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U.S. Senator John McCain Dies at 81; Pope Speaks Out against Sexual Abuse. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired August 26, 2018 - 02:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And we continue to follow the death of U.S. Senator John McCain. I'm Cyril Vanier.

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm George Howell. Welcome to viewers here in the United States and around the world.

VANIER: Mr. McCain served as a U.S. senator for more than 30 years, six terms in that role, better known as the Maverick. U.S. Senator John McCain passed away Saturday afternoon. He was at his home near Sedona, Arizona, surrounded by his family in his final hour.

HOWELL: He just recently discontinued treatment for the aggressive form of brain cancer he was fighting. People knew this moment would come. But still it didn't make it any easier for the many people who knew him, people who admired him, people who loved him.

His Senate colleagues remember him as a giant in that body, politically conservative but fiercely principled and independent.

VANIER: His absence was felt in the U.S. Senate. He was clear a true warrior until the end. He battled an aggressive form of brain cancer that was first diagnosed in 2017.

HOWELL: The senator from the U.S. state of Arizona, John McCain served as a U.S. Navy aviator for more than 20 years. Mr. McCain was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967, captured and held there as a prisoner of war for more than five years.

VANIER: After the war, he turned to politics in the United States. He ran for President of the United States twice. And in 2008 he became the Republican nominee, eventually losing to Barack Obama.

HOWELL: Shortly after the news of Senator McCain's death a procession of vehicles could be seen escorting his hearse from the property and into the city of Phoenix, Arizona.

we're hearing from people who knew Senator McCain best. His wife, Cindy, posting this tweet to social media. "My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best."

McCain's daughter, Meghan, says the task of her lifetime was to live up to his example, his expectations and his love.

Meghan also writes, "I was with my father at his end, as he was with me in my beginning. In the 33 years we shared together, he raised me, taught me, corrected me, comforted me, encouraged me and supported me in all things.

"He loved me and I loved him. He taught me how to live. His love and his care, ever present, always unfailing, took me from a girl to a woman and he showed me what it is to be a man."

HOWELL: It is a moment for people in the United States and around the world who knew of Senator McCain, who knew of his style. It is a day of mourning and a great deal of sadness, a very different approach to politics here in the United States.

VANIER: He was one of a kind and I think, even to foreigners, people that follow the United States politics but from abroad, he was still very well known. He was a man, who went through generations.

HOWELL: Absolutely. Our Dana Bash has a look back at the distinguished political career of the U.S. senator John McCain.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His dramatic Senate return against doctors' orders after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZ.: I've been a member of the United States Senate for 30 years.

BASH: His late night thumbs down that single handedly crushed his party's push to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

John McCain's last big moment in the political spotlight captured so many of the complexities of his character. A stubborn man who survived many a brush with death, who spent a lifetime looking for moments to shine as a leader and put country first. Yet forever a hotdog fighter pilot with dramatic flair and white knuckle political instincts.

John Sydney McCain III was born with a storied legacy of service to live up to. His father and grandfather were both four-star admirals.

GRAHAM: His father and grandfather instilled in him a sense of duty, honor and country.

BASH: Young McCain's passion was literature. He was a voracious reader all his life. MCCAIN: Hemingway's always been my favorite author in many ways, a larger-than-life figure that I always admired a lot.

BASH: Yet McCain followed the path of larger-than-life figures in his own family. Enrolling at the Naval Academy where he stood out for being a troublemaker. Not a future leader.

MCCAIN: I'm the guy that stood fifth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy.


BASH: He became a fighter pilot. His first combat mission during the Vietnam War was aboard the USS Forestall.

On deck his plane was accidentally struck by a missile causing a huge inferno, 134 --


BASH: -- fellow sailors died. A few months later McCain was on a routine bombing mission. His plane was shot down.

MCCAIN: I was gyrating very violently almost straight down so I had to eject very quickly. I was knocked unconscious.

BASH: He found himself surrounded by angry villagers swinging bayonets. The North Vietnamese forced him to give this interview in exchange for life-saving treatment.

MCCAIN: I'm treated well here.

BASH: He was taken as a prisoner of war and tortured.

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: He was beaten on a regular basis. You know, being hung by his arms from a ceiling. Sockets pulled out.

BASH: When his father, Jack McCain, was named commander of U.S. Pacific Forces, the Vietnamese offered John McCain freedom. He refused. It would have broken POW protocol, release in order of capture.

MCCAIN: There was a correlation between my refusal to accept early release and my treatment. The treatment got very much worse.

BASH: Ultimately, they broke McCain. Getting him to sign a statement admitting to claims against him which he regretted the rest of his life.

JOHN WEAVER, POLITICAL CONSULTANT FOR MCCAIN 2000, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS: After he signed it, I think he wanted just to die.

BASH (on camera): Because he felt so disloyal?

WEAVER: He felt -- he felt shame. That he had let the country down. BASH (voice-over): Finally after nearly 5 1/2 years in prison, McCain was released. WEAVER: You still see the impact of that today. The way he was tied.

You know, the way he can't raise his arms. His hands. Can't comb his hair. The things that we take for granted.

BASH: His marriage to first wife, Carol, who waited anxiously for McCain while imprisoned, fell apart. Captain McCain became a naval liaison to the U.S. Senate where he caught the political bug. In 1982 he ran for the House from Arizona. Home with new wife, Cindy and won.

Four years later it was on to the U.S. Senate. Early on controversy. The Keating 5. McCain and four other senators met regulators investigating the failed savings and loan bank of Charles Keating, a McCain contributor.

MCCAIN: I am, of course, relieved that I have been exonerated.

BASH: An investigation cleared McCain of wrongdoing, but rebuked him for poor judgment. The episode sent McCain on a crusade to clean up Washington. Pushing campaign finance reform, fighting big tobacco, railing against earmarks.

MCCAIN: That's our obligation and our duty to the American people.

BASH: Everything with passion. Humor.

JOE LIEBERMAN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: He's very direct. He's also very funny. Has a way of sort of teasing people he likes.

MCCAIN: And thanks for the question, you little jerk. He was a little jerk.

BASH: And a famous temper.

GRAHAM: And be a complete jerk to his closest friends and hug you dearly next.

BASH: In the fall of 1999, McCain announced his candidacy for president. As an underdog, he got attention by being constantly available to reporters aboard his bus, the Straight Talk Express.

He trounced frontrunner George W. Bush in the New Hampshire primary but then lost South Carolina where it got ugly and personal. McCain soon dropped out and returned to the Senate even more determined to work across the aisle with Democrats like Ted Kennedy on issues like a patient's bill of rights and immigration reform.

MCCAIN: I announce my candidacy for president of the United States.

BASH: In 2008, his second presidential bid. This time, he was the heir apparent, but McCain's support for a surge of troops in Iraq and bipartisan work on immigration reform hit him with GOP voters. His poll numbers plunged. He held town halls in New Hampshire, talked border security instead of immigration reform and climbed back.

(On camera): The fact that you're getting a second chance, sir, what does that say to you?

MCCAIN: It means that we are happy with how far we've come.

BASH: After securing the GOP nomination, he had to pick a running mate. Close friend, Democrat turned independent, Joe Lieberman was his first choice.


BASH (on camera): He never told you that?

LIEBERMAN: No, he did.

BASH (voice-over): Aides convinced McCain that Lieberman's support for abortion rights made it impossible.

McCain still went bold. First-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin. At first, Palin helped McCain draw conservative support he was lacking. But after some bizarre interviews, many campaign aides considered her a liability.

SARAH PALIN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States.

BASH: McCain would never say he regretted choosing Palin.

(On camera): He doesn't talk about it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, ever. And he never will.

BASH (voice-over): The economic collapse in September 2008 ultimately sealed McCain's defeat. Still, he worked to stay out of gutter politics, taking the mike from a voter who claimed Barack Obama was Arab.

MCCAIN: No, ma'am.

BASH: And giving a concession speech that marked the historic moment for the country.

MCCAIN: This is an historic election. And I recognize the --


MCCAIN: -- special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight.

BASH: McCain settled into life as a senior statesman, fulfilled the dream of becoming Senate Armed Services chairman and traveled around the world every chance he got. An informal diplomat and an informed senator.

When President Trump was elected, McCain took it upon himself to reassure world leaders, visiting 26 countries and four continents in the first six months of 2017, alone.

Even at age 80, McCain liked to travel with and mentor younger senators in both parties forging close relationships.

GRAHAM: He is loyal to his friends, he loves his country and if he

has to stand up to his party for his country, so be it. He would die for this country. I love him to death.

BASH: His July 2017 brain cancer diagnosis and treatment for it forced McCain to slow down, but he hated pity. This is how he always wanted to be remembered. Paraphrasing his political hero, Teddy Roosevelt.

MCCAIN: I've had the most wonderful life and career that anybody you will ever meet. Thank you.

BASH: Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.


HOWELL: Dana Bash setting the stage for us and now, let's talk more about the death of John McCain with CNN military analyst, retired Lt. Colonel Rick Francona, joining from the U.S. state of Oregon.

A pleasure to have you on the show, particularly in this moment, let's talk about the nexus between your worlds and his.

Military service, this POW, a Vietnam vet, how do you believe the aspects shaped the life of the senator from Arizona?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think they were critical. If you look at his life, from the time he graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958, until the time that he was shot down, I mean, he was, you know, a fighter pilot. He was, you know, a white knuckles, flying fast, doing things that fighter pilots do.

But that 5.5 years in the prison camp I think really molded his character for the future service to the country. Those of us who flew in Vietnam, were always very, you know, apprehensive on what would happen to us if we were faced with the position that he found himself in.

And he had acquitted himself quite well. I know he didn't think he served well in that capacity. But he served with honor. He is a role model for all of us. And I think that those characters, that character -- honor, duty -- served him well in the Senate . And you know, the military people look at him and they say, he is one of us and I wish I was like him.

HOWELL: I believe we have an image, if we can pull the image full screen, an image of you and Senator McCain, if we can look at it and to get a sense of two people who staunchly understand what it means to be a military official, standing side-by-side together.

And that's what leads me to the other question. When we look back at that point where you say, no one wants to be

caught, of course, but if you find yourself in had that position, where you are captured, we know that he refused early release. We know that he stayed for an extended time, more years of punishing captivity.

What does it say about his character?

FRANCONA: Well, that says that he adhered to the code. And you know, I don't think very many people would have blamed him, had he taken the early release. But it shows the character that he had, to say no. You know, and in that situation, you always wonder, what would I do?

How would I act?

Would I have the courage to say no, I'm going to stay?

Or would I say, you know, maybe I need to go back and report on what is going on here?

But he stayed the course and he kept faith with his fellow prisoners and I think that was one of the things that endeared him to the -- not only to the other POWs but to those of us in the military.

HOWELL: Considered by many in the United States and around the world, as a military hero, an American hero.

However, there's the U.S. president, you know; back -- a couple of years back, questioned his standing as a hero, saying that he preferred people not captured. Again, this Vietnam vet, this prisoner of war, this senator from Arizona.

Your thoughts about the fact there was definitely a disconnect between these two American officials?

FRANCONA: Shameful, shameful, should never have been said. And I think that the president owes John McCain and his family an apology, an apology that is way overdue. This man gave 5.5 years in a North Vietnamese prison camp for this country --


FRANCONA: -- and he was willing to fight and die for this country. And to belittle this service is a stain on this presidency.

HOWELL: We do know that Senator McCain did -- was involved to a great deal of the planning, what would happen on his death. He does want previous presidents to attend, to speak for him during the eulogy. We understand that he does not want the current president, Donald Trump, at the funeral, though Donald Trump has tweeted condolences to the family.

Lt. Col. Rick Francona, thank you for your time and we will keep in touch with you.

FRANCONA: Our thoughts with the family. VANIER: John McCain once called himself a bit player in the story of America but a look at his accomplishments shows that he was so much more than that.

HOWELL: Senator McCain was above all and despite his extraordinary life, humble. You can see in one of his last speeches where he looks back at his six decades in public service.


MCCAIN: I've had the good fortune to spend 60 years in service to this wondrous land. It's not been perfect service to be sure. And there were probably times when the country might have benefitted with a little less of my help.


MCCAIN: But I've tried to deserve the privilege as best I can. And I have been repaid a thousand times over with adventures, with good company and with the satisfaction of serving something more important than myself, of being a bit player in the extraordinary story of America.

And I am so grateful. What a privilege it is to serve this big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, striving, daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave, magnificent country. With all our flaws, all our mistakes, with all the frailties of human nature as much on display as our virtues, with all the rancor and anger of our politics, we are blessed.


VANIER: That was John McCain, October 2017, less than a year ago.

We will be back with more on the incredible life and legacy of Senator John McCain.





DAVID LETTERMAN, TV HOST: After a campaign like this -- and it consumed two years and probably more, really, what do you do?

What has your life been like since?

You go from going 1,000 miles an hour to a much slower pace.

MCCAIN: I don't want to talk about the bleeping campaign, you understand?


MCCAIN: If you think I'm going to go back to that bleeping situation, then bleep you.





HOWELL: People around the world knew him for his integrity, his bold attitude but he did have a sharp sense of humor, as we just saw there. And in the darkest days we know he remained positive.

We're told that he was cheerful until the end with his battle against an aggressive form of brain cancer. Those jokes showed a light- hearted nature. Still we know John McCain was also very stern.

VANIER: And he defended his principles, even if that meant going against other Republicans, his own camp. Here he is last year, when he voted in quite dramatic fashion against his party's efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

McCain was also one of the first Republicans to push back against Donald Trump during the presidential campaign.

HOWELL: After McCain died on Saturday, President Trump tweeted this, "My deepest sympathies and respect go to the family of Senator John McCain of. Our hearts and prayers are with you."

VANIER: During his more than 30 years in the U.S. Congress, McCain emerged as a rare example of bipartisanship.

HOWELL: CNN's congressional reporter Lauren Fox reports on how former colleagues are honoring the man who became a Senate institution.


LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Senator John McCain, a legend in the Senate, a hero for the country and a statesman who shaped everything from U.S. foreign policy to immigration reform, has passed away.

There's been an outpouring of support for Senator McCain, including from his wife, Cindy, and his daughter, Meghan, as well as lawmakers across the aisle on Capitol Hill.

One of the most notable came from Senator Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Senate Democrats, who said in a statement that he wanted to change the name of the Russell Senate office building to be named for McCain.

That office building where McCain kept his office for years, the place where the senator was often working late into the evenings on foreign policy as well as immigration reform.

Senator McCain being remembered as a lawmaker who voted as a conservative but also sometimes against his party when it came to issues like one last summer, the Affordable Care Act, where he voted against repealing the bill as an effort because he said that there needed to be more bipartisan support and the bill needed to go through regular order.

Senator McCain always going to be remembered as a maverick -- for CNN, Lauren Fox.


VANIER: An Ohio governor, John Kasich spoke earlier about John McCain with my colleague, Ana Cabrera.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: He was just really incredible. McCain was just an amazing guy. I first met him -- we went in to Congress together. And we were not there a couple of days before we all just knew that John would be the president of our class, he would be the leader of our class.

You know, I had so many -- so much time with him. And just, most recently, I remember, he took a very hard position on the health care law and didn't feel as though it was going to be fair to people or help people.

And I called him and I said, John, you know, you have always been a hero to me and you have just underlined it so many times because of the way in which you care so much about the people.

He was just an independent guy, loved his country more than anything else. And I just cannot tell you, all the listeners, what an incredible guy --


KASICH: -- he was. I mean, he really did march to his own drummer. When he had to take a position that was against the grain, he did not revel in it. He just felt -- there was a deep conscience about John, combined with a backbone that allowed him to just feel so good about what he did.

And he inspired all of us. And I mean, just, you are not going replace this guy. You just can't.


KASICH: There's only been one John McCain and you are, it's just, there's not going to be another one like him. And for those that knew him -- and I have a number of friends that were really extremely close to him -- it's such a sad day.

But at the same time, I would have to say, they are so proud to be with him, to -- because you know, John not only felt strongly about public policy and all that,, he had an incredible are sense of humor. He just loved to laugh.

I was with him not long ago in Munich with -- and I saw pictures, just briefly. And his buddy, Joe Liebermann, I mean, these guys were like, so close.


CABRERA: We are looking at a picture of them right now, smiling and laughing.

KASICH: I'm sure Joe is so sad tonight. I mean, John just loved Joe and Joe just so much loved John. And that was a deep, deep friendship. You know, in politics, a lot of time, it's, they say, you know, if you want to have a friend, you get a dog. And in most cases that's true.

But when I think about Joe Liebermann and I think about John McCain, that was a deep, deep friendship. And all I can say is, I am -- I am so glad that I knew him. I'm so glad that we were friends. I'm so glad that he had an opportunity to inspire our country.

So it's going to be a lot said about him in the next few days. But I just have to tell the folks that are watching, in a time when we really want leaders, no one like him. He was the real McCoy.

CABRERA: When was the last time that you spoke?

KASICH: Well, I spoke to him, oh, I guess it was about a month ago.

And I said to him, "How are we doing with the Lord?

"How are we doing with the big guy?

And he said, "Johnny" -- and he is one of the few people, my wife, my father and John McCain, all three of them just call me Johnny.

And he said, "Johnny, you don't have to worry about that. I'm squared away."

But you know, as time went on, it was harder and harder to talk to John, because it was difficult for him. He just, you know, he was losing a lot of energy. And we knew that this moment was just around the corner.

As my friends -- in fact, I was just with one of his dear friends, a man who traveled with him on his campaign. And he said, John is not going to be around much longer.

And one of my friends, John Weaver, who works with me, you know, this is going to be a devastating day. People that were around him. They just, they just loved him.






MCCAIN: My friends, on this health care bill, we are not the party of no, like Sarah said. We are the party of, hell, no. Hell, no. Hell, no.


MCCAIN: So, so let me say again, this is all part of what is going on, out of control spending, taxpayers' dollars being spend, $1.4 trillion debt this year, $1.5 trillion debt next year, $12 trillion (INAUDIBLE) a day.

My friends, they're spending money like a drunken sailor and the bar is still open.


HOWELL: Remembering the life and legacy of John McCain, 1936-2018. We continue following the breaking news. I'm George Howell.

VANIER: And welcome back, Senator John McCain has died at the age of 81. His family announced Friday that he had decided to stop treatment for brain cancer.

HOWELL: McCain is being praised across the political spectrum. He served his country for six decades, a Naval officer, a prisoner of war and a statesman. We have more now from CNN's Stephanie Elam, outside the McCain home in Arizona.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senator John McCain passed away late in the afternoon here in Sedona, Arizona, at his beloved cabin here in this beautiful part of the country, as the skies became increasingly cloudy and we saw spots of rain fall in this part of Arizona.

According to the statement that was put out by his office, he was surrounded by his wife, Cindy, and family members and they also noted that, at his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 60 years.

Since the news of his passing has spread, we've seen people come by, some dropping off flowers. We watched one couple leave an American flag here outside of the property we understand Senator McCain loves so much. Just really an outpouring of admiration and love for the senator, a

man who was elected six times to represent the state of Arizona in the U.S. Senate.

And as we were standing out here we saw, as a parade of SUVs arrived, led by a procession of police officers on motorcycles and a hearse. And then not so much longer after that we also saw that same procession leave the property here.

And from what we understand the senator was very much a part of planning how he wanted to be remembered and also planning how he wanted his funeral procession to go. Just another showing of just the strength that this American icon had all the way up until the end -- Stephanie Elam, CNN, Sedona, Arizona.


VANIER: As Stephanie just mentioned, McCain has been planning for the moment for some time. He often discussed with friends and family, what he would look like, what he would like for his funeral. Those plans have not been officially announced.

HOWELL: Sources tell CNN, McCain favored three locations for services: his home state of Arizona, the National Cathedral in Washington and Annapolis, Maryland, home of the U.S. Navy Academy. Former --


HOWELL: -- presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been asked to give eulogies.

VANIER: McCain will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Maryland. We should note that McCain told several friends that he did not want President Trump to attend his funeral.

HOWELL: John McCain was once called the sheriff by a colleague in the U.S. Senate for going after things like earmarks or funds spent on projects that solely benefit a politician's home state.

VANIER: A little more than a year ago, McCain took to the floor of the Senate to remind his colleagues of their responsibilities to their constituents and the nation.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I've stood in this place many times and addressed this president, many presiding officers. I've been so addressed when I've sat in that chair and that's as close as I'll ever be to a presidency. But anyway.


MCCAIN: It's an honor, I think, we're almost indifferent to, isn't it? In truth, presiding over the Senate can be a nuisance, bit of ceremonial bore and it is usually relegated to the more junior members of the majority. But I stand here today looking a little worse for wear, I'm sure. I have a refreshed appreciation for the protocols and customs of this body and for the other 99 privileged souls who've been elected to this Senate.

I have been a member of the United States Senate for 30 years. I had another long, if not as long, career before I arrived here, another profession that was profoundly rewarding and in which I had experiences and friendships that I revere. But make no mistake, my service here is the most important job I have had in my life. And I am so grateful to the people of Arizona for the privilege - for the honor - of serving here and the opportunities it gives me to play a small role in the history of the country I love.

I've known and admired men and women in the Senate who played much more than a small role in our history, true statesmen, giants of American politics. They came from both parties and from various backgrounds. Their ambitions were frequently in conflict. They held different views on the issues of the day. And they often had very serious disagreements about how best to serve the national interest.

But they knew that however sharp and heartfelt their disputes, however keen their ambitions, they had an obligation to work collaboratively to ensure the Senate discharged its constitutional responsibilities effectively.


VANIER: Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau is offering his thoughts on Senator McCain.

HOWELL: He tweeted this, "Senator John McCain was an American patriot and hero who sacrificed for his country and lifetime of public service were an inspiration to millions. Canadians join Americans tonight in celebrating his life and mourning his passing."

VANIER: And Israel's ambassador to the United Nations tweeted this, "We mourn the loss of an American hero, a great patriot and leader, a true friend to Israel. Senator John McCain, rest in peace."

HOWELL: The life and legacy of a man better known as the Maverick to many people in the United States, the U.S. senator, John McCain. Our breaking news coverage will continue in a moment.


MCCAIN: I have been called a maverick, someone who --


MCCAIN: -- someone who marches to the beat of his own drum. And the American people know me very well and that is independent and a maverick of the Senate.

and I'm happy to say that I have got a partner that is a good maverick along with me now.

I'm a maverick, no one expected us to agree on everything.

Maverick I can do but messiah is above my pay grade.





MCCAIN: Politics isn't beanbag. It's a tough business. It was a tough race. It was a tough campaign. And I enjoyed enormously feeling sorry for myself for about two weeks.

You know, feeling sorry for yourself is a lot of fun. But then, I put it behind me and I moved on. You have got to put -- the people of Arizona don't expect me to hold a grudge for something that happened four or five years ago.

And I don't hold a grudge. And I moved forward and I admire this president and I want to help him. And we have a very big agenda for the country and I want to assist him in carrying out that agenda.


VANIER: That was John McCain, speaking with CNN's Larry King in 2005.

The legendary senator died Saturday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 81.

HOWELL: John McCain ran twice for the highest office in the land, twice for president but never won the office. That didn't stop him fighting for the ideals that he believed in. He was, at times, both a backer and a critic of his one-time Republican rival, the former president, George W. Bush.

Opponents and allies are praising his tenacity, a maverick who spoke truth to power. As a Naval officer, prisoner of war and a statesman, John McCain served his country for six distinguished decades. We have more on his death and the legacy John McCain leaves behind in a moment.

But first, other news that we are following. Pope Francis, speaking out on the sexual abuse scandals rocking the Catholic Church and apologizing.

VANIER: In Ireland on Saturday, the pope prayed before a candle, lit for the victims of sex abuse. And he met with eight abuse victims for an hour and a half. One person described it as a very powerful meeting. And another said that the pope was genuinely shocked.

Speaking at Dublin Castle, the pope called the abuse "appalling crimes" and he said the outrage is justified. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): The failure of the ecclesiastical authorities, bishops, previous priests and others to adequately address these appalling crimes has rightly given rise to a rage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share those sentiments.


VANIER: John Allen is CNN's senior Vatican analyst and author of "Crux," the independent website covering Catholicism. He joins us from Dublin.


VANIER: John, what is the reaction to the pope's words on sex abuse?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SR. VATICAN ANALYST: Well, on the one hand, this is fairly strong language from Pope Francis. He used even stronger language last night during a festival of families in Coke Park, using a off-color Spanish term to refer to what you may loosely translate as the filth in the church that the clerical sexual abuse scandals represent.

I think all of the statements of sensitivity and resolve are welcome. I think the fact that the pope met with victims, though it was widely expected, it was well received.

On the other hand, it has to be said that there's a strong critical edge to much of the reaction here in Ireland. What a lot of people will say is they have heard this sort of thing before.

They have heard popes and other senior church officials apologize for the sexual abuse crisis and acknowledge the gravity of what happened. What they are waiting for is indication of concrete action; that is, what precisely what the pope will do, specifically on the accountability not just for the crime but the cover-up, that is holding bishops and other senior officials responsible when they are aware of abuse charges but fail to act.

To date, Pope Francis has not offered new details on that front. And therefore, I would say that most people I have spoken to here would give the pope a grade of incomplete.

VANIER: That brings up the question, is the church actively trying to stop abuse?

Do they see it as a current problem that needs to be addressed and stopped?

Or does the Vatican just intend to apologize for past scandals?

ALLEN: Look, in all fairness, the Catholic Church has taken dramatic steps forward over the last decade or so. The church has adopted aggressive policies for the prevention, the detection and the response to sexual abuse, so much so, that I know a lot of secular experts, people that work for Interpol or academics at secular universities, who will tell you that the Catholic Church is on the vanguard of that effort.

The problem is that's a response to the sexual abuse of minors. It's not a response to the cover-up of the abuse. That's where I think most observers will tell you that the church is significantly lagging behind and that, until that gap in accountability is filled, I think it is very difficult to sell the church's response as comprehensive.

VANIER: All right, John Allen, reporting live from Dublin in Ireland. The pope will be shortly taking off and, for the next leg of his trip, he will be visiting the pilgrimage site in Knock, Ireland. We will be covering that and John will be with us for that as well.

John, thank you very much.

We will be right back, stay with us here on CNN.





VANIER: Arizona is known for beautiful sunsets, they are called painted skies. And you can see why. This is in Sedona, where U.S. Senator John McCain passed away on Saturday, at around the time that we learned of his passing.

HOWELL: We know one thing about John McCain for sure. He loved the state of Arizona. It's the place he wanted to be in his final days, his final hours, that beautiful area there around Sedona.

John McCain was known as a fighter with an unshakeable patriotic spirit. During his 23 years in the U.S. Navy, he fought in the Vietnam War. And when taken as prisoner, he fought for his life.

VANIER: Over six terms in the U.S. Senate, he earned the name Maverick, battling for the people of Arizona. McCain also fought to win the U.S. presidency, first in 2000 and then eight years later. But it was a goal that he ultimately failed to achieve.


MCCAIN: I will fight every moment of every day in the campaign to make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change.


HOWELL: And last year, John McCain learned that he had one last fight. Doctors told him that he had an aggressive form of brain cancer. McCain died Saturday, surrounded by family. VANIER: The six-term U.S. senator was diagnosed last year with an aggressive form of brain cancer and he had not been in Washington since December.

HOWELL: Last year, Senator McCain appeared on CNN's State of the Union. Our colleague, Jake Tapper, asked him about his illness and also, the question of legacy. Listen.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: How is your family taking it, Cindy and Jack and Jimmy and Bridget and Meghan?

MCCAIN: Well, you know, it's tough and we have tried to include them in when we have conference calls with the doctors. And by the way, Mayo Clinic -- and they are paying me nothing for this -- is excellent. NIH has been really good.

And so I'm getting the best treatment that anybody could get.

And I'm very happy. I'm very happy with my life. I'm very happy with what I've been able to do. And there's two ways of looking at these things and one of them is to celebrate. I am able to celebrate a wonderful life. And I will be grateful for additional time that I have.

TAPPER: We were talking about old memories. I covered the Straight Talk Express, your campaign in 2000. I have a very vivid memory, one time we're flying on your airplane during that 2000 presidential race...


... and you remember that plane was a bucket of bolts. That was an awful plane.


MCCAIN: It was on the cheap.

TAPPER: And we -- we were going through turbulence. It was bad turbulence. People on the plane were scared; I was scared. You were standing in the aisle holding a glass of vodka, I think.


And you were saying, "They can't kill me in a plane; I can't be killed in a plane."


Because obviously you'd survived a number of plane crashes as a -- as a Navy pilot. Does this face-off with mortality feel different than previous ones you have faced?

MCCAIN: The other ones I had much more control, obviously. I was flying the airplane, you know. Although the melanoma was similar to this, but it's -- it's similar in that the challenges are very significant, obviously, but everything so far has gone very, very well and I'm very grateful. And I've had no side effects --


MCCAIN: -- no nothing, except, frankly, an increased level of energy. And I want to thank the doctors and the nurses and the attendants and all of those who inflicted so much pain on me.


I didn't know I had any blood left.


But I'd like to thank them for their wonderful care. They're wonderful people.

TAPPER: Last question on health and then we'll move on to issues. And that is you went through chemo and radiation to fight this cancer. When do you find out if it worked?

MCCAIN: On Monday we will take an MRI, but so far all indications are very good. But again, I'm not trying to paint this as a rosy picture. This is a very virulent form of cancer. It has to be fought against. We have new technologies which I won't bother you with -- with the details of -- that make chances much better.

But, Jake, you know, every life has to end one way or another. I think it was a playwright -- I'll think of his name in a minute -- he said, "I always knew that no one could live forever, but I thought there might be one exception."


TAPPER: That reminds me...

MCCAIN: You've got to -- you've got to have joy -- joy. Listen, those joyful memories of the campaign in 2000 are some of the most enjoyable times of my life. We were the underdogs; we were fighting our way up; we went to Sedona, you remember -- I mean, everything was so magic about that campaign.

And I'm very grateful for having the opportunity. Remember, I'm the guy that stood fifth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy.


HOWELL: A man who chose to celebrate his life. Thank you for being with us. I'm George Howell.

VANIER: And I'm Cyril Vanier, stay with us, we will be right back.