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Where They Stand: Elizabeth Dole

October 2, 1996 at 12:00 AM EDT


ELIZABETH DOLE: I think this election is a defining moment in our nation’s history. This election is about the vision and the values that will shape America as we move into the next century. And Bob Dole’s vision speaks directly to the concerns of families all across America. And I want to discuss that in a moment. But this election is also about the character of the person who’s going to lead us into the next century. (applause)

Now Bob–(applause)–how are you doing?

Thank you. Sometimes I think we could build a whole presidential campaign just on restoring personal responsibility in America. (applause)

How you doing? These are the values that led my husband to risk his life on the battlefields of Italy. These are the values that sustained him through three and a half years in hospitals after the war. Bob, because of his own life experiences, has dedicated his life to making a difference, a positive difference for people, whether it’s on the battlefield, on the Senate floor, or in his personal life. Let me share just a couple of quick examples. He’s so modest, he will never tell you any of this, but I love to tell it because I think you want to know who this person is that I’m asking you to vote for, not just vote for but roll up your sleeves and work for, for the next five weeks, help us with the sense of passion, the sense of mission that we feel to turn this country around. (applause)

And before I tell you these couple of stories from behind the scenes, let me say we are going to win California, when that happens, it’s all over for Bill Clinton. (applause)

It’s over, over. (applause) It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. It is going to happen, isn’t it? It’s going to happen, right, right here.

Now, a couple of quick vignettes from behind the scenes. I was not surprised at all when Bob came home one time–it was 12 years ago–from Kansas. He’d been at a meeting and they tried to rush him into the room, the plane was late, and these two young people who were severely disabled were waiting outside the door with their parents to see him, and he told me that night, he said, Elizabeth, Tim and Carol–Carla it was–he said, Tim and Carla told me that there was a place in another state for people with severe disabilities like theirs and they needed help getting there, and they said, Bob, can you help us get there, and he said, I’ve been meaning to start a foundation for people with disabilities for years, and I haven’t done it yet. Well, about 12 days later, the Dole Foundation was up and running. Twelve years later, he’s raised millions of dollars to help people learn a skill, be in the mainstream, and contribute to our society. And then he came home from, from a meeting in Washington one night, and he said, Elizabeth, I want to do something a little different for Thanksgiving this year. And, you know, he sounded kind of sheepish. And I could sort of tell that the plans were already in motion. You all know how that goes. So I played along with it, and I said, what is it you want to do, Bob?

He said, well, I’ve invited about 35 young people from some tough parts of Washington to have Thanksgiving dinner with us and their church sponsors. And he said, now we’re going to a restaurant and he said, now put in televisions because we’re going to watch the football game, and they’re going to have a good time, you know. Well, it was one of the most heartwarming Thanksgivings we’ve ever had.

I have a handsome young man right here. Would you come under here and just stand up on the ramp with me a minute, right under here. What’s your name? Knox? Okay. This is Knox, and he’s a brave boy, isn’t he? (applause)

Very brave. (applause)

Now, if we do not balance the budget, Knox can expect to pay in his lifetime $187,000 in taxes just to pay the interest on the national debt. Why would we pass on such a legacy to our children? Why? Now before Knox has nightmares because of what I said, I want you all to assure him we are going to balance the budget for his sake, right? (applause)

Thank you. (applause)

Good boy. Good boy. Wow! (applause)

Now, down at the White House here’s what they said, “They can’t do it. They can’t cut taxes and balance the budget simultaneously.” They’re right, “they” can’t do it, but Bob Dole can and Bob Dole will do it! (applause)

I’m from North Carolina, and we make a lot of furniture in North Carolina. Someone came up to me recently when I was there and said, Mrs. Dole, I think this kind of sums it all up, all these promises that were made as a campaigner that were not carried through as President, he said I want to give you the Clinton rocker. It doesn’t rock front to back. It rocks right-left-right, right-left-right. (applause)

The Clinton rocker. (applause)

That says it all, doesn’t it? It says it all.