Paul Wellstone, Minnesota U.S. senator (D), discusses the Bosnia situation and potential war in Yugoslavia. Other topics include political labels, balanced budget amendment, farm bill, and welfare reform. Wellstone also answers listener questions.
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Sinner, thanks for coming by yeah, happy holidays to everybody beautiful snowing. I love it. When are you finally getting a chance to rest up a little bit. You keep a pretty wicked Pace showing. I spend a couple of days with our children and grandchildren Thanksgiving and then now it's been you know travel in the state and meeting with people which I really like to do but between Christmas and New Years were going to spend a lot of time with family Lord knows what the listeners will want to talk about. But I want to do it. Would you want to ask you about the situation Bosnian talk about that in years and apparently now present Clinton has decided that he's willing to send some troops in at least to help in the evacuation of the UN peacekeepers. Is that make sense to you? Yes, I mean, I thinkI think it's always been pretty well understood that if this is what it is come to their there has to be a way of of enabling them to leave safely. I mean the real question of course is what happens next and I think you know we talked about this before in the show. I mean I have felt for some time that the arms embargo has to be ended to the Muslims my concern though is that after that everybody will in the International Community just sort of wipe their hands clean of it. And and I really worry about an ever-widening war and a much greater loss of life. This is really a really nightmarish chapter in the history of of the world. What do you think? Do you think you're not a nation should try to keep its peacekeepers there?I think at this point probably not I think it's just they become. Not terribly effective though. I think sometimes they've been kind of overly scapegoated. You know, they have at least some of the men and women that have been there that I met when I visited him at least, you know, they put their lives on the line to try and provide some protection for people the heroes and heroines have also been these ngos. He's non-government organization people that have been there but at this point I I think this is is the only alternative but what I worry about is is what next and I think that we should live the arms embargo. I you know, the whole issue a bombing does Newt Gingrich and others have talked about but just to carpet bombing across the board including the greater. Mucus Lobby I'm I'm not so sure surbhi. I'm not so sure that that makes a lot of sense. I mean Melissa vich at this point in time has not been angry in agreement with what the the Bosnian serbs have been doing and you know that could lead to an ever-widening more. I think it bombing can be effective. You know, it may be there may be a real role for it. But I kind of worry about the way people are talking about doing things without thinking through what then happens next. God knows several years ago. The International Community should have responded immediately. Does this underscore the little green Gretsch for example as talked about the you need to reassess our are a participation at the United Nations that the organization is largely ineffectual, but maybe. Maybe that's more damage harm than good. You agree that not necessarily. I mean, I think the United Nations has not been given a lot to work with and I think that if we're talking about more than just the former Yugoslavia, and I think eventually we will come to a point Gary where it'll be important to have an international organization with the capacity especially to do good peacekeeping. Otherwise, is it the United States unilaterally involved Here There and their or does the world just sort of remain silent to the point where the silence becomes deafening? I mean, you know, we're talking today about bastia. There's also a Wanda the Sudan where Haiti I mean over and over again you and I have talked on the show before that's the sort of question now is when innocent people have been Slaughtered in other nations. What is the International Community do what is the United States? Do I think we're getting rich is making a big mistake is I think it's just sore too easy to sort of say let's just do carpetbagging cart. Let's just do carpet bombing across-the-board. You know, let's show them we mean business will who are you bombing? And then if milazzo pitches in this surely the crow you can count on the Croatian Army coming into this big if we do that kind of bond becomes then and even more explosive War then do we start to say wow, that's it. I mean, I think I need two people need to think. I guess it is. So senator Paul wellstone. If Jim is on the line from Saint Paul of the question for Senator wellstone. Go ahead Sir Christopher like to say when are the Democrats going to stand up and start fighting back? I mean, I worked in the Mondale campaign for 9 months in 84 and I see the same thing happening over and over again. We're just letting the conservatives paint liberal into a corner that it's evil suddenly to be a liberal and if you look in the Webster's Dictionary under what liberal stands for it's the root word of a tooth is liberal in Liberty. I mean, why don't we get organized at the national level like the RNC is doing they're basically dictating everything that those guys do. I doesn't are dnce stand up and put a war plan together and start fighting I spent. Mackay has more to say just just a quick response cuz I see the lights are lit up. I do think it's very very important for people in public office in for parties to stand for something. I think it's important not to be arrogant to listen to people but but I think people really are looking for a conviction in and principles and integrity just so you know, Jim personally asked how it's my last night. I was in MacNeil Lehrer discussion at the very end. I said that I thought this last election people were in a downright anti-static will move like I say that is a Democrat people want to see the change and then I said but it begs but I always beg the question what kind of change that people want to see I see much of the Gingrich contract much of what's going to be proposed as being very harsh very mean-spirited and I can tell you it's going to have I think that's just a cruel impact on a large numbers of people including In Minnesota where we is a state may have to assume those costs and and I Set up by saying I will be on the floor with amendments. I will be on the floor forcing votes. I will be on the floor fighting for this. I remember Hubert Humphrey's wonderful wonderful words about the test of a case of a good country in a good side is how you treat children how you treat older people and how you treat people who are the most vulnerable citizens and I believe that I think that's an important voice from Minnesota and I am I am very determined and will be very much a part of the fight. The reason I lacking is it Chris. It was also on that show at the very end laughed and said and you know, he will be out there. So I want I want to show you that you said that we keep hearing that apparently he'll be trying to recapture the middle. I guess that's their the center or whatever it is. I guess that's the rhetoric there's a disconnect. It's weird because I read the papers about the meeting with the DLC and that's the other thing I said for those are wondering what's a DLC last night. I said, all this discussion is true Insider discussion time is in Willmar the other night and you know, I can tell you to cafes in Willmar. Nobody asked me Paul. Are you a member? DLC, are you a new democrat? Are you an old Democrat or you sent her people are just interested in the the economic concerns. They have the squeeze they feel where the country is heading. They want to update certainly want to see government more cannibal more open more responsive than all of the rest. I thought when I saw the excerpt of the presents Clinton speech last night on or heard it on McNeil where it was different than what I read in the papers reading the papers. It sounded like he was going to take the DLC. Whatever that position is. He sounded to me to be fairly strong and and and proud and he has to be by the way if he's made I mean, I think the biggest mistake of all present is it when people start to think they don't trust you and you're not really being straightforward and they don't know what you believe and that's the most important chemistry you can have with people with someone in public life and he really needs to get that back. My last point is I'd ask you is a journalist or anybody listening I hear about the Centre. I don't know what to say Center ice. It keeps saying what what is the definition of the center? Give me the center moves all that. What is the center if the center means to be where most of the people are then? Everybody wants to be in the center of it all though. Sometimes you take positions that are unpopular. No one ever defines these labels. It's just labeling It's a lazy way of covering politics It's a lazy way of talking about politics. It's not it's not left right or Center it is do you as a person public Life represent a politics that speaks to the concerns and circumstances of people's lives. Are you working on legislation? Are you working on issues? Are you involved in constituent service? It makes a difference to minnesotans and communities in myself. That's the issue. Back to the phone. So Bob is on the line for Minneapolis. Go ahead turkey military spending over six years. That's 96 to 2001 to improve Readiness and to support military personnel. That's what I obviously had four billion a year the clintons initial military spending plan a 1.6 billion over that. Now get this the Republicans Advocate doubling at increased adding $48 and they also want to increase funding for Star Wars and B-2 stealth bombers and also has Congress been emergency increase of 2 billion in the 1995 military budget help cover our costs of operations in Haiti Kuwait don't realize but this would make our military budgets about 23 billion dollars larger in 1995 from the average Cold War military expenditure F250. I was going to be spending 272.7 billion this year much larger than we spend the Clone Wars. My question Senator is since additional money is apparently needed to keep our troops in fighting trim and to improve the quality of life for military personnel. Why don't we take that 25 billion out of our current military budget instead of spending more on the military. Why not cut funding for futuristic weapons like Star Wars that we shy I think that the president's request for additional money in it, and actually a good number of the Republicans were Almost ready to kill him and immediately doubled it was a huge mistake. I mean, I think that within a huge military budget if you want more money for prepared to send troops, which is very important. Then you've got a stealth bomber you got tried and you got a lot of other unnecessary Weaponry systems that you can cut from and transfer. I think it's a huge mistake that the president asked for that and in a very much opposed to it, especially in the broader context and I think there's something that people just have to be aware of where we are talkin about right now is a part of this agenda including balanced budget amendment by 2002 if you add to the military part and you say there'd be no taxes no new taxes at all. And you say maybe with a 3/5 requirement on any tax increase and you say that their social security is off the table, then what you are talking about and you're saying there's going to be a cuts and capital gains tax right now not necessarily Target in the small businesses then and I do now. No damage to the truth. I want everybody in Minnesota understand this roughly speaking. You were locking the country in to about 1.3 trillion dollars worth of cuts between now and the year 2002 and that means not like 1981 when President Reagan first came in and you had cuts and low-income programs. That means that probably there will be no safety net. I didn't say Gary that it be cut I said that Child Nutrition programs Head Start WIC Medicaid Medicare veterans benefits Transportation commute about my block grant housing. It will all be emasculated. I do not believe that is what people voted for now. Why the same time are we talking about Star Wars and B-2 bomber and why the same time are we not talking about cutting subsidies oil companies Coal companies large my Who exactly is deciding here and who's being asked to sacrifice? I will be on the floor with lots of amendments that make those choices clear and I will not as a senator from Minnesota. I will not vote for cuts nutrition programs for children in Minnesota in America and I will fight that with every bit of my that I have but I will call for cuts in wasteful subsidies for some of these large gigantic companies that for some reason remain Untouched by this. I think that confuses people are you talking to Senator about actual? Cuts and amount of money that's being spent on the programs today or would this be reductions in the amount that those programs are expected to grow out an ex know I'm talking about Cuts programs. What I am saying is that if you look at the arithmetic of it and it is very harsh arithmetic and remember people have made a commitment that this is what they're going to do. This is not an attempt to under the sixties. This is an attempt to undo the 30. This is the biggest change that has ever taken place in the United States of America in my adult life. And I think much of it will be so harsh and mean that people in Minnesota around the country will say this is not what was the point of the clergy in Minnesota are starting to raise these questions. Cuz if you're talkin about balancing the budget by 2002 and we're locked into that we start see first you vote for that and that sounds great. Popular than the actual budget we deal with later on in the spring and that's when people will start to realize that each year in order to get there. Okay to actually balanced the budget by 2000s of the country gonna have to me. If you say you were on increasing taxes, if you say you're not touching Social Security and now you're going to increase the Pentagon budget, you're not going to touch any of the large Oil Company Coal Company subsidies. And in addition, you're talkin about additional tax cuts. You can't do it. It's it's not intellectually honest, but people that are going to pay the price are the people who are the most vulnerable with the least amount of clout much less water middle-income people potentially if I'm wrong. I'd be pleased to be wrong. I'm proud to be wrong, please to be wrong probably by 2002 cuz they're accelerated Cuts in Medicare alone it be about sixty seven billion dollars worth of cuts. I'm telling you. I don't think that's what people want to see happen in this nation. Can your question for a senator wellstone, segree wholeheartedly dog with that and my comment and question is it seems like most people would agree that free access to information is essential to democratic process in this country and its the senator familiar with the work of Professor Noam Chomsky who states that there is stop control going on to the corporate media and has a great body of evidence to this and it is a roadblock to democracy and free access to information a lot. Well, yeah, I mean I am familiar with the sum of X is work. I mean, I I think that I do think however that the media is doing a reasonably good job. And I think I think you'll be a better better job of kind of beginning to point out sort of where this agenda takes us. And I and I think people in the country people in Minnesota have to decide. I mean, we do need to have, you know goes back to an earlier call. I I I don't want to see Democrats do what they did in 1981 where there was a complete collapse of any opposition. No debate people didn't stand up for what they believe that they weren't Alternatives presented and I'm totally ready for this and committed to it. I mean, I feel more determined than I ever have in my adult life about it. So I think that you know, we will move to thinking historically significant n and an important debate. I also want to make it clear that some of what the Republicans are talking about doing. I'm going to agree with I just want to take it a little further that is to say much of what I worked on on lobbying disclosure and give ban and campaign-finance that was Blocked filibustered there now bringing that back at the very beginning of the session and I'm glad but I'm going to I am going to have a whole set of amendments to deal with a lot of abuse has to insist on is open and accountable the process as possible and if that's the direction Republicans want to go in I'm all for it. I just want to make sure that that we are clear about it. And we do what we said we were going to do is there is there a danger Center one thing the Republicans argue about what happened in the 1980s when they deficit exploded was it wasn't that they did the wrong thing by cutting taxes, but we didn't cut spending at the same time. Is there a danger that that we could have a rerun of that? We're supposed almost everyone in Congress be happy to vote for a big tax cut, but then there's just enough pressure from people like yourself to keep spending spending programs going. So we end up kind of of the both of the worst of Both Worlds again. Well a cup a couple of things that the piece that's of course left out is the distance for a little bit more accurate interpretation of the eighties and then let's get right now the argument that was made is that if you dramatically cut taxes especially for the wealthiest and highest-income citizens, and of course to go to the question that Bob raised about the military budget near me dramatically increased military budget. I mean, that's what George Bush himself called voodoo economics, but the argument with that was made was it would work because there were these were the most productive citizens they would do the investment that would be higher productivity the economy would grow there be more jobs. This was the Laffer Curve and it was laughable did not work. We are now here in the same arguments be made and it's called Dynamic with the request that the Congressional budget office do something called Dynamics going. I mean, I don't think I don't think the Concord Coalition which have been pretty strong Darion on death. Production has been willing to go along with his at all. They say it's just simply not honest. It's not intellectually honest to say social security. Don't look at it any way shape or form you don't look at raising revenue in any way shape or form the numbers don't add up when you say that but when the danger be that people like you would say don't cut any programs. No, I'm not going to say what I'm going to say is You don't want to cut subsidies for oil companies. I can list well over several hundred billion dollars of wasteful subsidies. But how does it come to be that you're perfectly willing to cut nutrition programs for children in Minnesota. They don't have any Cloud but not any of these wasteful subsidies for these large companies. That's the question is where will the Cubs be and the other question is there has to be some Integrity to this in terms of honesty with people. Please remember I have voted and we have cut the deficit. What from what about 350 billion to about 170 billion. I think that's the way you do it you do it every year took us awhile to get in the mess and that's how you get out of the mess. But I simply think to not invest in children and education to not invest in our communities to just simply cut out of circle sector. That's not the America that minnesotans believe in Jerry is on the line from Cushing with it. I'm going to be brief and answers cuz I know a lot of people calling that's alright Jerry. Sorry to keep you waiting this country. There is a lot of talk about war all the time and thinking of taking it out to all the way but I'm a Vietnam veteran and and I hear about things about a guy escaping after 43 years of captivity and nobody says nothing about it and also the missing service Personnel Act of 93 HR 291 and I'd like to hear your comments about that. Well, the one, that would make in their many comments that can be made is that Though I don't agree with and it surprised people Senator Smith from New Hampshire who has been very very active on this. I have supported him in some of the concerns that he has raised about Vietnam and missing pows in I mean I have never discounted what he has said and I raised some of the same questions when it came to the very very important issue and tough issue of normalization. I'm with Vietnam. So I think that you know, it's too I don't think that we should kind of hold out false hopes for people at all. And I don't think anybody should demagogue on this but I think it is very easy, and I'm not saying this to you because you're a veteran and you're on the other end of the line, but I think it is very easy with veterans to sort of, you know, all of a sudden it becomes out of sight out of mind and I would like to give a very compelling example for Minnesota. We do a lot of work in their office and I've been in meetings with veterans that are suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. A lot of people in the state don't know what PTSD But I mean it's serious and these are people who really, you know are paying a very dear price and the pain is with them now and their families now, it goes to the point. I just made earlier ideologically people can say cut cut cut cut I asked you this Gary I asked minnesotans this are we going to cut into post-traumatic stress syndrome treatment programs with we don't have anywhere near enough. Now, we got a lot of veterans that are out in the streets their there. They're disproportionately among the ranks of homeless people. We're not going to be providing support for the veterans. I mean, I just raised that question. Let's cut where we should cut but let's not cut when it comes to sort of taken away from supporting vested in people and communities. Rita's on the line from Minneapolis with a question for Senator wellstone go ahead high profile human issues Global and domestic economic and social there before you incoming Congressional legislation, but this is also a key moment to be a voice on behalf of Animal Welfare both in the context of large environmental issues and local daily issues of Humane Animal treatment. I want to say that very much appreciated your stand against cat because of its lack of Provisions for human economically labor rights, and it's like a Provisions for Environmental Protection. We also depend on you to continue to be a strong voice on behalf of animal welfare in all of Venus. Thank you very much. Thanks for the question. And I I appreciate it. I think that you know when the things that I really want to see in this farm bill that's coming up is going to be very important for Minnesota is I really want to see some people who have kind of been very much divided from one another together because I appreciate your perspective and having a son-in-law and daughter-in-law to grandchildren that farm. I know a lot of farmers really care care about their animals and I think we're going to have to bring people together around this on. Thank you. It was actually a very difficult vote for me and I had Requested of the administration for a long long long time that they push hard for some linkage to human rights in the trade agreement, especially with a focus on child labor conditions what you're so exploited and so vicious that's really what I spoke about in the debate on the floor and it with nap. I said, there should be a connection to Human Rights. I said the same thing about China I said the same thing about Vietnam and I've tried to stay consistent with what I believe in and I think it's a an important Minnesota position. I don't think the commercial logic can be the only logic and I think our country should be much more leader in this area. I also have some other concerns about cat as well. But unless you want me to go into him, I won't but that that was up kind of a very very keyone the other thing to issue to raise with people that I hope everyone will be vigilant about is I believe that God is not written means that some of what Minnesota has done on the consumer and environmental and and health and safety laws can be or or ethanol or if you will the kind of buy ethanol all of all of that. I believe they can and some of it will be challenged as being Gatti legal and in which case the World Trade Organization rules and if we get an unfavorable ruling then if we do not change the laws than the US is subject to trade retaliation. I kind of one worried. I'm not kind of I do worry about the sort of decision making structure that has been set up and I worry about it being sort of a downward trend on a lot of what I think report standards can I don't know why the United States does not take more of a Laden really promoting and being strong on human right? Especially doing something about these deplorable vicious. Unconscionable child labor conditions David's on the line for st. Cloud State. Go ahead. I just had a question regarding actually couple of them regarding Raj RAM. And also how your gearing up for the election in 96 and let my first question pertains fact that Rodger has been really trade in the media team has very conservative and and and you have been very liberal that take with a grain of salt. I would like to know about common ground that you two would have as far as working on things and have them contact you about working together and the in the new Senate and also the second question would be on how your gearing up and start getting ready prepared. I guess maybe for an onslaught of conservative comments for the next two years, perhaps as you go back and try to get elected 96 The first was Rod that a couple of quick responses one. I I do bristle at the suggestion that well, you know, you got those little cancel each other out it is a first of all the way we may not go to like on on some very important issues. But voting is kind of the minimal activity of what you do in the Senate. I mean a lot of it is the bills you right? It's what you do in markup and committees when you write bills, it's your amendments on the floor. It's the debate is the constituent service. It's the community meetings. So it's a much bigger activity than just voting ice. I have said all along and I and I really mean it. I I learned something from a guy in a cafe here in Minnesota who I was walking along when they say hello to people and he stuck out his hand and he said I didn't vote for you and I thought well now what's coming next and he said but he said but I want you to do. Well I may not agree with you, but you're you know, you're now my senator from Minnesota. So I mentioned ethanol I mean weather be at the Nall Weatherby parts of the farm bill weather. A small business issues whether it be we get hundreds and hundreds of calls every day just people with problems constituent service. I'm just really pleased if you know, I'll be able to take on some of that. There are lots of ways that we can work together and find common ground and specially when it's you know, Minnesota businesses or issues that affect Minnesota and specific things that we're trying to do for Minnesota. You just absolutely no not saying it cuz I'm on the show. It's what I learned from the man in the cafe, you put aside the difference if you have other issues and you just at that point you combined forces on the electral action. That's a long story. I think that the long and the short of it is the best thing that I can do is be very very true to what I believe in try and conduct myself as a senator that people say is principled with Integrity fight very hard for what I believe in not be arrogant listen to People in Minnesota route much of what I do in Minnesota and the rest will take care of itself. Are you expecting a rematch with Rudy boschwitz? Well, yeah, I think there's a real good possibility he and it hasn't announced that he's running and he's you know, very active and and that is absolutely his right eye. I actually think that when things I've been talkin about it and it's a little early, you know in December. I've been reluctant. I got all these ideas and would love to just keep calm by it seems like, you know people to holiday season and people are going to be more focused on this election, which is not for 2 years little later. But when I D I have that's perfect. Perfect. Perfect for NPR is I think Minnesota could be the talk of the country. You know, everybody says they hated the ads they hate the attack ads. I hate it. I hate all of the to sort of way in which campaigns are financed and you know, I've put in the position of I the only person in the Senate that only took $100 no Pac money for several years, and then I said that if nothing changes then I'm I have to raise my account and I have any money at all but What I liked it was 7:00 Lincoln-Douglas debates. We should have Minnesota have eight each congressional district Lincoln Douglas debate and we should challenge people in Minnesota media journalists as well and say look you say you hate the attack ads. This is what the candidates are going to agree to in exchange for no attack at another what you can do your ads, but who you are or what you're good at but you'll have I mean unstructured debates people in the in the in the state have to make a commitment come that debate. You going to listen to it on radio. You going to read about you going to watch on TV you're going to go with and he's going to be real debates one-on-one and in exchange for what we don't have the attack ads in exchange for which we agree to some sort of limit on how much money people raised in exchange for which no Pac money and limited contributions. We could do that in the state and will be the talk of the country and I will later on be talking about how that might be done and hoping to get commitments from from everybody who ever runs against me to do it that way. I'll tell you one thing or lies. Nation will be focused on Minnesota. We be the first state and we will reform State took. It entirely differently. I didn't say people weren't raised money obviously have to but I think we could cut down on the amount we could cut down on all this attack at stop these ads at nothing to anybody's knowledge about anyting back to the back of the phones runs up next. He's calling for Maplewood that comment to the reason that I called was that I wanted to express your comment. First thing. I asked you a question then the government Road between people is in his heart 2 at Best is hard to understand unless you understand the context. Now if you just as an example of the talking about cutting the deficit, how long is that the that discussion been going on for years and years and years. Now the context unless you understand the contacts. If you can't really understand why this conversation on deficit-reduction has been going on for so long and we don't seem to be getting anywhere with it. The context has to do with the fact that anytime you make changes. Are you have winners and losers and the winners or the losers rather or the potential losers if they ask such as the packs will we will fight it tooth and nail? Now, let's apply that that contact certainly applies to to the Health Care discussion, which I'd like to hear you talk a little bit about because he had paid the discussion on that particular issue, which is really important has been conspicuous by its absence since the last election. Health Care reform pretty much dead know though that sort of begin depends upon what you mean by reform. I mean the problems are going to deepen and worsen and it's going to end these problems have walked into people's living rooms in her staring them in the face and their changes have to be made I think the comprehensive Kind of Reform that that that I so believe in I think is is not going to happen next session. I mean, it's clearly not going to happen in the Congress and I think eventually will have to happen in the nation. But you know, there were Above and Beyond My Views about the importance of a single source of payment. I also had like 65 amendments and markup of another, you know, you also try and move things forward. And so I think you know what I'm I can talk more about kind of what what I'm very focused on right now that be the best way to be accountable with minnesotans and do it briefly one. I think there has to be legislation that enables states to go for with their own plans. This is a conic complicated but I will be a leader in that area because I was ready for that an 85 page creepy paper for the debate. If it ever taken place secondly under this piece of legislation that kind of surprised people because it had so much strong support from a lot of the doctors and nurses and others which was the patient protection act but I I believe it. We're going to see all these mergers & N insurance companies large insurance companies going to own so many of the managed-care plans and we see all this consolidation. Then we have to make sure that the consumers fit in in the caregiver fit in there has to be some due process there has to be some protection against its concentration. I'm certainly in populist mean that sort of my framework. I'm suspicious of concentration of power. Third of all I very much I'm interested in moving forward on covering children and women expected expected children. That's something I do with Tom Harkin fourth of all, I really think if we're not going to do anything small businesses are to be able to fully deduct self-employed people ought to be able to fully deduct, you know, they're expensive just as large companies can do so and then finally this is just what I consider to be possibilities as opposed to more. I think that the whole notion of home-based care and people being able to live at home and dignity older people people Disability should be pushed forward and then there's the insurance industry Park, you know, which disorder Nine people coverage cuz of a sickness or an illness or charging people nine or ten thousand dollars has to end up next right now. The discussion seems to be to reform welfare many years has states have been in the front line spacing managing the welfare program. What's your opinion on empowering the state's more and more to manage the welfare program and eventually basic at the federal government are the welfare program and transfer to the states. It's a little I'd say that it's a little tricky. I think that the centralizing policy is a good idea and it basically I think the best things happen at the state and Community level. the real concern that I have is if you if the federal government sort of says we simply withdraw from our contribution to lot of your food assistance programs or what has contributed to the FTC program Aid to families with dependent children. And we just want the states to take it all over. I think it puts the statement of Minnesota in a kind of a serious bind because we end up we will end up giving our traditions and who we are wanting to do more and a lot of other states left, you know free to deal with the poorest the poor people in their own terms may cut less and less these people don't have a lot of clout in which case then we really are faced with a situation of do people come to our state if we do the right thing. We're put it a disadvantage visit the other states. There's got to be I'm all for The Descent was thrust but there has to be some basic standards, you know set to make sure there's a minimum standard of living for people. You know, that's the main point then I think you can do what you want. I'm sorry. I forgot the first name of caller on this one pack with Pat was suggesting I do I would sound a cautionary note. I think a lot of what's being proposed in the name of welfare reform and I am not status quo on this. I mean, I will have a bill or I will work with Kristen others on a bill. Will say you want welfare reform. Then to have real reform you got have family child care policy in this country cuz you see a lot of this is just extremely punitive at the moment. This is just like scapegoating people that mean the argument that's being made is here's what we're going to do two years in you're out and children can be in orphanages and all of the rest of it and the question becomes if you want welfare reform at the very minimum, you got to make sure that a woman can go to work and what about child care? What happens? How does it become affordable, but you can't just stop at welfare families because then people little bit of up welfare say wait a minute. We're both working and child care expenses a huge issue for Working Families. I think this is an area where we really ought to invest money either in providing incentives for a woman or a man to stay at home, you know and provide some support to stay at home providing childcare for making sure that the child care that we have if both parents have to work is available and it's affordable and it's not custodial. I mean we know we have to do this for our children. So if you don't do that And the rest of this welfare reform becomes just Stitch. It is punitive. It's it's outrageous. So I don't this could be a tough issue for me because I'm going to be saying things in this debating taking on some of what's going on, which I think will will be not necessarily politically popular, but I believe it is absolutely a strong conscience position to take and again if what is said by welfare reform as let's enable people to be independent work and be able to support their families and not have to stand welfare, right, but that's not what it really is about and we're just end up punishing. Women and children by the way, most marriages break up a cheerleader woman. That's the one that stays home. It is toward one is taking care of the children. Then I'm going to take that on and say that's not what Minnesota is about punishing children taking food out of the mouths of hungry children. No way. Jim you're on the next for the answers. I would like to know your your your definition. What is the difference between a special interest to go macabras some of them representing the average guy like me with his Pension Plan groups and whatever. And what we read about in the paper this morning where the Hue and cry and Congress about cutting the funding for the various carcasses like the black caucus for the women's issues caucus and whatever. What is the difference between the between the two? I'm not so sure that the The Cutting of the funding of the caucuses that I'm opposed to that number one on the outside of you should know that the second thing I want to say is that what I what I talk about is that I think that there is a sense in the country and I wish it was wrong but I think people are probably right that look when it comes to who kind of tends to be marching on washed in debt every day who the people are that have the most influence its most of us are left out of the picture. I think that's what people say in the last election. I don't agree with some of the boats and people that were liked it but I understand the sentiment I think people were saying look Democrats you were the ones that control the House and Senate we don't feel like you represented as well. And so I might end I tend to agree with with that sentiment and to me the Issue has to do with this problem of people of making sure that senators and representatives regardless of political party that we do something about this mix of money and politics. We do something about making sure that the people who are doing the lobbyists are registered the lobbying are registered making sure that we put an end to this awful practice of people going on trips and having this group of that group pay for it. I think we should clean up the process cross the board and that's what I've been saying. I actually have been really I mean, I think I have a really good National. I don't support presents on this. I mean, I think I pushed this harder than almost anybody in the Congress and I'm and I'm proud of it done. So that's really what I'm talking about. Now. I'm not so sure that I disagree with some of the cats that have taken place some of what's being done on the house side in terms of elimination of some of these committees and some of these carcasses and removing some of the funding is not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, there are changes that do need to be made when it gets to be heavy-handed and just concentrates leadership than one person and becomes abusive power that it needs to be taken on and clearly I said before I think the agenda that's been proposed is not America. It's not what people get for. That's what I'm really going to take on with Alternatives. I want you to know that it is called in from the Faribault with a question for Senator wellstone. Go ahead make you I don't agree with everything. Of course. Well, then that's the end of our conversation. I I I certainly feel glad about your welfare and your policy on women and children, but I will call you to ask you about if there's any thought about Bosnia if there is any if there's any possibility or talk about are doing at a really Dynamic Heavy peace propaganda program over there. There must be some alternative not maybe. Alternative but at least along with her plans to bomb everything which doesn't solve anything and we know that already I mean, we've got all kinds of multimedia things that we be more creative and well and it's actually almost wish it depend upon what you meant by stalemate almost wish it was what it is is a Slaughter and genocide of people. I mean, it's it's Just unbelievable. When I read the other day in the paper that the serbs were forcing the Muslims to wear. This certain hat Insignia kind of the way Jews were signaled out and Nazi Germany as a Jew with just sent shivers down my spine. I think Betty that and I don't what I said is that I'm nervous about some of the proposals for carpet. Bombing. I don't know that that's going to happen. I didn't mean to say that for sure. It's going to happen and I haven't ruled out certain bombing if it would make a difference, but clearly I am a thousand percent agreement with what the sentiment of what you're saying, which is always try to figure out whether there's a way of some kind of political settlement, you know, some way of stopping an ever-widening War. I am just not very optimistic that that's going to happen. I think we have to keep trying but I don't think the United States or for that matter the European countries have a heck of a lot of credibility with anybody right now there but I'm in your debt does not mean you do not stop trying Cedar. You're a question for senator Paul wellstone. About the political climate these days has to do with the team. So everything is based on fear. I noticed that friend since when we talked about Healthcare reform most people you not included have have assumed that the given access to healthcare the people would have used that access and then somebody needs to control them. I noticed it when a National Crime package was introduced at the parts that got past where the parts about prisons and police and the prevention project. We're not passed. I noticed that the Republicans in the media has been a good deal of effort attacking Administration in what feels like an effort to personally destroy that y'all leadership. That was given. And I'm wondering what your thoughts are about that and have you any sense of hope for a recovering a sense of connection as a nation being able to work together rather than continuing to deteriorate. Yes. I do have the hope. I think there's a lot of goodness in people and I have learned that there's no way of You know in politics you just can't tell what the mood piece of the country will be like one year from now or two years from now and the only thing I think that I can do or you can do is act with purpose and work hard for what you believe in and be honest about it. So I do have a lot of hope I also think that there is a lot of scapegoating and there was a lot of here but I do not want to I do not want to write off this election. I don't want to sort of say well, you know, it's just because of that I do think that there are people who feel as if many people I would make two comments about the election. Number one. I think it is important to remember Gary we can talk about this today that there was a 61% hole in the election. I mean 39% of the people voted 112 million people a 112 million people to vote at all. Just alienated politics is not relevant to them in a Minnesota our state. We had a 47% whole new electric that's important to understand but I think that among the people who voted I think they were saying that look, you know, we really feel the squeeze. We don't feel like well represented populism is in the air people are angry people feel ripped off and and and we're not convinced government really is working well for us and um, you know, I think and all we see is sort act more more of squeeze and not doing well economically and in more taxes and government programs that we hear about that don't really help us or our families and I think that's an important sentiment that's an important voice and it has to be well understood. I just don't think however what people were saying is we're interested in you know, harshness and meanness and those who have the power not having to really be a part of the sacrifice and instead. It's the sort of vast majority of people don't have the power. I think people want some standard of fairness and how weeks or to move forward in the name. And that's what I intend to appeal to and be strong voice for Dennis is on the line from Forest Lake and I think Dennis you have the last question for Senator wellstone again in a few figures in the like your comments on paragard form 1A itemized deduction on the home mortgage interest deduction is said to be worth 67 billion dollars a year. The homeowners are the property tax deduction. We must be getting close to a hundred billion dollar subsidy. The total federal cost Vs. DC food stamps and subsidized housing is 48 million the Concord Coalition for maximum home interest deduction of twenty thousand bucks my question. Why do we still sell them get actual spending an action figures and shouldn't the Democratic Party get them out or most of these really girl? Yes, that's very very important. That's part of the sort of sexual integrity and of the Concord, Excuse me, a coalition that I really appreciate these. This is a sort of Dennis. This is in the general category of tax expenditures money that people don't have to pay that then become part of the whole question of money Revenue that's not raise the ties into deaths than all the rest and I think all of that should be on the table. I think when you talk about the deductions for your interest on let's just say you're home mortgages. It's a very important or class program and I don't think it's as if you totally eliminated but there are some very interesting questions Dennis that I think you're really looking to one is for second homes and second of all, don't you draw something? Should there be some cut off point over what mortgage over how much money can't have some kind of cut off point so you target at 4 if you will truly working middle-income family. I think there's a lot of that should that should be on the table. I love the point that he made and Dennis just in the spirit of a Being accountable to you. Believe me. I intend to bring all of that to the floor of the Senate and have votes on it before we run here or what we talked during the course of a lot of different issues and clearly you have a different take on some of these things than the the thing the Common sentiment that we're hearing out of Washington these days. I'm going to be paying any attention to you or are you going to be off on the corner or going to give in your speeches while the Republicans going to go there with two or three points hard to be objective about yourself, but I really kind of Feel proud of the fact that so many amendments last two years I passed and people talk a lot about our Effectiveness there and I think that you know, I have had a strong presence in the Senate and by virtue of knowing the rules and knowing the process, you know from both National media to what I do when the floor all I think I'll be a real strong presence and I think people know it to Howard metzenbaum who retired gave an interview with NPR and he said, you know, the person is going to be doing all of this is filling my shoes as well Stones got got some going to be doing it and I will fight very very hard. But but never with hatred always with respect and always remember that I'm a senator from, Minnesota.