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Bill Wohlford, former Administrative Assistant to Bob Dole

Interviewed May 1, 1996


FL: What are the human qualities to the Kansas landscape?

WOLFORD:

The Western Kansas landscape does impact the personality and the life and the character of the people that grow up there. It's a flat, treeless, landscape for the most part. It has it's own beauty, but different from what we're accustomed to. The wind blows from one direction or the other most of he time. It's always very windy. It's kind of lonesome in a sense in that it's not very populated. I grew up in the western part of the state on a farm. There were days, weeks where I would go the entire week would go without seeing anyone except my family and that was only for a few minutes in the evening as they ate dinner. It's a lonesome existence in some respects. But also it's an environment where there are gathering holes where people come together and there's a lot of give and take, and a lot of openness and a lot of friendships shared. Very personal times. But it is different in the sense that the landscape, the flatness, the desolation, it tends to make individuals, in my opinion, very self reliant. They're less open, maybe, to each other. The times of openness are somewhat staged and somewhat limited. There's not a lot of interface in much of the existence in Western Kansas. In Western Kansas during the time Senator Dole was growing up, there was plague by the Dust Bowl. It was coming out of the Dust Bowl and the Depression of the `30's and it was a very difficult environment. A lot of poverty and a lot of environmental problems. The area saw it's very livelihood, the topsoil, blowing away. And it was a difficult time, not a very stable and secure time for people of that area. At the same time, Russell happened to benefit from, at that period of time, the discovery of oil in the vicinity, that sustained it in ways that other communities didn't benefit.

FL: Looking at this very complicated man, Senator Dole. What are some of the qualities in him that you see are tied to this landscape. Why is he so recognizable to so many people from this place?

WOLFORD:

I think he is very self reliant. He's a very driven person. It was a tough environment that he grew up in and the war injury just added to that, that difficulty. And a lot of people are very, very driven. They get up in the morning and have to persevere that day in order to survive. That was very definitely true for the Dole family in the early '40's, late `30's.

FL: We were talking some before how landscape like this, that you don't wear your heart on your sleeve, coming out of this landscape without too many adjectives. Talk about that.

WOLFORD:

The landscape is not fancy. It's plain but it has it's own beauty. It breeds a kind of people that are very similar in a way. There's not a lot of fluff. Everything's very functional. There are not a lot of words wasted. It's very direct, to the point, very honest, not artificial. What you see is what you get type of thing. And I think that's part of the Kansas landscape. It is very much the same way. To those that like the high mountains and the forests and the oceans, it doesn't have that spectacular aura. But at the same time it has it's own beauty for those who have grown up in it. Seeing a field of ripened wheat in the summertime, seeing the hills covered with grass and greening with the cows grazing there in the springtime. The falls are very beautiful. It has it's own beauty. Maybe not as spectacular as other places, maybe not as fancy as others, but in a very plain way, a soft spoken way, the sunsets and quieter forms of beauty are very much part of the landscape.

FL: Something that you said, people that are wary of personal conversation. Is that something that is heightened by Kansas culture, or heightened perhaps by the war injury.

WOLFORD:

I think the fact that Senator Dole doesn't have interface with a large group of friends is in a way very common for those coming out of a Russell, Kansas type of environment. The interface with people was not constant. There were not big offices that you grew up in. There was a lot of give and take at the drug store after school, at the local grain elevator, the creamery which his father operated, they were gathering spots where people would exchange jabs, pleasantries, stories. That was where people talked and related to each other. It was not an open type of sharing. A personal give and take about your inner thoughts and feelings. It was almost a game, a bantering back and forth. And I think a lot of the families and a lot of the relationships outside the family were not real close, personal open relationships. And I think that he probably grew up in that environment. It's not uncommon, familiar to me, and that was probably exacerbated by the war injury and the fact that when he came back from Italy it was totally up to him. It was one day at a time, one step at a time and he had to do it. Nobody else could do it for him. And I think he reached a point in his recovery where he determined that he was going to succeed and he was going to survive and the one step at a time, the one day at a time, the plodding recovery is that carried him back also carried him to higher office. It's something that's become very much a part of the person.

FL: You both talk a little bit earlier about how that kind experience will strengthen and scar you. It goes both ways.

WOLFORD:

I think from the injury he developed a commitment, a persistence, a driveness. I've never seen anybody so committed to achieve certain goals. And once that goal's achieved you don't take a break for a week and relax, there's the next one's already there. The next hurdle's out in front of you. He is a driven individual. He worked his staff hard, but he never asked his staff to do near as much as what he asked himself to do. I think that was a part of, a carryover from that injury.

At the same time, I think that kind of ambition that resulted from the injury, that driven nature, can also be harmful. And when it isolates you from others around you it makes it difficult for others to help you, to support you, to sustain you, to bounce ideas off of you. The trust element becomes difficult and that's important in a relationship and in a Presidential campaign. So I think in some respects it makes that aspect of campaigning and being President more difficult for him. At the same time, the focus, and the energy, and the drive from the war injury was very beneficial in that respect.

FL: What was your role with him?

WOLFORD:

The Dole organization was always exciting and something to behold. The staff organization was not something you'd expect. Certainly not something that you'd find in a textbook anywhere. And it was kind of, changed day to day. I started out working with Senator Dole as a legislative assistant, primarily answering mail, and then ran his Kansas offices for a while, was involved in his '74 campaign, and then was his Administrative Assistant responsible for the entire Senate office.

It was a position, it was an arrangement in which I had to stay very fluid because he didn't look to me to organize the staff or the work. I would do that and we would have our own agenda which would hopefully be relatively compatible with his direction for the day or week. But he also would intercede at various times and redirect parts of that. It was difficult for people who were more accustomed to a more traditional office structure. But it worked pretty well for us, for me anyway, because I didn't mind staying fluid and flexible. We would start out in one direction and by the end we might be going another, but that was the way it worked. He was a task master. He worked the staff very hard. There weren't a whole lot of thank you's but you always knew, there weren't spoken thank you's there were sort of informal, unspoken thank you's. You could tell when he was pleased with what you had done. He never expected more of his staff than what he did himself, but sometimes that was quite a bit.

When we first, when I first started with him and he was finishing up his term as National Chairman he was working unbelievable weeks. Traveling during the evening and working in the Senate during the day and surviving on three or four hours sleep a day. And the weekends were filled with campaign appearances. So in terms of hard work, he was definitely a hard worker and he expected others to perform in a like manner. And he was, it certainly wasn't a traditional office operation in the sense that an administrative assistant would coordinate and bring everything together and present it to him and it was tied into the Senator in that respect. There wasn't any focal point. He was always the focal point. The more he liked what you were doing, the more you were given things to do. If you weren't performing well, you might go several weeks and not have any direct contact with him. It was difficult, but it was manageable when we really tried to organize the staff in the operation around him in his mode of operation.

FL: Paint a picture for us. What happens? What's the flow? How many things are going on in his office?

WOLFORD:

A normal day in the Senate office was filled with typical problems that are coming up with legislation and issues. The calls from constituents and the big issues that are bothering them. Press pressures wanting a statement on issues that are relevant at that point in time. Public appearances. And over the top of that you lay the Senate floor activities and any work that was going on at committees. So it was a helter skelter type of arrangements. You'd survive a day and things would close down and the Senate would adjourn for the evening, you normally would have during the busy part of the session constituents who were in from Kansas and would expect you to attend receptions throughout the city. So it was a day that would start at 6 or 6:30 in the morning and we'd get the business of the Senate taken care of by 6 in the evening, then we'd pass out the assignments. Several of the staffers and the Senator Dole himself would spend the next hour, hour and a half visiting or trying to hit one or two receptions where Kansas were represented. So it is frenetic and it's because of that activity it was difficult to manage and Senator Dole's style made it even more difficult in some ways. In other ways it was very easy to work with him if you could accept a very fluid structure and a fluid arrangement.

I mean he's been through Administrative Assistants like, I mean the alumni listing for former Administrative Assistants is awfully long because most people who seek that job or feel qualified for that job are used to, accustomed to a much more structured way of managing an office. And the only structure that's there is that there is no structure in terms of interfacing with him. And yet there's a need for structure within the rest of the office. People need that kind of direction and orientation. What does that mean about how he'd run the White House? I assume that means he'd need to get a Chief of Staff that he's comfortable with cause the Senate office is just a microcosm of what it's like running the White House. But I think the President's, in the White House the President doesn't intervene in all of those things. The Chief of Staff is got to deal with most of that.

FL: Talk about the uncertainties of preparing a speech for him.

WOLFORD:

Preparing a speech for him was a real experience. He had certain writers that he was comfortable with. He was generally very uncomfortable working off a written text. So the words needed to be in a style that he was comfortable giving. And then he would lock on the main ideas when it really came down to the delivery of the speech, he would get close and usually touch on all the issues that were addressed but not always in the way that was intended in the speech. So it was very difficult in the sense that you would advance his appearances and his speeches with a written text, because sometimes what was written didn't get delivered. Usually he included in the formal presentation a piece of what was said and most of the major key elements, but sometimes he didn't even catch them all. But the preparation of the speech, he would go and work on it for a day or two and he might find out that the day before the speech was to be delivered he might decide he didn't like any of it. And he'd kind of start from scratch or he'd take something, or he'd take one or two different speeches. Preparing speeches for him was an experience and somewhat difficult.

FL: Just to go back to how intensely he worked. How many hours in a day?

WOLFORD:

I think in his heart he really has a strong commitment to accomplish certain things. He has a, it's not just a personal ambition. He has a desire to serve the country in a way that he thinks is beneficial and he works at it from sunlight to dark seven days a week. Before he was married to Elizabeth it was seven day job being on his staff. We normally worked a half a day or six hours or so on Saturdays. But you could go home at 5 o'clock on Saturday evening and receive a call and have something more to do or something more to go after. There were no time limits.

Prior to his marriage, it was his life. And he really didn't have life other than the political work that he was doing and his work in the Senate. So he devoted 100% of his time to that. Robin was given a little piece of time, but other than that, that was all he did, and that was all he thought about and the staff needed to support him in doing that. He was, that was one of the things that he really worked on after his marriage to Elizabeth. I don't think that she was much different maybe than that in they both with the schedules that they had and the demands that were placed on their time. They really worked on reserving some time where they could be, for each other. And for their marriage. And I observed that process, which I think was a very healthy one, because his life and his work prior to that time had really become one and the same.

Even though he was a driven individual and consumed by his work, there were times when you by statements that he made that he wasn't necessarily proud of that or wanted to make certain that in one instance that I didn't experience the negatives that came out of falling into that same trap. He, on one occasion, he encouraged me to delegate, to use the staff, to not try to do everything myself, to take some time. Get the work done, then get home and spend some time with my family. His statement was that when he first came to the Congress he answered every letter, responded to every phone call, was involved in every piece of legislation, spent every weekend in the district and he did it all himself and made sure it was just the way he wanted, and he said, "You know what it got me? A divorce." And I just feel like he got so caught up in the process and Phyllis wasn't willing to do that. There were other things that were important in her life and she was willing to be a Congressman's wife but not solely taken up by that process and those responsibilities. So I think she went her way and he went his and they just became strangers. And I don't think he was particularly proud of that.

FL:The art of the deal. Dole has been described by just about everyone as someone who has mastered making things happen in the Senate. Describe what's involved in making it happen.

WOLFORD:

Senator Dole's deal making skills in my opinion are a derived from a couple strengths that he has. One is even though he has an ideological direction, he's not tied to that. Rather than being absolutely committed to perfection in everything that is done legislatively, he thinks that the process, you take steps at a time. And he's willing to accept going as far as you happen to be able to go at that point in time. So he's ideologically, he's not opposed to compromise. But the ability that, even if you have that ideological flexibility, I don't thing you're necessarily a good deal maker unless you have the other skills that he has, and which from my observations was an uncanny ability to know what the other Senators are thinking and to know what's important to them. And what it will take to get them on board. And he can sense that in a committee meeting, on the floor of the Senate, in ways that were amazing to me. It think it comes from his personal knowledge of them. Most of the Senators he had a very good relationship with. He knew because of his political activities as National Chairman and having been out in all the states, he knew the politics of most of the states and so he understood their political concerns, as well as their ideological concerns on the various issues and was able to fit it together. He has a tremendous mind for detail, for attention to those kinds of things and could see. In that sense he had a vision. He could see how giving and taking here and pulling a little bit here, and giving a little bit there, would make a final end product possible. So I mean there's a vision in that sense. He could see with in a given situation the realm of possibilities. And what had to be done to get there. I think it's a combination of those factors that made him and continue to make him a great deal maker, so to speak. Politics is the art of compromise and very rarely does one get something exactly the way they want it. But there's a time to fight and a time to compromise and I think he's very good at doing that.

FL: He really does refuse to talk in big visions, big plans. Is that part of where he comes from?

WOLFORD:

I think his discomfort with talking about vision is in part a feeling that's not real. That that's not achievable. That that's artificial and somewhat deceptive. He has some general themes. It's even difficult for him to articulate those in terms of a vision. But I think laying down a vision for America that is made up of a legislative agenda and certain aspirations, when he doesn't really feel like he can see how those are going to be achieved is deceptive and a little bit uncomfortable for him. And he's much more oriented to the one step at a time approach and may go back to the war injury and the fact that he really does deal with things much more comfortably one day at a time. Dealing with all of the forces that are brought to bear and bringing those forces together to make the best out of the situation. He is very much a pragmatist in that sense.

The Roy campaign was I think a turning point in his political career and also, I think, a very challenging point for him individually. He started out that campaign with a double digit lead, a lead of 20 points or more against the Congressman Roy who was a very popular congressman and by September of the election year had fallen into a double digit deficit. And there was a point in time where he had to take measure of himself and decide whether he really wanted to fight through and stay in the Senate and whether this was all worth it. I think he felt a little bit shorted by his friends. He had been loyal to Nixon. He had been loyal to President Ford. He had been loyal to the Party as National Chairman and all of that was being used against him in that post-Watergate era and right in the middle of that fall, September of that campaign, September or October, President Ford pardoned President Nixon. And it was just kind of the final nail in the coffin. He was not enjoying the campaign. He was not really involved in the campaign or engaged in the campaign. It was almost as though his heart wasn't there.

There was a time in that campaign where he did some real soul searching and said, "First of all, is this the work I want to do? Is this the job I want? Do I want to stay in the Senate? And if so, what have I done wrong?" And I feel like he turned away from being a water carrier for other people's causes and other people's campaigns and he decided he was going to have to cast himself and his own issues and his own image rather then working for others who at that time had really left him holding the bag, so to speak.

FL: Talk about that moment. The famous debate. You were with him after that. What happened in that debate with Roy?

WOLFORD:

The State Fair Agriculture Debate occurred in September of 1974. Dole had been faltering and Roy was coming on pretty strong. And I think Dole had challenged Congressman Roy to a debate focused on agriculture at the State Fair. Dole had served on the Ag. Committee for years and Dr. Roy had been primarily involved in non-agriculture issues. And having set up that pivotal moment we just had a terrible time getting Senator Dole to focus on the debate, on reviewing the issues, on a strategy, and in fact when he finally reserved a couple of hours before the debate to prepare for the actual event, he spent about five minutes and said he was tired and he thought his time would be best used taking a nap. The debate was not a very positive experience for him or for the Dole camp -- frustration with some of the issues and the general direction of the debate. The issue of abortion came up and he asked Dr. Roy if he had performed abortions. Which was atypical, the abortion issue was an issue, it was really the first time in a major Senate campaign that I'm aware of in the post Roe v. Wade era that that issue had become a focal point in the campaign. But it hadn't been bantered around in that sense. One had this position and the other had this position and the positions were dramatically different, but it really hadn't been used in a confrontational sense up to that time.

I think he left the debate feeling very discouraged, not very pleased with his performance, with a real realization of how tough the campaign was going to be if he were going to win it, and with some question in his mind, he had just started dating Elizabeth at this point in time, not just started but they were seriously dating at that time, I think there was some question in his mind whether he really wanted to do what it took to continue to be a Senator. He in fact expressed that on the plane trip. We left the fair, after the debate he stayed around the Fair grounds and shook hands and did the typical political thing at state fairs and then we flew to an event in Southeast Kansas. I can't remember where it was, but on the plane in one of the rare times he ever expressed anything negative he said, "Boy this is really going to be tough. I'm not sure physically or mentally that I'm going to want to do it." And I guess when we got off the plane I wouldn't have been surprised if it could've gone down hill from there just because the candidate wasn't mentally ready to do what it took. But it was a large gathering, a dinner. And it was interesting to see him as he got into the group and started shaking hands and seeing old friends and seeing the support and talking about some of the issues and receiving encouragement as if they were giving him a blood transfusion and the energy started coming back. And I think he made a decision that he was going to do it. Maybe a little bit differently, but it was worth doing and he from that point on. I think the following week he had an appearance on Face the Nation or one of the national Sunday morning talk shows on which he did very well and he was buoyed by that and shortly thereafter came back and just started going county to county, town to town, 18 hour a day, 7 day a week type schedule. And when he does that he's a real force to reckon with. But he hadn't done that prior to that time.

FL: Was it also important that he went back into the campaign full force, but also that it was the beginning of some other changes?

WOLFORD:

I think there was a turning point in that campaign, not just in the campaign itself but in his philosophy or his approach. He was really, instead of being a supporter of somebody else's agenda, a spear carrier for somebody else's theme, he was his own person. What he believed in, he was going to work on. His own agenda, his own issues. Not necessarily bless everything the Party did or everything the Republican President did. But he would be his own person. And some of those things were not necessarily along Party lines. He was always a good friend. He and George McGovern were great friends. And one of the rifts he'd had with the White House in '72 was the pressure he received from some of the staff to say things about and, about Senator McGovern that Senator Dole didn't really believe. And he didn't do those and took some heat. And I think there was a realization at that point that he needed to be his own persona. He needed to have his own political agenda. He just couldn't be a warrior forever at other people's causes. And there was a change and it was a healthy change.

FL: Could you talk some more about the running of his Senate office..... It is quite critical the way an office is structured.

WOLFORD:

It was very difficult for Senator Dole to fire a staff member or to say fire a staff member. When I was there, even though we had major changes in the staff, we never terminated anybody. We found other people jobs that were acceptable to them and usually paid a little bit more than what they were then making on staff and they'd move on to other positions. But that was the process. You never terminated somebody. That was just something that wasn't done. It was just the rule of thumb was you had to have your own agenda to try and provide some structure for the staff and then allow him to intervene as he saw fit and modify it. And each day was a different day. In a different way. And maybe it was real effective in the use of his time. It may have been. But it certainly is unorthodox in the business world. Or in the management world.

His management style was clearly kind of day to day. Not unlike his focus on deal making as opposed to a longer term vision. Some of the time spent on developing issues and working issues and doing the staff work that leads to that was a long term process. And it was very difficult for him to commit and say, "Yeah, we should commit staff resources to that issue. It's something that I want to pursue. Assuming that after investigation the findings are as we suspect they will be." Sometimes you went down blind alleys. Sometimes there were things that you knew were absolutely right that ought to be pursued and he wouldn't. Either it wasn't the right time or the right place or it conflicted with another Senator for another reason that he didn't want to have a conflict with at that time.

There are some things in the Senate operation that the staff doesn't understand and can't be told. And that's just the way it is. But he was in terms of providing continuity in the office, a good work flow, he wasn't conducive to that. So you'd have to build that around him and then allow his intervention as he saw fit on a day to day basis. And that would change daily, almost hourly. And if he was dissatisfied with somebody's work on an issue he would pull that person, or that person would just kind of not hear from him and another person would be brought in to fill in the gaps. And there wasn't necessarily notice. And that can be disheartening for people who are really committed to that issue and are working for him and to pleasing him. It was discouraging sometimes. But I don't think he did it intentionally. Although he liked, in my opinion, to have staff competing. That was part of the stimulus, the performance instigator was that there was competition for his time and his attention. Punishments were meted out where you didn't perform you kind of got lost in the back room and not really be in the play of things for an extended period of time. But none of it followed a business type structure. He didn't really have a business background. He was in the county attorney's office, then in Congress so his, he didn't come from that background, he didn't have that training. He didn't have that orientation. His career was really a political career which was more issue oriented and he was not uncomfortable with that disjointed type of approach to things.

FL: Could you talk more about improvising the way he did and freezing people out ...

WOLFORD:

I think it says that he really wants to control it, to be involved in it. It's hard for him to let go. It might have said, maybe personally, that he didn't trust my judgment in a lot of things. But I didn't really sense it was that as much as he had his own way of doing things and it was his office and he was going to do it that way. And if somebody was going to change it was going to be me and not him. That's just the way it was. I think it goes back to the personality, the rugged individualist, the driven nature. He wanted to make sure it was going as hard and as fast and in the way he wanted it to go and there are just certain things that it was difficult for him to let the staff work through. He would intervene and take control and make it happen the way he wanted it to happen.

FL: Did you ever receive a compliment?

WOLFORD:

You mean, I received a compliment I think, I can't say that he ever came to me and said, "Boy that was a great job. You did a great job on this or that." Or any one issue. He made a public statement about the work I did in the 1974 campaign that I heard on television, but that was the next day and I hadn't been to bed for a couple of days so I was home sleeping. I hadn't been home for six weeks. But no, verbal compliments, I can't really remember one. At the same time, I knew that he was pleased with what I was doing. He had a way of making that known. It was maybe difficult for him to say. I t would be that his upbringing was not dissimilar to mine, coming from the same area. I can't remember when my father told me, "That was great. Boy you did a good job at that." But I definitely knew when he was pleased and when he wasn't. It was kind of a silent communication. So I wasn't uncomfortable with that. There are those that are more accustomed to verbal reinforcements of positives and negatives. It's difficult to work for him cause, at least at that point in time, he did not do that.

At the same time I felt very much appreciated. I knew when he appreciated what I was doing or when he wasn't too satisfied with what I was doing. But I would bet that his relationship with his father was very much the same. There's an unspoken in the rural community that I grew up in and families. And I would not be surprised if he wasn't a part of that.

At the same time he's not an ungrateful person. I never sensed that. It's more a fact of him being unable to become comfortable expressing appreciation, expressing approval. Although he was very much oriented to doing that in political campaigns. I was always amazed when you were out on the dinner circuit he never failed to go back to thank the kitchen help. Many times those people receive nothing but grief for their efforts. I'm sure there were political benefits to that obviously. Most people didn't think about the kitchen help and the hands involved in the preparation of the food. And a kind word to them was real important. Went a lot of miles.

FL: Many people see Dole with a singular sense of humor. Describe Dole's humor.

WOLFORD:

I think the humor, he's the master of the one liner. He has the ability to be a stand up comedian. The timing and everything. He just has a second sense of those things. I've seen that sort of thing. One of my favorite times was in his office on the rare Friday afternoon when things were kind of going slowly and Lynn Nofziger and Bill Fridly and some of his closer friends would show up and they entertained themselves with these one liners. I mean, and they were a master. I'd stand back and watch. I wouldn't engage in that. They'd tear me apart. But it was not unlike the type of give and take that I've observed in, I call them, the watering holes of Russell and Genesele, my home town, and other communities were people would gather and that's where there was a time of fellowship and give and take. But rather than being an exchange of the inner self, real personal exchanges, it was the one liners, the jabs, the bettering each other. Some of which had a real personal meaning. Some of it was nothing but light hearted fun. But it's not unlike the things you see or hear in the elevator, the sales barn, the drug store. When he grew up and when I grew up that was a place for those kinds of exchanges. So I think it very definitely is a type of humor that is developed and you see all over Western Kansas. Just go to the elevator, or the sales barn, or the filling station or wherever the men gather for that sort of thing and you'll see something very similar to the skill he's mastered.

FL: The friendship with Nixon. It was a very charged friendship. He loved and hated him.

WOLFORD:

I never heard him say anything negative personally about Richard Nixon. There was a time when politically he pulled away and created some distance, but I never heard him say something negative about Nixon. I heard him say some negative things about Nixon's lieutenants who he felt didn't treat him well, didn't treat him fairly, didn't represent Nixon, President Nixon's best interest. But there was always a lot of respect for President Nixon and admiration for his particularly his knowledge of foreign affairs, for his political acumen. And even after Nixon resigned the Presidency, it wasn't long after that that there was always an ongoing relationship. I think his times of exchange with Nixon were very, very valued times. He always respected the person. He was well aware that he made some mistakes, that he didn't handle some things the way that he should have and they were his own, caused own downfall. But I think I never saw a time where he had anything negative to say about Nixon, the man. A lot of admiration for him.

FL: Talk about that time when he wanted to see the President. What happened?

WOLFORD:

As I recall, the one time where Haldeman and it really irritated Dole and Dole may have embellished it a little bit for the humor involved. He was frustrated with President Nixon and the White House continued to push to really bury McGovern. They wanted to win by a huge landslide. And Dole was saying, "Don't do that. Let's turn our energies and our attention. We're going to win. We should have this thing won. Not take any chances, but let's turn our attention to winning some Congressional races."

And he was trying to get that message to the President and had tried to arrange a meeting with the President, that was when he was National Chairman, through either Haldeman or Erlichman, I can't remember which one it was. As he related it, he had made a request to see the President and the response was, "Just turn on the news at 6:00." That he was going to be on the news. He was isolated from that, from the President. He felt like it was done by the staff, not by the President. At the same time, I think there was kind of a hurt that he felt like had President Nixon wanted to, he could have assured that Senator Dole had access in spite of disagreements with some of the lieutenants. So that's the closest I ever came to seeing him negative in terms of his feelings and respect for President Nixon. I can't say that I was extremely close to a lot of their, was privy to paraphrases of their discussions, but I just felt like he just thought President Nixon had a tremendous understanding. And a lot to offer. And because of some mistakes, the country was not able to receive the benefit of that.

FL: His victories.....talk about what they were....

WOLFORD:

They are victories he's brought about by making the process work and deliver a product absent his involvement and skills, it wouldn't have delivered. You know I can't think of an issue that was his issue. He went there wanting to get this legislation to get passed and it was passed and that was his idea. But then, at the same time, he has had a stamp and an imprint on a number of issues. Some of which are out of character for him but really tugged at his heart. Food Stamps being one. The WIC program being another. He saw some real needs being met there and even though they were considered issues that liberals were proponents of, he saw what they were doing and believed in that. Some of his work in the civil rights areas and just bringing about legislation that wouldn't have happened absent his skills and his intervention, to me are his mark on the statute books. He doesn't have an idea, a new program, a war on poverty, a Peace Corps. That wasn't his orientation. It was taking bits and pieces of things others were working on and fitting them together and seeing that the end product, considering the whole legislative agenda, was a positive product not a negative one.

FL: What would be in your memory the most, when you felt closest to him.

WOLFORD:

There weren't many times when we really had personal conversations about, there were times when he would express concern about my family, and how everything was going and how I was doing and those sort of things and then we'd move on to the work at hand. I suppose the one time I really saw him break down in a personal meaning was the first time I saw him after he returned from his honeymoon, following his father's funeral. And he and Elizabeth had left on their honeymoon and his father, that evening, had had a heart attack. And I had gone down, he was not feeling well and I had gone down to Senator Dole's apartment at the Watergate and then gone with his father to the hospital and then been there when they finally reached Senator Dole somewhere in the Caribbean where they were trying to reach their honeymoon destiny. And he became aware that his father had had a serious setback. And we had to make a decision, long distance, over whether to perform the surgery or not to perform the surgery. And I was involved in that whole process which I think was a very tension filled process for him and his father ultimately died that evening. And he came back for the funeral, then he went back and he and Elizabeth took an abbreviated honeymoon, and came back to the office and the first time that I saw him back in the office after that, I just walked in the front of his desk and he just broke down and wept. Which was obviously in grief over his father who I think was a real strong force in his life. I don't know what that I felt close, but the man wasn't made of iron. He had feelings and emotions and I think a very strong love and respect for his father. That was a driving force in his life. He had made a comment to me about how exciting it was for his Dad to see him mentioned as a potential running mate for President Ford, which had been a topic of a Washington Post article just prior to the time his father died. And he was real proud of that. He was pleased his father was pleased. It was, I have never, in the course of the five years that I worked for him never saw him express emotion like that. It was not something we sat down and talked about. It was something, he collected himself in 30 seconds and we went on about business. But for one moment there you could see that underneath it all there was a man that was really hurting. That he loved his father very much and those emotions were part of his existence, even though he didn't let very many people see them.

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