Meet the Press   |  December 22, 2013

Inhofe discusses how unity comes from tragedy

Sen. James Inhofe talks about the outpouring of support he received from Democratic colleagues on the other side of the aisle following his family's loss.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> we talk about washington in terms of losing personal relationships, keeping relationships from getting forged, but when you go through this particular loss, you recognize you have some support around you. talk a little about that.

>> well, i probably shouldn't say this, but i seem to have gotten more communications from some of my democrat friends and i'm pretty partisan republican. something like this happens, and all of a sudden the old barriers that were there, those old differences that keep us apart just disappear. because it's not just a recognition that i know how much more important that is, but they do, too. and they look out and they realize that you've lost someone . and that brings us closer together.

>> even your relationship with majority leader harry reid , right?

>> yeah. i know we just disagree on all this stuff, this political stuff, but you don't change in terms of your positions and what you believe in, but you change in your understanding of individuals.

>> is there some perspective that you gain from this kind of loss, this kind of hurt that makes you think about the approach to your work here in washington? do you think some of what you feel changing around people comforting you through loss is something you can bring to your work?

>> well, it is, except the differences are still there. i mean, right now the last bill of this session is my bill. it's the national defense authorization act . there are people i serve with who don't really think you need a strong military. so those defined differences, they don't change. but your attitude changes. and i can't help but think when i'm confronting someone on something with which we disagree that i know what -- how they responded to my loss.

>> and as a grieving father, what's your biggest challenge as you look ahead to the next year?

>> you know, when you have, as i described our family as 20 kids and grandkids, counting spouses, you miss one and it's not whole anymore. and so that's still will probably always be a difficult thing to face up to. it's a reality. and you think about those things that perry did that nobody else does, and that's the thing that, you know, that will