tv Washington Journal Sen. Chuck Grassley CSPAN December 12, 2021 10:49pm-11:01pm EST
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grassley, republican of iowa. senator grassley, tell us about your friendship. when did you first meet? guest: first of all, thank you for having me here to talk about bob dole and my mentor when i first went to the united states senate. i assumed that my first meeting with him -- i don't remember exactly -- but i was a member of the u.s. house when he was in his second term in the senate. i really got acquainted with him because i was campaigning for the united states senate in 1979 and 1980 and that was his first time to try to be president in the iowa caucuses. we interacted many times in the various counties that he was in, and he just practically lived in iowa for the winter of 1979 into 1980. the first thing about him is he was a mentor for me in the
united states senate because he had been there 12 years when i was serving my first year. in my first year in the senate, i was able to get on the powerful finance committee, least insane yorty. he beat -- in seniority. looking -- working closely with him there, and his coming from an agricultural state and me, we worked together on agricultural issues. he was just a friend and let me say one other thing before you ask a question. i have the good pleasure of visiting his apartment in washington, d.c., one week after his 98th birthday. if you had your eyes closed and just listened to him talk about the issues and his strong voice, you would know that he wasn't sick at all. that's how i remember him. host: tell us a little bit more
about that visit. what were the issues you discussed? guest: i think we discussed just very generally the goings-on in the congress of the united states and probably the division within the congress now between conservatives and liberals. and the lack of cooperation because that meant a lot to bob dole. he was a person that could work across state -- partisan lines. he's the sort of person that knew that you had to have republicans and democrats if you were going to get anything done. he knew that both people who were against and for the bill some way both of them had to have some victories. that's what made him a successful leader of the united states senate for the 11 or 12 years he was a republican leader and part of that he was a majority leader. host: what advice did he give
you as your mentor? guest: i think the advice was that if you are going to get anything done in the united states senate, you've got to do it in a bipartisan way. on agricultural issues i think the advice was that there's a lot of different interests between midwestern agriculture where we come from an southern agriculture and california agriculture, and some waves on agricultural issues, all of those have to be settled. you can't just expect because you are from iowa that you will get everything corn and soybean people want and forget about cotton and peanuts, etc. he taught me on international issues that the united states had to have a strong military because you know about his military background, being a war hero. the united states needed to be a leader. host: as you mentioned, he ran
for president three times, spent a lot of time in iowa and became known as the third senator. you spent a lot of time with him in the state. do you have a fun story or any story you can share of your memory of bob dole in iowa? guest: in the 1996 caucuses in iowa, i made a point of traveling with him on a regular basis, sometimes four or five meetings a day. i had the opportunity to introduce him and i thought making this person battle ready in politics and military, we always talked about going up hill 13. he corrected me it was hill 913 where he was wounded and in the hospital three years and never got the use of his right arm again because his shoulder was shattered by shrapnel.
he was witty about correcting me those things. another thing that may sound a little weird but it was particularly bob dole, at the end of the day, after four or five meetings campaigning in iowa for the republican nomination, whether we go to a hotel or get on the airplane to go to the next stop or a restaurant, he would say at the end of the day probably because he was tired, he would say "free at last, free at last so i ended my tribute to him -- "free at last, free at last." so i ended my tribute to him saying, "bob, free at last." host: he was known as the hatchet man. that was the nickname given to
him for his leadership. tell us why in your opinion. guest: i think very seldom as leaders, senator, chairman of the finance committee, what i call him a hatchet man. i think he got that reputation when he was vice president nominee in 1976. i was in the house of representatives then. i had a chance to introduce him in waterloo, iowa, campaigning for the ticket. and forward was a nice guy and wanted to be seen as a presidential candidate as a nice guy, but there were a lot of things republicans had to say bad about the democratic candidates and that was bob dole's job. he hit at it real hard and that's how he got that name. in the end, long time layer --
long time later, he apologized for that role he had that wasn't typically bob dole, because bob dole could be strong but he was also witty. as a vice presidential candidate, he didn't tend to be very witty, just attack. i don't think he was comfortable. senator grant -- host: senator grassley, what do you think about him getting the honor of lying in state? guest: i think for several reasons but most importantly being wounded, a war hero, defending our country and freedom and liberties, and outstanding public servant, attribute as he was somewhat disabled, a tribute to what he did to help disabled people through the disability acts of 1991 or whatever it was past -- whenever it was passed.
he came up from a life of poverty and was helping people with food stamps, medicaid, downtrodden. he knew their life and respected that and founded public policies that would lead to better life for people that are lower income or in poverty. he never forgot his roots. if i was to honor him, put him in state like he's going to lie in state today, those are some of the things i would think are right for doing it. in this day of so much partisanship, it is important that he always tried to work across the party lines and he was successful in doing it. and that's what we need today. host: senator chuck grassley, thank you, sir, for
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