Remarks by Elizabeth Dole
St. Regis Hotel
Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, October 20, 1999
[transcript]

Thank you. Good morning everyone; thank you for coming. Nine months ago, I embarked upon a very personal exploration, one designed to help me decide whether to seek my party's presidential nomination. Wherever I've traveled, I have found audiences hungry for a different kind of leadership, one that looks beyond focus groups and tracking polls, to what is timeless and decent and true.

At the same time, I have sensed a longing for community and a desire on the part of grassroots Americans to be part of something bigger than themselves. More than 30 years ago, as a young woman from Salisbury, North Carolina, I harbored similar feelings. Determined to be part of the events of my time, I embraced the idea of public service as a noble calling.  It was to help rekindle in others my own sense of youthful idealism that I left the American Red Cross last January.

In the months since, much has been made of the symbolism of my candidacy. I've been all but overwhelmed by women of all ages who have invested me with their hopes and dreams, and who have contributed generously of their time, talent and resources. But along with the symbolism there was also substance -- the substance of ideas, and the challenge to overcome conventional or dangerous thinking. To those who question American involvement in the world, I have repeatedly said that
where our national interests and our national values intersect, we must never be afraid to lead.

In the aftermath of the Cold War, I have argued for a relationship with Russia that is based on reformist policies, not personalities. In an era when weapons of mass destruction include computer viruses as well as North Korean missiles, I've insisted on making technology our friend as well as our protector. That means proceeding with construction of a missile defense system.

Closer to home, it means realizing the promise of the Internet, while denying it to pornographers and others who would deaden the souls of our young people. I am proud of having offered an early, comprehensive plan to address the farm crisis, and of insisting that our children be protected from merchants of death -- whether they sell dope on a street corner, or a sawed off shotgun over the counter. Higher teacher pay for better performance, a return of discipline to the classroom with a zero tolerance policy for disruptive students, reestablishment of parental control in the schools -- these are just some of the educational reforms for which I have contended.

Of course, running for president is an education in itself. At times I have felt as if there were two entirely separate campaigns underway. Outside the Beltway, real people by the thousands turned out to discuss their schools and health care, tax cuts and the state of our defenses. In the real America, it's more important to raise issues than to raise campaign funds.

Ive tried to run a non-traditional campaign rather than a traditional one, bringing countless first time voters into the political process as we have sought together to make history. Its confusing to many Americans who are part of my huge crowds and share my enthusiasm that this is not a measure of success.

But this is not all that I have learned. I have learned that the current political calendar and election laws favor those who get an early start and can tap into huge private fortunes, or who have a pre-existing network of political supporters. Steve Forbes has unlimited resources. Governor Bush has raised over $60 million, and has about $40 million on hand. Both are starting to run TV ads next week.

Already I have attended over 70 fundraising events. My schedule through early December would have taken me to a total of 108 fundraising events across America. Even then, these rivals would enjoy a 75 or 80 to 1 cash advantage. Perhaps I could handle 2 to 1 or even 10 to 1, but not 80 to 1!

I hoped to compensate by attracting new people to the political process, by emphasizing experience and advocating substantive issues. But important as these things may be, the bottom line remains money. In fact, it's a kind of "Catch 22." Inadequate funding limits the number of staff at headquarters and in key states. It restricts your ability to communicate with voters. It places a ceiling on travel and travel staff. Over time, it becomes nearly impossible to sustain an effective campaign. Wherever you go, you find yourself answering questions, not so much about guns in the classroom, or China in the World Trade Organization, but money in the bank and ads on the air waves.

All my life, I've been accustomed to challenging the odds. But the first obligation of any candidate is to be honest -- honest with herself and honest with her supporters. Last Sunday, a five hour flight from Seattle gave me an opportunity to do some hard thinking. I thought about the rumor Id had to answer for two weeks that I was dropping out and the damage it had done to my fundraising. I thought a lot if there was any other avenue not yet explored for raising money. When I arrived home I told Bob that this time the odds are overwhelming. It would be futile to continue, and he reluctantly agreed. Any other decision would be less than honest to an outstanding campaign team, led by the very able Tom Daffron and backed by thousands of volunteers and donors whose enthusiasm gave us a powerful grassroots presence despite our limited resources. I can never fully convey my gratitude to each of you -- or to the endless stream of young people, many of you who had turned away from public service but were eager to apply your energies and idealism on my behalf.

God has blessed me in so many ways. Those blessings have included friends like Earl Cox and Margaret Kluttz who led the 18-month Draft Dole movement; as well as my outstanding National Finance Chair, Bonnie McElveen Hunter. Throughout I have been able to count on my dear family and especially my precious husband, who urged me [hugs Bob, applause] he urged me to share my vision of a better America in the new millennium.

In the words of the poet, "We shall not cease from exploration,and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time." Today marks the latest, but by no means the last chapter in a story of service that began many years ago. The road ahead beckons. To my friends I say take heart: we will meet again and often, in the unending struggle to realize America's promise as a land whose greatness lies, not in the power of her government, but in the freedom of her people.

At the beginning of this remarkable century, Theodore Roosevelt challenged his fellow citizens to accept their obligations as freedom's champion and defender. As I leave the race, never were words more apt than Teddy Roosevelt's tribute to the man -- or woman -- in the arena: "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

God willing, there are many arenas in which to fight, many ways to contribute. So while I may not be a candidate for the presidency in 2000, I'm a long way from the twilight. Thank you all [applause]--one more sentence--Thank you all, everyone here, for your friendship, your encouragement, and above all, your willingness to dare mighty things. God bless each and everyone one of you, and God bless America. Thank you for joining me this morning. [applause].

Thank you so much.
 

Yes.

QUESTION: Will you be giving your endorsement to any of the other candidates and would you consider running as vice president with one of them?

DOLE: Okay we've got two questions there.  First as far as an endorsement, this is my day to share with you what my decision has been just in the last few hours and so now I'll take some time to really think it all through.  Secondly, I've been running for president and running to win, so I've really not considered the vice presidency so I have no comments on that.  I've been focused on running to win. So we'll leave it right there.

QUESTION: Mrs. Dole, about women, do you think women should--what do you think women who may feel discouraged by your pulling out of the race at this time when ...[inaudible]?

DOLE: No, I think that in terms of women and their views of my withdrawing from the race right now, I think what we've done is paved the way for the person who will be the first woman president.  And I'm just delighted at what has happened because I feel like we've really made a great contribution.

Now as I look at the huge crowds that just last week were turning out in Iowa, they continue to be there, the enthusiasm, the excitement--people who've been disengaged, almost totally disconnected from politics who are enthusiastic again.

The women who traditionally, we're told by the Center for Responsive Politics, give about 23 percent of the gifts $200 and above in politics--though they raise lots of money for humanitarian causes and civic causes--not so much in politics, only 23 percent.  Fifty percent of my donors last quarter were women. [applause].  Fifty percent.  And I think clearly women have gotten very--

You know it's almost as if when you're talking to an audience and you're trying to share your leadership, you want to inspire people, it's almost as if you see some women sit up a little straighter, because you're trying to empower them to understand that they can do it, that they can really make a difference.  And I sensed that all across America, and I'm going to continue to speak out and to help to get women and young people especially more involved in the political process. [applause].  Absolutely.

QUESTION: [inaudible]... you and your supporters will be meeting again somewhere in the future.  Could that be--Would it be fair to take that statement as at least an expression of availability for vice presidency?

DOLE: No, it's not intended that way.  It's simply to say to all the people who are here today [Bob Dole interjects] That's a very good answer Bob. But you know I certainly intend to stay in the arena, you know.  I haven't really thought about it because I've been focused on running for president and running to win, truly.  So that's not been in my thoughts. And it's only just in the last few hours literally, the last couple of days that a decision has been made to leave the race.  As I said that long trip to Seattle really gave me an opportunity to focus on--you know two people have spent $19 million already and TV ads are going up next week.  You know and I'm used to facing the odds, but 75 or 80 to 1, that's pretty tough.

QUESTION: Mrs. Dole, you're pulling out of the campaign one day after campaign finance has gone down in the Senate.  How do you and the Senator feel about that?

DOLE: Well I think in terms of campaign finance reform, you're bringing Bob into this and I'll let him speak for himself [Bob Dole shakes his head "No;" audience laughter].  But you know I think that, first of all I do believe that full disclosure is so important, that's why from the earliest time all of my contributors are available through my Web site, so that we know exactly who has contributed.  I also think that in terms of still being at the level of 1974--$1,000 a donor--that doesn't even reflect the rate of inflation.  So I think it is important to increase that, perhaps to as much as $5,000.  And I believe that in terms of soft money, to phase it down so that the parties have an opportunity to adapt, but also to make sure that it's even-handed and fair, then I would support phasing down soft money. You want Bob to speak to this?  I'm sorry let me go to another, because we have some other questioners here.

QUESTION: I have a two-part question.  Would you support a pro-choice vice presidential candidate?

DOLE: Well I have just withdrawn from the race so--

QUESTION: Do you favor changing or removing the pro-life plank from the Republican party at all?

DOLE: I believe that--you know I'm a person who has throughout my life tried to address real people's problems with commonsense answers.  And I think that here there are people who have different views obviously.  They're good and honorable people who have different views and we should agree to disagree, to respectfully disagree and move on.  So I don't think this is something that we want to constantly churn up as a matter where people end up fighting with one another.  I think the reasonable, commonsense answer to me is you know good and honorable people do disagree and so let's agree to disagree.

Yes.

QUESTION: Mrs. Dole, throughout the national polls you have been number two.  What do you think it says about the Republican party that it could not or would not  support the number two ranked person in the national polls?  Why that disconnect?

DOLE: Well let me say first of all that something else has been consistent throughout is I beat Al Gore in every poll that I've ever seen.  And I have been pretty steadily in that number two position all the way through.  I think that George Bush, I think it's fair to say, really began his efforts in '96 and he quietly but effectively pulled in all of the traditional money raisers in the Republican party, a lot of the endorsements.  I was in a non-partisan organization, the American Red Cross.  It was a mission field for me; I believed in following the fundamental principles of the Red Cross and I did not make a call to Iowa and New Hampshire until I left the Red Cross.  So literally my campaign was beginning about February 1st.  The endorsements were gone by that point, but I felt it was important to point out to people that it's not so much endorsements, it's the fact that I've got a record of  working with the Congress to effectively achieve my goals, whether it's the sale of Conrail, where there were members--key members of Congress--who disagreed in the beginning, and you know we were able to effectively advocate the position and achieve the goals.  So I know how to work with the Congress, and so I approached it that way.  But I think clearly here you have a situation--it's a phenomenon.  It's never happened before in politics; it may never happen again, where you have a person who has--there's a vast political network of supporters and this goes back through the years, plus I think certainly being a governor, a sitting governor, a brother who's a sitting governor, you've got a lot of the governors with their vast state organizations involved.  And so it really--I don't think anyone could have anticipated at the time that I left the Red Cross that there would be that sort of most unusual phenomenon which would has occurred.

Lisa?

QUESTION: Mrs. Dole, fairly or unfairly some people see your campaign as a story of missed opportunities.  If you could go back and do things again is there anything you would do differently which might change the outcome?

DOLE: I think that perhaps now, looking back and seeing the phenomenon that occurred--to leave the Red Cross earlier would be something that would make a difference.  But who knows if it would make that much of a difference, because this is something that's never happened before.  And you know timing is everything, isn't it?  And so I came up in a cycle where you have two people virtually with unlimited funds.  And that's just the way it is.  And I think that there tends to be, there tends to be a sort of making the money the message, and when that happens it's difficult.  Because I was trying to say look at all the new people we're bringing in, look at these enthusiastic crowds, look at our great organization out in Iowa--you know we're going to have everything in place before Christmas; we're really in good shape--look at the 30 years of experience, look at the differences on issues and so on.  But the money does become the message, and when that happens it makes it pretty tough, and I think sometimes people outside the Beltway don't really  understand why their enthusiasm and these big crowds isn't the measure of success, you know.  So I would say though, Lisa, that really I think that when the Iowa Straw Poll took place, again it was expected that maybe that this was going to be money-- this was going to translate into money.  What it translated into was a lot of strong organization, and maybe again that was something that wasn't focused on as much.

Thank you all for being here today.  Thanks a lot.  [applause].

###

ema 10/21/99


Remarks by Elizabeth Dole
St. Regis Hotel
Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, October 20, 1999
[as prepared, changes in red]
Thank you.  Good morning everyone. and Thank you for coming. Nine months ago, I embarked upon a very personal exploration, one designed to help me decide whether to seek my party's presidential nomination. Wherever I've traveled, I have found audiences hungry for a different kind of leadership, one that looks beyond focus groups and tracking polls, to what is timeless and decent and true.

At the same time, I have sensed a longing for community and a desire on the part of grassroots Americans to be part of something bigger than themselves. More than 30 years ago, as a young woman from Salisbury, North Carolina, I harbored similar feelings. Determined to be part of the events of my time, I embraced the idea of public service as a noble calling.  It was to help rekindle in others my own sense of youthful idealism that I left the American Red Cross last January.

In the months since, much has been made of the symbolism of my candidacy. I've been all but overwhelmed by women of all ages who have invested me with their hopes and dreams, and who have contributed generously of their time, talent and resources. But along with the symbolism there was also substance -- the substance of ideas, and the challenge to overcome conventional or dangerous thinking. To those who question American involvement in the world, I have repeatedly said that where our national interests and our national values intersect, we must never be afraid to lead.

In the aftermath of the Cold War, I have argued for a relationship with Russia that is based on reformist policies, not personalities. In an era when weapons of mass destruction include computer viruses as well as North Korean missiles, I've insisted on making technology our friend as well as our protector. That means proceeding with construction of a missile defense system.

Closer to home, it means realizing the promise of the Internet, while denying it to pornographers and others who would deaden the souls of our young people. I am proud of having offered an early, comprehensive plan to address the farm crisis, and of insisting that our children be protected from merchants of death -- whether they sell dope on a street corner, or a sawed off shotgun over the counter. Higher teacher pay for better performance, a return of discipline to the classroom with a zero tolerance policy for disruptive students, reestablishment of parental control in the schools -- these are just some of the educational reforms for which I have contended.

Of course, running for president is an education in itself. At times I have felt as if there were two entirely separate campaigns underway. Outside the Beltway, real people by the thousands turned out to discuss their schools and health care, tax cuts and the state of our defenses. In the real America, it's more important to raise issues than to raise campaign funds.

Ive tried to run a non-traditional campaign rather than a traditional one, bringing countless first time voters into the political process as we seek have sought together to make history. Its confusing to many Americans who are part of my huge crowds and share the my enthusiasm that this is not a measure of success.

But this is not all that I have learned. I have learned that the current political calendar and election laws favor those who get an early start and can tap into huge private fortunes, or who have a pre-existing network of political supporters. Steve Forbes has unlimited resources. Governor Bush has raised over $60 million, and has about $40 million on hand. Both are starting to run TV ads next week.

Already I have attended over 70 fundraising events. My schedule through early December would have taken me to a total of 108 fundraising events across America. Even then, these rivals would enjoy a 75 or 80 to 1cash advantage. Perhaps I could handle 2 to 1 or even 10 to 1, but not 80 to 1!

I hoped to compensate by attracting new people to the political process, by emphasizing experience and advocating substantive issues. But important as these things may be, the bottom line remains money. In fact, it's a kind of "Catch 22." Inadequate funding limits the number of staff at headquarters and in key states. It restricts your ability to communicate with voters. It places a ceiling on travel and travel staff. Over time, it becomes nearly impossible to sustain an effective campaign. Wherever you go, you find yourself answering questions, not so much about guns in the classroom, or China in the World Trade Organization, but money in the bank and ads on the air waves.

All my life, I've been accustomed to challenging the odds. But the first obligation of any candidate is to be honest -- honest with herself and honest with her supporters. Last Sunday, a five hour flight from Seattle gave me an opportunity to do some hard thinking. I thought about the rumor Id had to answer for two weeks that I was dropping out and the damage it had done to my fundraising. I thought a lot if there was any other avenue not yet explored for raising money. When I arrived home I told Bob that this time the odds are overwhelming. It would be futile to continue, and he reluctantly agreed. Any other decision would be less than honest to an outstanding campaign team, led by the very able Tom Daffron and backed by thousands of volunteers and donors whose enthusiasm gave us a powerful grassroots presence despite our limited resources. I can never fully convey my gratitude to each of you -- or to the endless stream of young people, many of you who had turned away from public service but were eager to apply your energies and idealism on my behalf.

God has blessed me in so many ways. Those blessings have included friends like Earl Cox and Margaret Kluttz who led the 18-month Draft Dole movement; as well as my outstanding National Finance Chair, Bonnie McElveen Hunter. Throughout I have been able to count on my dear family and especially my precious husband, who urged me to share my vision of a better America in the new millennium.

In the words of the poet, "We shall not cease from exploration,and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time." Today marks the latest, but by no means the last chapter in a story of service that began many years ago. The road ahead beckons. To my friends I say take heart: we will meet again and often, in the unending struggle to realize America's promise as a land whose greatness lies, not in the power of her government, but in the freedom of her people.

At the beginning of this remarkable century, Theodore Roosevelt challenged his fellow citizens to accept their obligations as freedom's champion and defender. As I leave the race, never were words more apt than Teddy Roosevelt's tribute to the man -- or woman -- in the arena: "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who  neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

God willing, there are many arenas in which to fight, many ways to contribute. So while I may not be a candidate for the presidency in 2000, I'm a long way from the twilight. Thank you all for your friendship, your encouragement, and above all, your willingness to dare mighty things. Bless you, and may God bless America.

###