tv Interview with Bob Michel CSPAN February 17, 2017 10:49pm-11:48pm EST
overall, with big gains in public persuasion and relations with congress. how did our historians rate your favorite president? overall,who are the leaders ane losers in each of the 10 categories? you can find all of those and more on our website at the span.org. -- c-span.org. >> join us sunday morning on "washington journal, as historians talk about c-span's 2017 presidential historian survey. that segment is live beginning at 8 a.m. eastern on c-span. former illinois republican congressman bob might -- bob michel has died. he was 93. he served in a house for 30 years and was house minority leader for 14 years.he worked with ronald reagan and george.h -- george h.w. bush to push legislation and through the democratically controlled congress. ln 1988, congressman miche
sat down for an interview on his life and career. this is about an hour. what's the difference between being a majority and minority? rep. michel: all the difference in the world. i'm probably not the best to ask, because as you well know, this is my 33rd year in the congress. every one of those years has been as a member of the minority party. i can only look with andy across the aisle to my counterparts and ask that question. how is it to be in the majority? but you can pretty well guess the things so many occasions that i lose, i would be a winner if i were in the majority. but i lose far more than i went on the issues. to be in ther got majority, would you do things differently than the majority does now? rep. michel: we have been
talking for a number of years on the republican side of the aisle about how we would reform the house of representatives. no question that we proliferated this place with committees, subcommittees, and all that. the problem is in an attempt to try and give everybody a little of the action, to get your piece some visibility, we got to the point where there are so many places, 30 in their little niche -- authority in their that we just say hello mr. chairman or madam chairman, and you got it because everyone is a chairman of something at the lowest subcommittee. the problem of that in addition to proliferating the whole legislative crit -- committee structure your is that the more current -- committees there are, the more staff there is. is, the staff there
more room required. the more room required, the more buildings. that is what makes us a bureaucracy on the hill. whereas 40 years now when i first came to capitol hill, when i first walked into the office of the member of congress before he went to senate, he had a husband and wife team plus another man in london. four people to run that shop. of course, you would be the first to admit everett dirksen certainly made a mark in american history. they didn't need all that kind of support mechanism. in those days. of course, it has all grown from those early days. please to talk about 3000 people on capitol hill at most -- we used to talk about 3000 people on capitol hill at most.
now, it is nearly 20,000 when you take into account everybody. >> what impact did everett dirksen have on your political career? rep. michel: he was certainly my mentor. he worked for years on the house of representatives, and stopped no doubt because he was losing his i said. he wasn't sure -- eyesight. he wasn't sure whether he was going to lose the majority race are not. the leader, scott lucas, part of the district that i now represent, very popular throughout the state. everett dirksen talked about burning out two or three buick automobiles up and down the 300e, which is up and down miles, 700 miles across. going into every little town. he is to tell stories about how his wife used to ride with him and take notes. they didn't even have drivers in
those days. you drove your own car. the thing really that help everett win that race dumping the majority leader was the old hearings. in chicago there was a crime investigating committee. if you didn't have the city of chicago running down stay, it was devastating. the whole investigation unfolded at about the same time to the -- it wasy tell me one of those things that i remember from the early days looking back. but then everett dirksen went on to the senate, became a distinguished member of the body and minority leader. for a number of terms before he died. >> i've been reading about your
past. forne point you are working congressman velti. dirksen'sl: he was successor. during the course of the war he served in the federal bureau of investigations. he had surveilled people out at the university of california in the timepiracy era of of the atomic bomb, and secrets were being stolen. he wanted to come to congress to ,xpose what he saw firsthand but always felt was set upon when he sent those returns into the fbi. at that time, i think the granary was attorney general. he thought the american people should be much more attuned to what was really happening in those days.
he had a meteoric rise because in his second term he became chairman of the committee, because that time was the advent of television. the television cameras purchased on -- focused on committee hearings. you had members who got so much publicity. for example, richard nixon, during the course of that. senator potter went to the senate from the house from michigan. both from south dakota warehouse members and on the committee and went to the other body. you had quite an exit is from the house to the senate solely on the strength of the publicity we generated by the relatively first hearings that were covered so extensively by television. >> in those days -- rep. michel: actually, that gave
me a boost, because my boss was so engrossed in the activity that it left me free to go back home and pick up around the edges, and to the chamber of commerce speeches. he was just so intensely interested in that. he had a primary opponent all four times he ran. and you are the administrative assistant. rep. michel: please used to tell organization people that i knew every precept by name -- precinct by name. very important to know organization people. when i ran the first time, it was a spirited five-man race. i won that race in 1956. i have been reelected ever since without ever having primary opposition until this year, when an off-the-wall individual cannot to opposing. -- came out to oppose me.
having had that early primary experience, one election every two years was enough. but to have a primary and a general every two years was devastating. voluntarily, after four terms, retired. >> does that have been much anymore when an administrative assistant will become a member of congress? rep. michel: you have people who will still attempt to make the race and be successful. you have a number of them who have not. lyndon johnson was at one time an assistant. whip was anic assistant to mr. bernie sisk of california. that were a number of them had the experience. he even ran for senate one time. idea if you have people watching this, thinking they want to get into politics, to come here first and work for
a member? rep. michel: there's no question that the experience here is of inestimable value, no question of that. the danger is, however, if you are identified as a washingtonian versus the district's individual, a stint of it is all right. roots you have lost your in your district, and some members have thought all they needed to do is make a name for , then go back home and reestablish a residence, you're still received some respect as a carpetbagger. in my case, i was continually going back and forth. my children all went to school in primary grades go back in the district, so my roots were there and so is my home. you have to be very careful about that. even in my last several elections as a leader, the
argument that is raised is bob has forgotten his district, he still ensconced in the leadership role in congress and therefore he thinks more in national terms as distinguished from district terms. you have to think of all politics as logo. you have to keep ties. >> have you found yourself getting further and further from the district? rep. michel: there's always some danger to that degree, but i will tell you this last time around that iran just like a ran, just-- that i like a freshman, we put 20,000 miles on our wagon during the campaign. it is now a bigger district. of 16 counties as distinguished from six counties when dirksen had it. been through redistricting 60, 70, and 80.
each time, illinois has lost seats. the population shifts demographically have been to the disadvantage in a state like mine, highly agricultural in nature. as a result, the districts tend >>be geographically enlarged and tougher to cover. back to the un-american activities committee. given the mood of today, the president just meeting again a couple weeks ago with mr. gorbachev, was it hard for you to believe it would come as far as we had when people were commies?rd-carrying rep. michel: when i think that on therep. michel: transformation of so many things during my tenure in congress, just amazing. it's amazing what television has done to the whole political scheme of things in our country. atwas just in its infancy the time i was here in washington 40 years ago, and the
impact and the explosion of that element into my political life. with respect to the soviets, they were perceived really as the ungodly enemy. know that whether or not in those days we were well enough informed or gifted to perceive how this whole thing might unfold as it has. i was fortunate to go to the soviet union the first time in 1957. not in an official sort of way, but with a group of is this man from home -- businessmen from home. i have been there three times since in an official capacity. o'neill and i were the first to sit down with gorbachev. of thethe transformation
style of leadership in the soviet union versus 30 or 40 years ago, there have been an awful lot of changes. i can recall my first trip, the cityimpressed that of moscow was just military trucks. vehicles.-- military i thought it was really something. each time i returned, you saw the military being diminished in proportions, with establishment of more civilian cars and trucks. that therearlier were actually card-carrying communists in this country. rep. michel: absolutelyrep. michel:, no question. >> with they admit it?
rep. michel: well, they would take the fifth amendment. they would revert to their constitutional right as american citizens to not incriminate themselves in any kind of testimony that might ultimately reach the court. >> what would have been the difference if they had been >? rep. michel: we then past the mccarran walter act, which was born of the communist conspiracy. how you treated that subject, where we going to permit the communist party to be a legitimate party like republicans and democrats? in times past we have had socialist and libertarian party. let's face day, even before that when i go back,
, the nazisal films and the rally in madison square garden in our own country at the tler, to think that was going on in our own country, it was hard to bring to mind and accept the fact it was happening in our own country. when it came to the communist conspiracy, you had the network that had definitely infiltrated the communication mechanism of our country, knowing full well possible to mold public opinion and shape public opinion by just a person here or there. even having people exposed in
the treasury department who may very well have given the plates to the currency for replication in a foreign country, those were very serious times. there would be those of more liberal persuasion who said you are overreacting. you had that confrontation in our own country. back atink as we look that, they will say that definitely was a time when it was there. is thing that surprises me if i look back upon what was evident at that time, and then go back some years before that to the devastating depression days of how we had 25% unemployment and an environment just right for that kind of
element to seize and take significant power in our country. the strength of our constitutional system was so strong that even in the wake of that terrible condition economically, where 25% of our people were unemployed, that the system survived that test. of course, we are as strong as we are today. it is a different world which we are living. i suppose dedicated communists still think in terms of the competition that prevails between their system and ours, but i don't really think among emerging leaders you see desire as we
proceeded to be way back then to involve the entire globe. they were never going to be satisfied until it was all communist world. i think some of the more thoughtful individuals now think in terms of what is the accommodation between two ?ifferent schools of thought going to china, and being able to see the history, when kai-shek was a leader and pushed out of the mainland, i remember going over there. news. was a topic in the day.were bombing one if you ask school kids where they are, they won't know.
there was a lot of sense -- sensitivity that burned the animosity there. kai-shek is gone now. events toistorical which i have been a witness to. >> what impacted getting wound -- what impact did getting wounded in world war ii have on you? rep. michel: i tell you, it just made you much more aware of what war is all about. i saw the worst of it. it?o you really remember rep. michel: yes, you do. when i first came back from the war and went back to college, whenever i would hear the backfiring of a car on the street i was jumpy. collegeer our classroom, the windows were open.
the fraternities used to have some of these canons once in a while.one afternoon , i remember it so distinctly because my wife was in the same class. we weren't married at that time, but just happened to have the same class. i just hit the floor. it was a natural reaction you have if you have been in combat salon. -- so long. if anything, his aground. the ground.ng, hit we were very naive. i was a young man and that time. we went off to war. >> you were a private. rep. michel: yes. in the enlisted ranks. i came from a very religious family, and a very strict family. the tenets of the church, thou shalt not kill.
if you were a formal member of the church, many of them went into noncombatant service. they served very ably in medical roles or something to that nature. i did not. i had a war with myself in my conscience at the time. it was one of those things that during practically all that period of combat. i have seen the worst of it. i participated in the worst of it. you are not pleased about it. you know you have to answer to .our maker for what you've done guess those of us who had to fight in war when we kill people, we rationalized it by looking to history and the wars that were fought, for what -- for freedom of expression,
religious wars even. you say, how does it affect my life? i tell you, it affects my life to the degree that i know what the horrors are. i'm not a happy warrior out there. when the president was asked what was his most difficult hisce to make, i think action was committing a young man to a combat situation. you cannot ever forget them. , you have tooken be levelheaded about it, too, and recognize i will still go back to a church setting. it is not the utopian world we would all like to dream of.
that there's no need for armaments, no need for people defending themselves, because the need is still there. it is a constant kind of war that you still carry on, at least those of us who think strongly about it. brian: you went back to bradley university. if you had to list a number of things to impact your life up to that point, including the war, what were the goals? rep. michel: i can't ignore my early childhood and the rearing i talked about with respect to my mother and father. i never heard my father use the word dosh -- gosh. he was offended when he heard that. brian: never swear. rep. michel: absolutely not. nor drinking or smoking.
toas foreclosed from going dances initially. i came from a very very strict environment. you did learnat was the difference between right and wrong. my father was an immigrant from france. my mother never finished high school. -- aas a height domesticate she was the most gifted person in the house. superlative cook, superlative sewer. the house was immaculate. things like that from the early day on -- i tell you, when i first came home and told my mom and dad i was seriously thinking of getting in the political arena, you can see their chin nearly had the kitchen table. you are going to get involved in
this dirty, nasty, bucking game of politics after the way we brought you up? in their mind they perceived the political arena as something that you just didn't get that close to. brian: what had impacted you that you wanted to get into it? rep. michel: well, when i told you complain about this or that, that it isn't itht, but under our system is the strength of the kind of people who participate in it. you can't just shy away from it. frankly, the church environment which i grew up in it, the church took a very distant view of politics. that's one of the things again that has happened in our own country when you get more and more people of church orientation and religious orientation involved in the process.
only within the last few years do i go back to the church i was brought up and talk about this experience i have had in the political arena. is it possible to walk the straight and narrow in the political arena? some ofy to say that the very finest, nicest, wonderful, most honorable people i met had been in the political arena. every once in a while something goes bad. but it brings us back to the whole house of representatives, how it's a whole microcosm of the entire country. to have it be absolutely pure and utopian, but it isn't. brian: back to the beginning, where did you get your interest in politics? i wasichel: in school, always managing somebody's
campaign or running for homeroom president. i think in high school i was an officer in some of the classes. in college i think each year i was an officer. i really never thought of it in terms of a vocation. i thought of it more in terms of advocation. one of those things you did. if there was a real key decision in this whole business, it was the late president of the university who called me in one said, "what, and are you going to do after graduation?" the term bigused man on campus. he said he had a friend running for congress. he said, i think you should go
down and have an interview, he looking for a man. from what i've have jerked -- observed, you're the kind of individual he was looking for. until that time, i had absolutely no idea for sure what i wanted to do. ofas thinking more in terms the insurance industry in business, because i like dealing with people, maybe selling. that seemed to be where i was headed. but after i had that interview, and having no knowledge of how to write a press release, the judge said, "after graduation, i would like to have you come aboard. we can only pay you 30 bucks a week." of course, my wife had finished
bradley a year before i did. even though being younger because of my three and a half years during the service, we never knew one another before the war. that was a key decision. the key element was meeting my and the musicy school, where she was an accomplished pianist. she played for me in my senior concert. probably ended up with a minor in music when it was all over. we got married the december after the election in 1948. she had to complete her teaching contract into the next february. i came down to washington in january of 1949 with the expectation that it would last a year. my wife and i would go to chicago for a quick honeymoon.
the day after christmas, we were married . incidentally our 40th anniversary coming up the day after christmas this year. it will be like a honeymoon, go to washington. i had no idea what it was like. i had been there two different times during the course of the war. one time on the train coming and another time i forget what the occasion was, but i remember walking down the streets of pennsylvania avenue. not the.is time, it was going to be harry truman. seeing the grandstanding going up and wondering what this was going to be about. i stayed at one of the hotels where the old fbi agents used to, one of the more reasonable hotels. it was on the hill.
and the walk down the avenue and to see the lights of the capital when i came back, and every night for 30 years i was just so enthralled with being in the nation's capital and what that all meant. , whoe, little bob michel got transformed from peoria out to the washington scene.i have never forgotten that. brian: you say that your parents were nonpolitical. how did you get your interest even in high school and college in being a class officer? rep. michel: i don't know, just that i was always kind of an outgoing person. i had twin sisters who were younger than i was. i don't know, it was just one of those things. people and always got along fairly well with them. i never thought i was a problem child. i was just talking to someone
about the number of spankings i got when i was a kid and how dad used to use the razor strap. and my driver said that back in my days we used to use the belt. i remembered for me it was the razor strap. that was tough. c, thatome with a punishment was march of stairs without any separate. -- supper. some ofdn't think of those corporal punishments in family life today, but that was the kind of environment which i was raised. onceember my principal giving me a whipping for setting fellows on the water fountain as a prank in grade school.
you did well this things as you usually do, not terribly serious, but a prankster. brian: did your parents disagree with you being in high school and college politics? rep. michel: never. mother was active in the pta. for the big resale, she would cook. sewis to sew -- used to quilts. i remember when it was so bitter 20 or 30the 1930's, below zero. he used to take the time to walk. school was about four blocks. houston lockhart -- halfway to meet us and sharing we would make it home all right without freezing. you didn't drive in those days are anything. dad and mom were always very
attuned to make sure that we were cutting it in school. if we let down, that was the most eerie thing -- serious thing, if we didn't buckle down. of course, i worked too. in high school i did a lot of yard work. i had everything locked up of -- up and$.35 a yard down the street, $.35 a yard. i learned how to press pants and cuffs. -- sew when one of the guys needed mending or a patch, that was my job. i was also a paperboy.
i wasn't content with one paper. i had two morning routes and an evening round. in those days we had competition. the carriers actually went out to help sell the paper. my pitch was because i came from an industrial community like pr i came from an yea industrial community. i got so good at it that i had two morning routes i thought i could cover. admittedly in the early days my father would help me with the sled when the papers were so heavy. in the wintertime he would help me on sunday because the papers were bigger. saying howe did the
does it play npr you -- in pr peoria come from? rep. michel: i guess it came from the vaudeville days. it was a river and a show town. i think it really goes back to those days, how will this thing , a typicalria midwestern city down there on the river. ,oing back to the early days when they established the creek, just opposite the city. of course, we had indians. city, it was
amazing, larger than the city of chicago. it had to emanate from those good old volvo days. brian: -- vaudeville days. brian: it still a great cross-section of america? pre yeah -- peoria was one of those places where you could go to see how products sell, like procter & gamble. that was advertising agencies picked up the beginning of that. brian: you know a lot of presidents. which president have you known the best. rep. michel: of course, jerry ford and i are good friends from
his having been a leader in the house. and president nixon before, we section, andame when he was vice president and president i got to know him. i also got to learn between nixon and ford agreed deal -- a great deal. subsequented me with presidents. i was in the cabinet room the night nixon resigned. i took the notes. , and after ite in was all over, there really wasn't anybody who had transcribed notes. i pulled the note out of my pocket and scrawled things on
the back of the envelope, and the next day fleshed it out. some years later i sent them onto the former president. that was my recollection of that evening. i called it a room full of tears. there were several conservative democrats who the president felt close to in the house like tiger , and on our side some of the more conservative members. that was a very traumatic moment for me to be a part of that historical event when the former president had to resign. brian: was that the night he announced his resignation? rep. michel: yes. went outhe room, and within five or 10 minutes he would be on the air to make that announcement. brian: did he tell you? rep. michel: i went back to the notes.
the room in his typical rather stiff mannerism. he came around the cabinet room to the president's chair and but you know,, when you try to recapture that moment of what must've been going on in his life. frankly, he went back to recap his mother's attitude and his early childhood. i can't recall specifically some of the things without going back to my things that i enumerated at the time, but it was a very moving kind of thing. brian: one of the most memorable evenings you've ever had? rep. michel: the kind of things you never forget. but in the historical back to the original question, which president did you know the best,
i guess i really didn't know richard nixon as well as i maybe should have or would have, or whatever. when you were in the leadership and a junior member of congress, bailey said there's one person who might have made a difference during watergate. that would have been everett dirksen. when dirksen died, richard nixon gave one of the most moving eloquent eulogies for anyone that i've ever heard. i've got it engraved in brass in my office on the wall. it is a superlative eulogy for one who serves in public life. that was richard nixon speaking of everett dirksen. we will have the 20th death.sary of his if he had lived, he would have been the only anniversary to go
-- the only person to go to the t and tell him what to do. you can picture the language which we can't use here, but he would say, you fire them. they did you a disservice. one thing i did notice in the waning nixon days that the circle of friends and advisers shrinking -- cap shrinking, maybe due to the times. i think if i were to assess any president, whenever you see that happening to the shrinking prest rather than the circle of friends and advisers enlarging, you are in for trouble.
i really learned the difference between ford's limited administration and nixon's administration to let it all hang out by which the mechanism you serve your president. don't hold anything back. don't ever bamboozle them. don't create favorite just telling him the things he wants that does notse serve the president well. while i did not have the association with carter that i withith nixon or limited warm andit was a very cordial relationship or eight years. i remember the first time he gathered us together before he was sworn in with howard baker and myself, it was in the .xecutive office building
it was the first meeting. i told him that i have learned something from your presidents -- predecessors. i will be your leader in the house of representatives and i just want you to know that i'm going to let you all know whenever you ask me. if it's critical or derogatory, or something that you would not necessarily like to hear, bear in mind that i think that's the way i serve you best. you are going to get it straight from you every time. i think presidents always appreciated that. we had our little going away thing in the florida house, you told us, mr. president, that you know we want to discussing politics in our cabinet meetings. we will be discussing the important meetings of the day and how best to me those -- to
meet those. divorcendering how you that political decision from the decision that has to be made. learned that just doing what's right with all the , that's the hand best politics. brian: what's the toughest thing you ever had to tell him? rep. michel: oh, gosh. boy. well, there were issues sometimes when we knew we didn't have the votes. but you just have to tell him that it isn't there. and then maybe the one time that i voted to override his veto on a highway bill.
i like to keep my record pretty with the leader. we had a couple difficult moments on the tax bill. jack kemp and i were in support of the president's position, even when he said you don't know it's not the bill we want, we will acknowledgment. but has it in the house here and get it to the other body where we might keep it alive. my friends went the other way because there were those negatives as adopted initially by the house that they could not take. we thought the whole tax bill might very well be dead. were we going to keep it alive?
the split on the side was pretty traumatic for us. brian: is ronald reagan different in private than what we have seen in public? rep. michel: i don't know, not much. he's a remarkable individual. cordial, and never, i have never, ever heard -- except in the most talking in -- disparaging tones about an opponent or the adversary. to go andt been able take it and come back again. i don't think he is one to ever , other than he has been mannerism of pursing his "well, youying,
forced me into that position two years ago and i don't intend to get put in that position again." that's about the most i've heard out of him. that was when it came to texas. -- taxes. i was had. i don't intend to be had again. that's the way it would come out with ronald reagan. his ability to have the american people so supportive of him for such an extended period of time, i suspect when the president , ites office in a few weeks will be in excess of 65%, maybe
70% popularity. phenomenal given all the things he has been through. brian: speaking of adversaries, what is the difference in your relationship with tip o'neill and jen -- jim. tip o'neill and i have a special relationship. we both like to play golf and cards. he was such a great storyteller. i have to be envious of my contemporaries who were such good joke tellers. the president, of course, absolutely phenomenal. turn a tight moment and lighten it up a little bit. , we knew and another for an extended time. it was just kind of automatic that we would have to be adversaries during the work
hours and still be the good friends after work was concluded . it remained that way until he left. the currentow speaker as well as i knew tip o'neill personally. i guess all of us are it comes of our own individual body chemistry from time to time. jim wright is a different individual than tip in a number of ways. for me having served one term is distinguished from three terms or six years with tip as leader, and then i was whip before that. it will take some time for me to know this speaker as well as i knew tip o'neill.
what was really in his mind, i don't know what -- how to make that assessment. brian: was it difficult when you know somebody that well to be adversarial way it comes to something? rep. michel: there were those in my own party who said that you know this speaker to weld to be nasty at times. we think at some time you ought to express your anger more than you do. i remember those days when another good friend of mine, one of our real superlatives leaders, he and john mccormack it on the floor of the house. but i was always pretty to those moments when i saw speaker mccormack and johnny and carl albert in just the nicest kind of setting personal relationship wise.
one of the things that help me everett dirksen's congressman. he was leader in the senate. he would invite me to the shop. i was in the back room and he would have those members coming back from time to time. refreshment, and talking. those were very, very educational times for me. sometimes it wasn't always his republican friends. he was always one to always reach out to those across the aisle. you can't sit there and be privy to that dialogue and conversation without picking up something. helpfult have been very to him when he needed it. brian: only got about a minute and a half left. are you going to run again for congress and how long do you intend to be leader,?
rep. michel: [laughter] [applause] on the last question, you ask my quest -- members on how long they put up with me. of election, we won pretty handsomely by 55%. that was against the opponent who gave me a tougher race six years ago in the throes of the recession and a new district. of i just made it quite clear that . intend not to run again then come i think not knowing on that evening -- well, i guess i didn't know at that time of the evening that george bush pretty much had it wrapped up. i'm not sure i would have said it that way had i thought the caucus was going to be the president. if the caucus on, is president, i will have no leverage whatsoever.
i'm not sure how that will unfold. it will be tough. assume with to caucus winning, we lose seats in the house and we would be deeper in the minority that we are, but george bush will win and i would retain the leverage i had with ronald reagan, hopefully in greater amounts with increased members. we ended up losing three, so it's on the margin. but it is leverage. it still makes those of us in house in a minority a meaningful minority, given on occasion to winning some. with that kind of hope and as long as they will have me as their leader and as i feel i can do a good job for my district and the troops here, i would like to do it.
i enjoy it. i'm in good health. it was just fortunate for me as young as irted was so i did not have to stomp over people gravitating toward the top. i could do it in a very measured sort of way, making friends along the way. a good part of this legislative process is how many friends do you have in a time of need? [laughter] brian: thank you for your time. rep. michel: good to be with you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> illinois senator did turbine bob mark the passing of michel on the house floor. here are his remarks. durbin: every politician alive should aspire for that moment like bob michel, when the last words of tribute to his public service are "he was the face of decency and public service." this morning, bob michel, who served as leader of the u.s. house of representatives for the republican party, passed away at age 93. his replacement as republican leader in the house marked the
end of an era of civility. congress has never been the same. as the son of an immigrant, decorated veteran of world war ii, person who was first a staffer, then elected to congress and rose to leadership, is a testament to his talent and commitment to america. i have known bob michel for 35 years. we had adjoining congressional districts downstate, when i was elected in 1982, in the reagan off year election it was a tough , republicans. bob michel barely survived. attorney doug stevens of peoria 52%.bout 48% and bob had lane evans was elected to congress and i was as well. for 14 years we were neighboring congressmen.