO HE IS DEFINITELY GETTING EVERY ACCOLADE THEY THINK HE HAS DESERVED OVER THE YEARS AND IS BEING TREATED AS THE FIGURE THAT HE BECAME TO MANY AMERICANS.

TED SIMONS : REMIND US AGAIN, YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH SENATOR McCAIN GOES HOW FAR BACK?

JIM WARING: 18 YEARS, ALMOST EXACTLY 18 YEARS.

TED SIMONS: I LOVE ASKING ABOUT FIRST IMPRESSIONS, DID YOU SEE WHAT WE SEE NOW THEN?

JIM WARING: I DID. AS WE DISCUSSED THE OTHER NIGHT, I HAD NOT BEEN IN POLITICS OTHER THAN AS A VOLUNTEER, THIS IS MY FIRST POLITICAL JOB, I WAS OLDER, A LITTLE OVER 30. I THINK IT WAS ABOUT HIS BIRTHDAY IN 2000 AND HE HAD A BIRTHDAY A COUPLE DAYS AGO, AND SO IT HAD BEEN 18 YEARS ALMOST TO THE DAY OF THE RELATIONSHIP, AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT I EXPECTED, OBVIOUSLY HE WAS A POLITICIAN. I WAS INVOLVED IN POLITICS. PEOPLE MAKE JUDGMENTS ABOUT WHAT GOES ON IN POLITICS. I WAS INTERESTED IN HIS ISSUES, PARTICULARLY FOR VETERANS, BUT MOSTLY HIS BUDGET, HAWKISHNESS, THAT WAS HIS THING, AND IT ATTRACTED ME, FOR THE VIEWERS WHO MIGHT BE FAMILIAR WITH MY PUBLIC CAREER, THAT'S SOMETHING I FOCUSED ON AS WELL. HE REALLY, JUST FROM THE FIRST DAY, FIRST INTERACTIONS, THE WAY HE TREATED PEOPLE, CERTAINLY THE WAY HE TREATED ME PERSONALLY, I'M A BIASED OBSERVER. HE WAS FANTASTIC TO ME AND FAMILY IN A VERY PERSONAL WAY. WHAT I OBSERVED OF HIM WITH INTERACTIONS WITH A WHOLE HOST OF PEOPLE, YEAH, HE FAR SURPASSED EXPECTATION I WOULD HAVE HAD, AND CONTINUED TO. IT NEVER REALLY CHANGED.

TED SIMONS: OBVIOUSLY, A MENTOR. CAN YOU SEE NOW, DO YOU FIND YOURSELF SAYING THINGS, THINKING THINGS, ACTING IN CERTAIN WAYS POLITICALLY WHERE YOU GO, I KNOW WHERE THAT CAME FROM?

JIM WARING: NOT SO MUCH POLITICALLY. I DIDN'T AGREE WITH EVERY VOTE. HE KNOWS THAT. HE NEVER ONCE ASKED ME TO VOTE A CERTAIN WAY. WE TALKED ABOUT ISSUES. WE WORKED ON ISSUES TOGETHER, BUT THERE WAS NEVER A YOU SHOULD VOTE THIS WAY OR YOU DID THAT WRONG. IT WAS MORE THE WAY YOU CARRY YOURS, TREAT PEOPLE. YOU USED THE WORD MENTOR, WHETHER HE PLANNED TO BE A MENTOR OR NOT, THAT'S WHAT HE WAS, OBSERVING HIM AND HOW HE ACTED, DID I CHANGE MY BEHAVIOR? ABSOLUTELY. HOPEFULLY FOR THE BETTER, I THINK FOR SURE BECAUSE THERE WERE PLACES I WAS CLEARLY LACKING AND IF JOHN McCAIN CAN ACT THAT WAY, IF JOHN McCAIN CAN RISE ABOVE THIS OR THAT, PETTY GRIEVANCES OR WHATEVER, CERTAINLY I CAN TOO, I'M A LITTLE FURTHER DOWN THE FOOD CHAIN. IF SOMEONE IS GOING TO COVER "TIME" MAGAZINE CAN COVER EVERYONE FANTASTICALLY WELL IN MY EXPERIENCE, THAT'S SOMETHING WE CAN WORK WITH.

TED SIMONS: WITH THAT SAID, CAN THE COUNTRY GET PAST THE PETTY GRIEVANCES IN BIG, BOLD HEADLINES. SEEMS LIKE JOHN McCAIN IS GOING OUT AT A TIME WHEN THE COUNTRY MIGHT NEED HIM THE MOST?

JIM WARING: HE SET A GOOD EXAMPLE. AGAIN, FOR ME, MODIFIED MY BEHAVIOR ACCORDINGLY, I CAN BE A JERK, I TRIED TO CHANGE THAT. IN MANY DISCUSSIONS WITH HIM, IT WAS MORE HOW HE BEHAVED, FOR PEOPLE WHO SAY IT'S NOT THIS BAD, FIRST, THEY MUST NOT WATCH HISTORICAL VIDEOS ON CNN OR WHATEVER STATION OR PBS. IF YOU LOOK AT FOUNDING FATHERS, SOME OF THE THINGS THEY SAID ABOUT EACH OTHER. THEY FOUGHT DUELS. IF YOU GO TO THE LINCOLN MUSEUM IN SPRINGFIELD, THEY HAVE A ROOM, I'VE BEEN THERE TWICE, A WHOLE ROOM LIKE THIS ONE COVERED WITH NEWSPAPER HEADLINES, NEGATIVE ONES ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT LINCOLN OR PRESIDENT LINCOLN. HORRIFIC THINGS, THINGS YOU WOULDN'T DREAM ABOUT SAYING TODAY. IT HAS BEEN THIS BAD, IF YOU LOOK AT IN TERMS OF THE COUNTRY BEING DIVIDED, LOOK AT EVERY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION SINCE 1948. HOW MANY HAVE BEEN 50-50?

TED SIMONS: MOST OF THEM.

JIM WARING: IT'S BEEN LIKE THAT. NOW YOU HAVE SOCIAL MEDIA, THAT CHANGES THINGS, PEOPLE CAN SAY WHAT THEY WANT INSTANTLY, NOT JUST POLITICIANS, EVERYBODY. I'VE NOTICED A CHANGE OVER 16-YEAR PUBLIC CAREER, THERE'S DEFINITELY A CHANGE OF BEHAVIOR. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT.

TED: YET, YOU KNOW SENATOR McCAIN WANTED THAT COLLEGIALITY ON CAPITOL HILL. HE WANTED TO DISAGREE AND STILL BE AGREEABLE AFTERWARDS.

JIM WARING: NO REASON TO BE DISAGREEABLE, AND I UNDERSTAND THEY TALKED ABOUT THAT AT HIS SERVICE YESTERDAY IN PHOENIX. IN MY CASE, I DON'T LIKE TO BEAT MY OPPONENTS OVER THE HEAD. IF WE DISAGREE, I TRY NOT TO MAKE IT A PERSONAL THING. I HAD ANOTHER MENTOR OF SORTS WHO WASN'T INTENDING TO BE A MENTOR, BOB BURNS, SENATE PRESIDENT FOR A TERM WHEN I WAS IN THE STATE SENATE AND SAID THESE AREN'T YOUR KIDS, THESE ARE BILLS. I THINK HE MEANT YOU TAKE IT SERIOUSLY, WORK HARD FOR BILLS, BUT DON'T MAKE LIFETIME ENEMIES. I HAVE TOLD YOUNGER OR NEWER POLITICIAN THE VERY SAME THING, BUT I HAVE REMINDED MYSELF- I GET MAD JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE. JOHN McCAIN HAD A TEMPER. I DO, TOO. BUT I WILL SAY-I TRY TO REMIND MYSELF, I WOULD FIGHT TO THE DEATH FOR MY KIDS, FIGHT EXTREMELY HARD TO GET PROJECTS I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT BUT NOT GOING TO SLANDER SOME PERSON A GUY I KNOW FROM WORK OR SOMETHING, THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO ME. AND THAT'S HOW I INTERPRET THE DISCUSSION WE'RE HAVING RIGHT NOW. NOT CRITICIZE ANYTHING INDIVIDUAL BUT IT IS, YOU KNOW, JUST TAKE A DEEP BREATH BEFORE YOU SAY SOMETHING INTEMPRATE AND SOMETHING WE CAN ALL LEARN FROM.

TED: THANK YOU PHOENIX CITY COUNCIL AND VICE MAYOR, GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

JIM WARING: APPRECIATE YOU HAVING ME. SECOND TIME THIS WEEK.

TED SIMONS: AND I KNOW THE FUNERAL WILL BE ROUGH AT NATIONAL CATHEDRAL. THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY. APPRECIATE THAT. -- OVER THE COURSE OF HIS LONG POLITICAL CAREER IN THE SENATE, SENATOR McCAIN VIEWED ON IMMIGRATION REFORM AND BORDER SECURITY CHANGED QUITE A FEW TIMES BUT ADVOCATES SAY HE ALWAYS KNEW THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ISSUE. CRONKITE NEWS REPORTER CHARLENE SANTIAGO HAS THAT STORY.

Phoenix vice mayor and former Arizona Senator John McCain staffer Jim Waring recounts his memories of the late senator.

Sponsor message:

In this segment:

Phoenix vice mayor and former Arizona Senator John McCain

Sponsor message:

Frontline "Police on Trial"

Investigating the Minneapolis police in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd with reporters from the Star Tribune.

Arizona Horizon election debates 2022: Republican candidates for Congressional District 6

Election 2022: Republican candidates for Congressional District 6

Republican candidates hoping to represent Arizona's sixth congressional district debate the issues with Ted Simons moderating.

Lucy Worsley Investigates "Madness of King George"

Lucy Worsley stands before the Nether Keith Chapel ruins

Take a closer look at the life of George III and how an assassination attempt and a tale of mental illness changed Britain.