WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Ohio senators reflect on a colleague who broke the rules of politics and reshaped American democracy.
Friday, the nation will say goodbye as Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) casket is placed in the center of the Capitol. It’s a rare honor – bestowed on only 13 senators in America’s history. Friends and colleagues McCain leaves behind in DC call him an icon – recalling a man known for straight-talk and putting principle over party.
“He played an outsized role in the great story of America,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), “and he was a patriot through and through.”
Sen. Rob Portman helped on McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, playing the role of then-Senator Barack Obama in mock debate. The pair worked closely together again when Portman became a U.S. senator himself in 2011.
Portman said McCain, who he considered a close friend, taught him to never let politics stand in the way of serving the people. “I think he was less a maverick than a patriot,” said Portman of McCain, “everything he did, was for what he thought was best for the country.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said he’ll remember McCain for his kindness, sense of humor, and for dramatically breaking with fellow republicans to save the Affordable Care Act last year.
Brown and McCain often disagreed on policy, but Brown said the former fighter pilot and prisoner of war always had his respect.
“I marvel at his strength in that way,” said Brown of McCain’s experience in Vietnam. “And, that’s why he was -- I think -- willing to take on unpopular causes and stand up to presidents and stand up to his own party,” he continued, “because that was nothing compared to what he spent six or seven years of his life in Hanoi.”
McCain’s casket is in the Arizona capitol Wednesday and in will be lying in state in the nation’s capitol Friday. His funeral will be held at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. on Saturday, and he’ll be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland Sunday.
If you would like to hear more of what Portman and Brown had to say about Sen. McCain, our full interviews can be found in the video tab above.