Dole visits Dexter, urges action on Iraq

Sunday, September 29, 2002

DEXTER, Mo. -- Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole said Saturday that the United States should keep pressure on Saddam Hussein and encouraged Congress to pass a resolution backing military action against the Iraqi leader.

"The resolution needs to pass the Congress," Dole said Saturday. "We need to get the U.N. to do something, and the president needs to make a judgment -- whether it's now, next month or four months from now -- when it's necessary to move."

Dole was in Stoddard County to campaign for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Talent, who faces Democrat U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan in November's election in a nationally watched race.

Dole spoke at the Hickory Log Restaurant in Dexter to a crowd of more than 200 people who laughed at the former Kansas senator's barbs and stories while eating barbecue ribs and sirloin. Following the lunch rally Dole, Talent and U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson went north to the Stars and Stripes Museum for a tour.

Dole punctuated his 20-minute luncheon talk with humorous stories and anecdotes but always returned to the campaign theme.

Dole stressed the importance of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, proclaiming that one vote can mean much in Washington.

"This is a big one," he said. "Think of all the bills that have passed the House, and they are stacked outside the Senate door, and they aren't going to get any action."

Dole listed a number of key national issues - from health care to Homeland Security - that are currently stalled in the U.S. Senate, which has 50 Democrats, 49 Republicans and one independent.

"Here we are on the verge of who knows what with Saddam Hussein and we can't get Homeland Security passed in the U.S. Senate," he said.

"I think most people here support President Bush," Dole said. "So why don't you give President Bush a chance in the U.S. Senate to get his programs through? Keep the majority in the House and give him a majority in the Senate, and then see what happens."

During his speech, Dole recognized veterans from World War II and the Korean War.

"We don't want to live in the past, but we don't want to forget the past," he said. "I don't know what we'd be doing today if we'd lost World War II; I don't know what language we would be speaking. I know we couldn't get up in a free country and talk about politics."

Dole's stops in Stoddard County were the only campaign visits on behalf of Talent during his trip to Missouri. He said that after leaving Dexter he was going to campaign for Republican candidates in New Mexico and Idaho.

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