Dole, McGovern talk about the campaign, the economy

Bob Dole and George McGovern are co-winners of this year’s $250,000 World Food Prize for their work on the issue of world hunger and they’ve been in Des Moines this week for WFP festivities  The two men were guests on last night’s "Iowa Journal" on IPTV.  At the end of the program, host Paul Yeager asked the two about the current political campaign and what they would say to the country were they president today.  (McGovern was the 1972 Democratic nominee for president; Dole was the 1996 Republican nominee for president.)

Yeager:  "I can’t let two guys who’ve run for president off the hook on this race that’s going on right now…Have you been asked for any advice?"

Dole:  "I’ve given a little advice…I’ve talked to McCain himself about some things I thought that might be helpful, but I’m not really a part of the campaign…I’m just watching it like everyone else…I’m more concerned about the race in North Carolina.  I don’t even go on TV programs because I might say something that would be misinterpreted by somebody in North Carolina that would impact what my wife might be doing."

Yeager"We’ll let you off the hook on that one and I’ll go to Senator McGovern now.  What advice would you have for the Obama camp?"

McGovern"I already talked to him about my advice and that’s to, if (Obama) gets elected, to give high priority to the international school lunch and the WIC program transferred to an internal scale and he says he’s sympathetic to that.  He didn’t tell me how much he was going to ask, but I got a pretty clear answer that he’s in favor of what Senator Dole and I are trying to do."

Dole"Whoever’s in has got to learn one lesson and that’s congress is different than a state legislature and you’ve got to wrap your arms around the members, the leaders in both parties and work together.  We’ve got real problems that have to be addressed."

Yeager"One problem has been the economy….Tonight, you’re the president and you’re delivering the address at eight o’clock to the nation.  In 30 seconds, what do you say, senator, to the nation about this economy and what they should do — to calm fears?"

Dole"I’d probably say, ‘I’ve forgotten my script. I’ll come back tomorrow evening.’ (There’s laughter among all three on the TV set) 

Yeager: "It’s a challenging time."

Dole: "What do you (say)? You know, when the market drops 100 points — why did it happen? I don’t know and I’m not sure that anybody knows. I mean I talk to a lot of these people that are in the corporate world.  It’s going to bottom out one of these days and then people are going to start making money.  They’re going to start buying equities and making some money, but I thought it was going to be today, but it wasn’t today."

Yeager:  "Senator McGovern, same question: what do you say to the nation in light of what’s happened?"

McGovern: "I’d just say be cautious how you invest.  Be cautious how big that mortgage is, that you may have to pay for the kind of house you’d really like to have and have one more that’s more within your means. Those are a couple of things I think we’ve learned, but I’ve yet to meet a human being that really knows exactly what to do about this crisis.  Have you found that Bob?"

Dole"No, but I think you touched on it — personal responsibility.  Owning a house is the ‘American Dream’ but some of them have to wait a while."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.