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Judy Harbaugh


The Nixon White House

Some of the tension I saw between Senator Dole and the Nixon White House, really came from the fact that almost everyday about noon, a brown envelope with a little red cardboard square taped to it which meant "urgent" would arrive in our office. And it would be some remarks that they wanted him to make on the Senate floor that day. I'd look them over and sometimes just shake my head. Because Senators don't go on the Senate floor and say things about each other, against each other. You just don't go on the floor and say certain things. There are unwritten rules of courtesy as well, in, on the floor. And the Senator would look at this stuff and say "I can't give this, I'm not giving this." And sometimes he'd call down there and say, "Don't send this kind of stuff up to me, I'm not going to give it. "

What I particularly remember -- this was during the Vietnam War-- and there were a number of doves in the Senate and they were always wanting him to go after the doves on the War. And that he refused to do. And even because of his own experience with war, he just wasn't about to do that.

I can remember for instance that Senator Fullbright was one those. Senator Church. We all remember those hearings that went on and on and on and on.

I don't believe that the Senator ever gave a speech where he had to just hold his nose. Some of them he would change, some of them he just said, I won't do this. You know. It's just not fit for the Senate floor. And if it was something that he agreed with, he would do it, usually with his own changes though. Never deliver it as they sent it down.

Nixon and Dole

I think it would be fair to say that the Nixon-Dole relationship really began when Nixon went to Kansas to campaign for Congressman Dole out in Pratt, Kansas. And Mr. Dole never forgot that, that Nixon would go out there. That's another small Russell town, out in western Kansas in that big district that he had. And he was always most appreciative that he would go out and campaign for him.

And I really think, the people around the President, Mr. Dole didn't care for at all. And we saw all kinds of really rude treatment. Not only to the Senator, but to all kinds of other kinds of people too. And I think one of the things that would be fair to say is that he always attributed a lot of that to the people around him and not to the President. I know a lot of articles are written about how Nixon treated him so badly. And yet, it wasn't really the President doing it, it was the men around him. I witnessed that, saw it happen. And so I just don't think that the Senator ever really thought that it came directly from Nixon.

I think that the relationship between President Nixon and Senator Dole was a growing one and I think particularly, it grew after Nixon left the White House. I think it was in later years when the Senator would go up and spend a lot of hours talking to him. And I think that affinity between them that developed really had to do with the fact that Mr. Dole always realized that they both came out of similar kinds of backgrounds. And I know that it's been over-used, this idea of hard work is what gets you where you want to go. But that's another thing that we learned in Russell. That with hard work and dedication and if you have the opportunity, you can do anything. And that was really instilled in all of us. And theme of hard work keeps coming up over and over. I just recently read a speech that Mr. Dole gave back in 1987. And the theme in that speech, it was given in Russell, was that he always returned there for reassurance, ah, for the encouragement that was always going to be there, the help that he was going to need, it charged his batteries. And it renewed his commitment to hard work. Those were his words.

FL: Senator Dole is being described as a workaholic, I mean what's his schedule like?

HARBAUGH

Well, it's always been said how demanding he is to work for. And he is demanding. And he's demanding of the best of people. He's not a perfectionist, but he doesn't like mistakes if they are avoidable. The one thing I always felt, was that he worked harder that the rest of us. He worked longer hours than the rest of us. And yet he realized it. And I can remember how fun it would be on Saturday mornings, we all worked. Everybody went to work on Saturday morning. He would be there the earliest, and he would have stopped by a bakery and bought a huge box of all kinds of donuts and sweet rolls, and would have made the coffee by the time we got there. And you know, that I'm sure would seem out of character to many people, but we didn't mind doing it because he always worked harder than we did.

The War Wounds

It wasn't something he dwelled on, it wasn't mentioned. And I can say that you never asked if he needed help, or attempted to help him, unless he asked you for it. He would let you know if he couldn't do something. And like for instance, if he were going to a black tie event at the end of the day, he might call Ward or John, could you come in and put the studs in the shirt, help me get this tie on, whatever, but he would ask you. And he always signed all of the mail, every single letter, for many a year. And I'd take the mail in at the end of the day. And obviously he could only use the one hand to sign, and so I got in a habit about, it was very awkward at first, not knowing how to do this, and slide one letter off. But I just got so I'd just put my hand there, and we'd be talking through all this, and I'd pick it up and slide it away and put it down and slide it away. And you could do things, but you had to do it you know very unobtrusively. And I remember saying something to him and he was signing mail at the time, and I said you know gosh it'd really be fun to go off and do something or other. That I can't recall. But he said to me, well, I couldn't do that. And I said, oops, that's right. And he said you know, I can't get up and paint a picture, a portrait, I can't go out and play sports anymore, I can't play golf, I couldn't play baseball, softball, like the rest of the Congressmen do. There are a lot of things I can't do. And so everyday, I get up, determined to try to do one new thing that I haven't done before. And I remember that really hit me. Because I had never realized that he woke up everyday determined to do something he hadn't done before.

And so all of these things that he's telling me he can't do are things that you do with your hands. And he said "But you know, when you can't use your hands, then you train your mind and you use your mind." And he said, "And I do that everyday," with a little smile. And I said, yes indeed you do.

I think that Mr. Dole's need to control things around him, it's not necessarily controlling people, other than that they you know, do the right thing. But to control what he, you know, his own decisions, and keeping those to himself, and not sharing those with others, um, and not necessarily asking for help in making that decision. I know that's criticized often by others about him, and yet that's another thing about Russell, that's another thing about the Methodist church, and the teachers we had. It was always ingrained in us that you do for yourself and you don't ask for help. You do as much as you can. The other side of that is that you as a person should see what the other person needs, and reach out your hand to help. But for heavens sake, don't ever ask for it. And it's that stoicism, reliance on yourself. And as long as you have that confidence that you are right, that's the way that you, you live. And, I have the same thing. I can never ask anybody for help. No matter what it is. And he is like that. Not on everything, but I think on the big things in his life, yes.

You know I truly think it was the people in Russell, who accepted him so warmly and genuinely when he returned home. From the hospitals. And all that was done for him. You know people in those days didn't have much themselves. And yet everybody was willing to do whatever they could. It's like the cigar box story and the people dropping in their nickels and their quarters and that may not seem like much, but it was to a lot of people then. And so I really think the fact that people, it was people who in reaching out and being willing to help and not only to help him personally, but who help the whole Dole family, his parents and his sisters and his brother, that has always played a big part in his life.

I think it has always made him very sensitive to other people's, whether it be a handicap, whether it be some kind of sorrow, any kind of tragedy, or it could even be something very small that you're worrying over. And he's very sensitive to that. He was always very kind about giving people time to get that worked out, to take time out if you needed to. To spend with a family member. And he would be the one to suggest it. I had an uncle dying of cancer, and he could have died any time, it was just a matter of time. And one day he said to me, "Why don't you go home and see your Uncle Bud. You need to go see him." And I had only been working for him like 3 months, and he said "No, you go. Take a few days and go." And I saw him do that over and over with people.

You know, regarding the war wound, I can remember one Sunday afternoon when we were in Russell, campaigning in the 1966 re-election for the House. And I was over at his parents' working, answering some of the mail. And his mother and I got to talking. And she was telling me about when he came back on the train and she had gone down to the little train station to meet him. And as she got in there, as I recall it, she saw that people on the train had actually gone by and put their cigarettes out in this crevice in his body cast. And you know, I mean to me that's just the most appalling thing to think that after all he'd gone through and then to be treated like that it's just it's so inhumane. And his mother was so appalled by that, and the fact that she told me that years, many many many years later, you know, that must have stayed with her forever.

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