THE MacNEIL/LEHRER REPORT
Robert Dole Profile
June 4, 1979
JIM LEHRER: In addition to a campaign manager and a finance director, Senator Dole also has a full partner in his campaign for President, his wife, Elizabeth Hanford Dole. Mrs. Dole recently resigned her position as a Federal Trade commissioner in order to work in her husband's campaign. An attorney, Mrs. Dole had been on the FTC since 1973. Mrs. Dole, in practical terms, what does being a full partner in this campaign mean?
Robert MacNeil looks back at Bob Dole's political career
Senator Dole talks about his candidacy with Jim Lehrer
Dole's campaign staff discusses the nuts and bolts of running for President.
ELIZABETH DOLE: It means that I'll be out campaigning, speaking, answering the questions, holding the press conferences; I'll probably be involved in fundraising to some extent, organizing, the strategy sessions -anyplace that I'm needed, really.
LEHRER: Does that mean giving advice on political tactics, fun-draising, issues, that kind of thing?
ELIZABETH DOLE: Well, Bob and I work together on most everything that we do, so I'm sure that there will be some ideas which I'll want to pass on from time to time. (Laughing.)
LEHRER: Do you-all agree on the issues?
ELIZABETH DOLE: Almost all of them. There are a few where we have differences of opinion.
LEHRER: Any serious differences?
ELIZABETH DOLE: no, not really. (Laughing.) I think it would be unusual if a husband and wife agreed on every single issue, don't you, because we come from different educational experiences, different job experiences, really different frames of reference.
LEHRER: Do you feel that your own experience here in Washington in government gives you a special perspective that most political wives do not have?
ELIZABETH DOLE: I think it will be useful; I would certainly hope so, because my entire career has been spent in government service. I would hope that this would be useful to my husband as we move through the campaign and also when he's elected.
LEHRER: All right, speaking of when he's elected, how do you fore- see the full partnership carrying over into the White House?
ELIZABETH DOLE: I would imagine that I would continue to speak out on the issues, to testify, possibly, before Congress, to do many of the things that I've been doing in the past. I'm concerned about the number of issues which have been important to me through the years in the White House Consumer Office and at the Federal Trade Commission, and I imagine that I would just continue to take an active part in those matters.
LEHRER: Have you advised your husband to figure out a way to shed this image of being the hatchet man, the gunslinger, that sort of thing?
ELIZABETH DOLE: You know, I think he had a role to play in 1976. When we left Kansas City, when he went on the ticket, the polls were showing forty points-behind. And he came a long way and almost made it in that period of time. I was proud of Bob Dole's role; the farm states were right there in the Republican column, the ticket did show an increase everywhere he went during the campaign, and I think it was a role that was assigned to him and when you're that far behind the inconsistencies have to be pointed out in the other party's platform and their positions. This time, Bob Dole will be the candidate himself, he will be setting the tone, and it seems to me that the American people will have a chance to see a lot more of Bob Dole than they did in 1976 because the attention in '76 was really on the top man on the ticket, on the President. Bob had his role to play, but in terms of his personal characteristics I don't think that those were highlighted as much as they will be this time around.
LEHRER: What do you see as his major problem going in, politically?
ELIZABETH DOLE: Well, I don't really see any major problems now,. you know. (Laughing.) I'm very optimistic. I feel that we're certainly going to have to do some hard work in certain areas, because Bob did want to be certain that President Ford would not be entering the primaries before made his decision. He felt that it would be the height of ingratitude for him to run if President Ford intended to, and so perhaps we got a little bit of a late start, but I think there's plenty of time; and we're going to be hard at work to make up any lost time.
LEHRER: Mrs. Dole, thank you.