INTERVIEWER: If you open up the BookWorld section of the Washington Post this morning you will see this advertisement for a new book by former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who's our guest this morning. Her book is "24 Years of House Work…and the Place is Still a Mess," but the headline on the ad, Congressman, is "Pat Schroeder's still giving 'em hell." Did you write that?
SCHROEDER: Me? Sweet little me? Well, they're still...they're giving me a lot to work with. How can I tell you? I mean they're giving me a lot to work with. I'm perfectly happy to be mellow and retired, but I'm telling you, they just keep giving me too much to walk away from.
INTERVIEWER: What are you reading this morning?
SCHROEDER: Well I must say, when you look at all the headlines, it's really fairly random, which says there isn't any major news story. I was fascinated there were two front-page articles on education—which we should talk about. Graduations going on—there's some front-page articles on graduate advice. Obviously some concern about what happens in Indonesia, and we all are worried about what happens in that part of the world. What happens in Ireland, what happens with the Mideast peace process. And then of course the unions moving back into politics big-time, and unemployment at an historic low. So all of those things were there, but I have to tell you what I said when I walked in. On this Mother's Day, the thing that just—I just get chills—was the New York Times Sunday article on Romania's lost boys.
INTERVIEWER: Why is that?
SCHROEDER: Oh—these pictures, for any mother, I think, are just unbelievable. They show all these children in Romania who had been institutionalized under the communists and have just been turned loose, yes. And they said most the young women have now been converted into prostitutes. These young boys are living in sewers, anywhere they can. You know, the police officers and others are after them. I just…. This picture them sleeping on those grates with that little dog just make your heart…ache, I think. So, there's a lot of young kids who don't have a mother to celebrate today.
INTERVIEWER: Here's more of the pictures. Jane Perlez wrote this piece. Ever been there?
SCHROEDER: I have been to Bucharest, yes, but I haven't been there long enough to know, you know, to really see that. We have seen since the Cold War meltdown all sorts of awful stories. These children were kind of victims in the Cold War and the world's forgotten about them. So I think, we kind of said, "Hey, well the communist threat is gone." Well, what about these poor children that weren't communists, weren't anything, and they kind of just got caught up in all of it, and how could we forget? So, I think it's a very haunting Mother's Day story that everybody ought to have to deal with, and we ought to give them a little hell about that, right?
INTERVIEWER: Our phone lines are open if you would like to join us this morning. If you have an article that you'd like to share with us and with the former congresswoman, you can dial 202-624-1111. If you have a comment or question for Pat Schroeder, 202-624-1115. Did you see this picture of Hillary Clinton…
INTERVIEWER: …yesterday at Howard University. You mentioned commencement speeches. That's what she was there for.
SCHROEDER: That's right. Well, you know, there's a great…. Cosby is in there, too. There's all this wonderful advice that people are giving on commencements and so forth. But I also thought it was very interesting that there's lots of discussion…. I noticed the Baltimore Sun had a headline. I brought that in case you didn't get on that one.
INTERVIEWER: Did you? Oh good.
SCHROEDER: Because they had a thing about schools are considering textbook partners, above the fold. You know what we have found—I now work at the Association of American Publishers—and we have gone into several states and looked at teachers—I think everybody knows teachers are about the lowest-paid profession there is—and find that over half of America's teachers are spending their own money to buy stuff for their class. That in Los Angeles last year—Los Angeles unified, half the kids were having to share text books, they couldn't do homework because they didn't have them to send home—that we spend less than one percent of the public school dollar on materials for the teacher to work with. So it's really kind of like having an office and then forgetting to get tools for people to work with. So I was very pleased to see that focus on schools in Maryland and how they're talking about text books and what could be happening and it was above the fold on the front page! So maybe this is the beginning of people taking this more seriously, and that I think is a very good thing.
INTERVIEWER: Speaking of graduation speeches, Ken Starr also made a graduation speech yesterday in Lubbock, Texas. He spent time honoring the grand jury system as in central to American justice; said such body should continue deliberation until every stone has been turned.
SCHROEDER: Well, it's doing well for him. I mean, he's been at the public payroll for how long now? Full employment for all of his friends.
INTERVIEWER: Boaz, Alabama, you're first up with former Congresswoman Schroeder. Good morning.
CALLER: Yes, ma'am. Good morning.
SCHROEDER: Good morning.
CALLER: I saw a report, I guess, on the news the other day that I thought was troubling, and I was just going to ask Miss Schroeder's response about it. I saw on CNN, and I remember his name, it was Brian Cabell, and he was doing what would have to be called in anti prayer news segment. Coincidentally, this was on the National Day of Prayer. There was this teenaged Jewish girl on a softball team and she was upset because all the other team members were Christian and they freely choose to pray together, you know, before the game. And she's like, she's already like made the coach stop praying with the girls, you know, by like court order or something or other or the county government told them they couldn't do this, even though this is like a league thing, you know, where you volunteer, but if somehow the government has taken away his right to join them and to speak freely in a public place about his god or his pleadings to his god. I mean like, "I'd like to pray. Would anyone like to join me," I wouldn't think would be coercion. But anyway the girl is not happy with this. I mean, she's a not happy with just the coach being muted, now she's going to sue the girls in the league to make them shut up about this one form of free speech she…. Brian Cabell and evidently CNN don't like, as if they can't say, you know, their own prayer or anti-prayer. So in their minds, if thy right eye offends thee, then I guess pluck out the other person's tongue.
INTERVIEWER: Alabama, thanks.
SCHROEDER: Well I think all of us as Americans are troubled by people always running to the courts for solutions to all of this. Actually, I wish I had an easy answer to this. This is a very difficult question, I think, in a country this diverse, where there's so many different religions, of how we become respectful and yet not become so vanilla that nobody can practice anything. And that is a very difficult thing, and it's especially hard when there are children involved and a coach, which is kind of the adult caretaker of the child which everybody's looking up and so forth. And so I can see why a parent would think the coach would have undue influence on the children and be very worried about that. Now, there's a new book that came out recently called "One Nation After All," and I thought there was very good news in that book in that when they did intense polling in America, they really found American has moved a long way on religious diversity and is really ready to engage in how to be respectful. And what I would really hope is someone like that young woman and her family would sit down with the coach in the other members of the team and talk it out, and see if there isn't something that they can work out. We don't need laws all the time for every little thing that we do. We've become incredibly legalistic. But I think all of us as parents have to realize we don't want our children proselytized and we don't want people who have undue influence over them, you know, involving in religion when you really want them to have undue influence over them vis-a-vis their sports team, you know. It's great about sports, you assume the coach knows about sports, but you may not want to turn your child over for religious training to the coach when you have someone else in mind for that. And so working that out together, I would hope, would be a better way to do it.
INTERVIEWER: Santa Rosa, California, you're next. Good morning.
CALLER 2: Yes, I'm calling [unintelligible] Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and the article is entitled "Unabated Problems in Indonesia," and I'm just curious as to…. It seems to me that the problem in Indonesia, and we talk about different countries in the world and how we want to have democracies but yet we continue to pour aid after aid into Indonesia and it seems to me that we're propping up a really tyrannical government there, and I just don’t…as an American, I'm just ashamed of it.
SCHROEDER: Well as you know, when I said the things that I was concerned about as I read today over all the articles about Indonesia and they're kind of in lots of different papers on different pages. As you know, with the violence breaking out over there, [unintelligible] is very concerned about where this is all going to end and how is this going to impact the entire Asian economy and the Asian meltdown that's going on right now. You're right about what went on for so long. It didn't just go on in Asia—it went on in Latin America, Africa, all sorts of places—where during the Cold War, we bought into the Jean Kirkpatrick thing as, well, they may be a tyrant but if they're our tyrant, that's OK as long as they're not communist. And we kind of got stuck with a lot of people like a Marcos…well, we could name them. We could go on forever about different people we ended up aligning ourselves with. And I think Indonesia was one of those. You didn't have to be into rocket science to figure out that it was a great deal for the leader and his family and friends, but there were an awful lot of people in Indonesia who it wasn't trickling down on and really didn't have a chance of getting inside. And now you can't blame them for being outside, wanting real democracy. And since we claim that's what we are for, I think it's…. We've got to find a way that we respond to people like that, especially when for so long we propped up the current regime basically because it was non-communist not because it was democratic with a small D.
INTERVIEWER: This is that the front page story looks in New York Times this morning, by Mark Landler. "Unrest deepens in Indonesia but Suharto offers defiance." Massillon, Ohio, you're next. Good morning. You have the Akron Beacon Journal.
CALLER 3: Yes, good morning.
INTERVIEWER: Good morning. What….
CALLER 3: …on the Clinton and Starr investigation of the Clinton administration. I think that this investigation has been hampered by the tax-paid attorneys that Clinton has on his staff. I always thought that when they mention a crime bill, it was talking about legislation. I didn't know they were referring to the name of a president. But in the meantime, I think that our economy is good. I think that Clinton is probably hanging on because of the good economy, but I really feel that it was Reagan that killed the Cold War and gave us a peacetime economy. And Mrs. Schroeder, I think has been also—she had mentioned Starr being on the payroll—she's been on the payroll for 24 years and I think is one of the participants to help create our financial mess in the past. And I think that Reagan is one we should thank for the good economy today. Thanks.
INTERVIEWER: Thanks, Ohio. Let me give a countering view from a person who sent this email in. Jerry Flood from Boston, Massachusetts, said that "I'd like to thank Representative Schroeder for defending the liberal cause during the country's brush with the Dark Ages, the Reagan-Bush years. It gave me such pleasure to see her so articulately and unapologetically defend liberal values and policies. Thank you, thank you.
SCHROEDER: Thank you.
INTERVIEWER: So, two different view.
SCHROEDER: Well and I almost…I must also respond because I honestly think, as one are the people who voted for the Clinton budget which finally got us on this whole even keel so we finally have a balanced budget—and remember it only passed by one vote—we saw the deficit go nuts under Ronald Reagan, and I just think it's interesting that so many people totally have spaced that out. They have just totally not paid any attention to the fact that the deficit grew more during the Reagan era than it did in the entire history of the republic from George Washington up until him. And so I really do think you can say whatever you want about Bill Clinton but at least he came to town and I know this doesn't fit the conventional wisdom of what democrats do, but he did get this federal budget under control with their first budget bill for which a lot of Democrats paid with their careers.
INTERVIEWER: Mr. Flood had one last question for you. He said what's the likelihood of a Schroeder-Ferraro ticket in 2004?
SCHROEDER: [laughing] Who knows? I wish her well in New York and we'll see where she goes then. My guess is she'll probably be looking for somebody from a biggest than Colorado to run with.
INTERVIEWER: When you write a book like this one, of twenty four years of house work…
SCHROEDER: Isn't that wonderful?
INTERVIEWER: These pictures always show up…
SCHROEDER: Aren't they wonderful?
INTERVIEWER: …in political [unintelligible].
SCHROEDER: I think every politician has one.
INTERVIEWER: Can we get closer on this? I don't know if we can get a little bit closer on this. Where was this taken?
SCHROEDER: That was taken in Dallas, Texas, during my now wild and crazy youth in World War II. I think everybody's got one of those but they used to come through the neighborhood with those little ponies and your mom ponied up the money and you got to sit on the pony and you got your picture taken. And I do think that they are just classic political pictures of Americana in the 40s and 50s.
INTERVIEWER: Northport, Alabama, you're next. Good morning.
CALLER 4: Morning. I have a comment and a question. First of all, my comment is, the man who called a moment ago about the National Day of Prayer and the coach? My question is, you made the point about that you don't want to send your children to play on a team that the coach is going to be religious. But what is the difference in that and sending our child to a school that's going to have a homosexual agenda and maybe a homosexual teacher, that we or maybe conservatives, but we're going send them there with their values and if they're going to be taught their values, why should we told that that we cannot open our mouths to preach…I mean, not really preach but be able to have voluntary prayer? And my other question is…I know that the government is really trying to help fund a lot of the people who are having trouble paying for daycare and things like that, especially single parents, and I know that's really a tough thing, but then the parents who have made the decision and the choice to stay at home and raise their family with morals and that have really struggled…. I mean, I for one, I'm a stay at home mom and it's really hard to stay at home and live on one income, but it's like, the government will not recognize that. They recognize more the woman who wants to get out on the workforce and put their child in a daycare. And I just want to know what you take was on that.
SCHROEDER: Well, let me do my take on both. My take on both is, as a parent, when I sent my child to school, I assumed they went to be educated—reading, writing, arithmetic and those kind of core curriculum—and that's what I want out of the school. When my child was on a sports team, I assumed that the coach was teaching them about sports. When it came to our family's religion, they want to either a church school that we could select if we decided to do that or they went to Sunday School on weekends or we talked about it at home. But I think that you really don't want to find that people are crossing those lines and proselytizing children about I don't care what it is, left to right, up, down—whatever. You just…you want to control what your values and your family are with your child, and that to me seems to be a reasonable thing that parents ask for. Okay, so where do we get off with working moms versus non-working moms—let's face it, every mom is a working mom, the question is are they working outside the home or aren't they. I wish we'd call off the mommy wars. I'm really sorry, because I heard in your voice that you somehow think I'm against women staying at home and I'm absolutely not. In fact, when we first passed the very first bill on IRAS for mothers who stayed at home, that was my bill. Unfortunately in the Reagan Administration got knocked out when they simplified the tax code and now we're trying to get it back. But I think we should respect moms that stay at home. But if you look at what we're saying, then the question is: How do you feel about welfare? People say, "Well we don't want poor moms staying home. Poor moms have got to go out and work." But we also don't want to help with their daycare. But then we have middle-class moms saying "We want to stay home and we want government help to stay home." Now, could we just all stop and could we just all figure out how we help all young parents to be better parents, because if all young parents have a lot of this stuff and this stress removed from their lives, they're going be better parents, we're going to have better country because the kids are going to grow up. I see right now more women so totally torn between should they be home, should they be at work. If they're at work, they feel they ought to be home. If they're home, they feel guilty because they're not at work. And you cannot tell me that does not fall out on the child, and what they have to do to try to help rear the child. I think on this Mother's Day we all have to assess the fact that as a nation we have not done a very good job on work and family issues, and I think ought to lay that out there on the table and it's time, in this credible economy we've got, we move on.
INTERVIEWER: This is the book: "24 Years of House Work and the Place is Still a Mess." We'll talk a little bit about the place that you think is still a mess in a few minutes, but first let's take a call from Orange, New Jersey. Good morning.
CALLER 5: Yes, good morning. Actually, I'm calling in regards to an article in The York Times—actually I didn't get my paper yet, I read it on the internet—dealing with the Middle East peace process and tomorrow's cancelled meeting. My comment is that, you know, this week I really have received a revelation—I mean, not like religious—but you know, I saw the comment that Hillary Clinton mentioned about, you know, supporting the Palestinians, the aspirations of the Palestinian people, in contrast to Newt Gingrich and his statement about, you know, criticizing the Clinton Administration for putting the pressure on Israel. My thing is I'm so appalled about…it's almost like the prejudice and the bias that, you know, influences our own domestic policy in regards to Israel—I mean it like six million Muslims in the country and this guy…and you hear so often from so many people that Israel is a democracy—which it is for Israeli citizens, but the situation with the Palestinians looks more like an apartheid situation, of people without their rights and being occupied. And to see her have so much to courage to speak her own opinion as an independent woman, but people shun her. On their side, they don't give any solutions. They just say "Support Israel. Support Israel," blindly. Give it $3 billion. And criticizing the President for finally being a statesman. Too often, I think, he waffles on foreign policy. I wanted to ask, from the distinguished Pat Schroeder, how does she feel about the peace process—the way it's going, Clinton's involvement in it—and how domestic lobby groups and individuals here skew the issue so much, to almost a prejudice, almost one side even racist, dimension in my opinion. Thank you so much.
INTERVIEW: Okay. How many years did you serve on the Armed Services?
SCHROEDER: Twenty-four years, 24 years. And obviously, the was always a very key issue. Well, you know, there's two things. First of all, obviously Israel has lived in a very bad neighborhood, and if you take all the people who have said that they're going to run Israel into the sea, there's a whole lot more of those then there are Israelis. So I think traditionally that's why Americans came down on that side. I think at the moment that most of us are very upset that the Israeli government is not continuing the peace process. When you see Yasser Arafat saying that they could go along with this and then the Israeli government saying no when the whole thing has been cancelled for tomorrow, that is very sad, I think, and I think most Americans feel that's very sad. And I don't think that they feel that that's really asking Israel to give up too much because I think had Peres been in office we all know he would have continued on the peace process. cell on we're seeing domestic politics kind of undermine that right now and I certainly hope we get a bigger vision very soon because it's a part of the world that's been waiting for peace too long.
INTERVIEWER: Shelburne, Vermont. Good morning.
CALLER 6: Good morning. I'm calling about the man who called in about religion from sports teams. I think that Americans ought to learn a little history. Catholics—and I'm not a Catholic, I'm a Unitarian— Catholics, when they first sent their children to public schools, then snatched them out and formed their own schools because the prayers were Protestant prayers…
CALLER 6: Now the same cast of characters, the same prayers in a different order—you know, the sentiment, a different order—couldn't possibly have their children in a school where even though they were all Christians, the prayers were not Catholic. Now, I'm not blaming Catholics on this. The only reason I'm bringing it up is, I want to say: No religion in schools because you will never get anything that somebody isn't going to hate, and it's further splitting the schools apart.
SCHROEDER: You know, you're right.
INTERVIEWER: Thanks, caller.
SCHROEDER: I think it's very hard. Whenever…. I fought that issue 24 hours a day because, you know, in the first blush it always sounds terrific. Of course we can have a prayer. And then you sit down and start thinking, what kind of a prayer can we have that's inclusive of all the young people and the class and means anything? And you suddenly are in real trouble in many classrooms. So I think your point's very well taken and I do remember very well history in Philadelphia and other major cities when the Irish came in. They got very upset about having their children proselytized in public schools. I think that any parent in history, anywhere, is going to be very upset if somebody starts doing that.
INTERVIEWER: The Congress.
INTERVIEWER: Front-page story, Dan Balz and Juliet Eilperin: Gingrich attacks energize the GOP but worry it, too. Front page in the Washington Post this morning: "Gingrich's persistent criticism of the administration has made him the center of controversy once again to the delight Democrats. Even some Republicans worry that his attacks could backfire among some voters and harm the party in the long run."
SCHROEDER: Well, and he also says he's got to raise money in there, I think that article says. This is how we trigger of our funding base. After all, we need money to run. Yeah, I honestly think the place looks like a food fight at the moment, and I'm not too sure Americans are ready for one more food fight. I think they're getting a little tired of it. So we'll see. We'll see what happens.
INTERVIEWER: He says, or the story says actually, in the coming weeks "Gingrich will attempt to steer carefully through the demands of activists for combative attacks on Clinton and public demands for even-handed investigations, all the while buying time until it's clear whether Starr…"—Ken Starr—"…plans to send a report to the House in the near future."
SCHROEDER: Yeah, it's a difficult…. I mean, politically, if you just look at it very, very sterilely, politically it's a difficult course to chart because you're not quite sure where it's going to go.
INTERVIEWER: Honolulu, you're next. Good morning.
CALLER 7: Good morning. Good morning, Ms. Schroeder.
SCHROEDER: Good morning.
CALLER 7: I hope you're well. I hope you've been doing well.
SCHROEDER: Thank you.
CALLER 7: I miss you in the House. You're a very articulate lady and…
SCHROEDER: You're sure up early. [laughing]
CALLER 7: Well, I am. I was restless, and saw you on television. But I'm concerned about Mr. Starr, as other Americans are, about his behavior and our liberty. The article I have here is about indicting Mr. Hubbell's wife, which I thought was outrageous, on this tax issue. And his behavior in general. Ralph Nader wrote a book about lawyers in D.C. and pointed out that basically Mr. Starr has become a multi-millionaire while he's been working for us, supposedly, representing corporations in litigation with the federal government. So while he has been representing these big corporations including are tobacco companies, he's been making lots of money, becoming a wealthy man. And one other thing I saw disturbs me, and this disturbs me worse than anything, is there was an African-American lady down in Arkansas, as a representative, just an ordinary citizen, who's got all wrapped up in all this, a very tangential person in this who has done nothing. But she was bankrupted by what Mr. Starr did. She ended up on food stamps. A very articulate, able person. And I suppose my question is, Ms. Schroeder, why can't Miss Reno, who appears to me a strong person of integrity, come in a say, "We just need to somebody else that's going to be objective and fair"? I know Sam Dash is supposedly, you know, he's ethics director and I've always admired Sam. And why in the world wouldn't Sam speak up? He's making $3200 a week, according to the Arkansas Times, as his ethics adviser. And I appreciate your intelligence and I thank you for letting me ask you the questions.
SCHROEDER: Thanks, thanks. Well, I wish I knew. I mean, remember the old Star Chamber that we talked about in history and how awful it was. I feel like we have a whole Starr-type of chamber, and while he's doing very well financially, just an awful lot of people have spent more than their salary—more than they make—hiring lawyers and going in front of this grand jury that's been going on for ever and ever and ever, and they finally close down the one in Arkansas, which is what it all started about, with one indictment or something, and you kind of think that's kind of maybe the world's most expensive indictment. But I think Janet Reno is in a real problem. I think a lot of people are very surprised. They thought Starr would be much fairer. And I think if she tried to do anything at this point, obviously, the Republicans would go flaming crazy, accusing her of interfering and everything else. So once you get these processes started, it's very hard to get that horse back in the barn at this point. I hope when the Congress reconsiders this statute, they look at some kind of a sunset provision or something. Basically, it's full employment for lawyers in Washington.
INTERVIEWER: One of the things that's going to happen this week in Washington is that one of the bodies in the Tomb of the Unknowns is going to be exhumed, which brings…and of course then they'll be looking at to see if they can match some DNA. Which brings me to this front-page story that we looked a little bit earlier this morning by Nicholas Wade, in which a private company has now said within three years they can do a genetic code, a DNA code, for every person in the United States—much faster than the federal government's plan that's being done through NIH. Any concerns about a private company coming in and being able to do that?
SCHROEDER: Sure. I think everybody's concerned, not only private but the government. The real question is are we going to have any privacy? Is our DNA code going to be tattooed to us? Does that mean people can discriminate against us on insurance or decide that we're automatically a criminal? I mean, I'm way beyond my pay grade here. I don't really understand what all you can read from a DNA code, but I think it's an interesting, brave new world we have out there and I think we probably need some ethical standards and some strong privacy protection standards.
INTERVIEWER: Seattle, you're next. Good morning.
CALLER 8: Yes, good morning, ladies. How are you today?
INTERVIEWER: Fine, thanks.
SCHROEDER: Good morning.
CALLER 8: Yes, Madam Schroeder, you mentioned religion in schools. Well as long as the House chaplain James Davis Ford makes $133,00 a year and recites his prayer every morning, I think the whole thing is really a moot point. And secondly, you talk about the world's most expensive indictment. You are the world's most expensive pension beneficiary, at $4,182,000, at $74,915 per year, when an average American makes between $10,000 and $12,000 in Social Security benefits….
SCHROEDER: Can you tell me where I go get that pension? I mean I keep…I hear this every now and then. I haven't found that pension window. I'm ready to go but they….
CALLER 8: It's right here in the National Taxpayers Union….
SCHROEDER: Well, they might be wrong, do you suppose? I mean, I'm 57 years old and guess what—I can't find that window.
INTERVIEWER: Do you have any pension right now from the House?
SCHROEDER: I have a small pension but you can't get your real one till you're 65, or 62 or something. I don't know what it is, but I'm now working. I'm not paying any attention to that.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah, but when you reach 62,
SCHROEDER: But it's not…and the only way….
INTERVIEWER: Have you done any calculations?
SCHROEDER: I mean, I keep reading this four and a half million dollars and so forth. Well, every year that we were there we did put in seven-and-a-half percent and the government matched it. OK? And we also paid Social Security. So we did that. Now, when I get to be 65 I think what they do is subtract Social Security from the pension, or maybe they do when they're 62. I don't know what it is. But you know, even then to get the kind of money that they're talking about? I think I have to live to be about a 140, and I'm not sure I'm never going to make that.
INTERVIEWER: Here's a supporter. Davey Baby III, says, "I see that when you left congress you stayed in DC rather than moving to Denver. As far as you know, what percentage of ex-congress people stay in Washington?
SCHROEDER: Well, a very lot do. I really would love to get back to Colorado but my wonderful husband of 35 years has been very good about following me around, and he was here—he's 62—and he kind of said, "You know, I'm enjoying what I'm doing and I'm not sure I'm really ready to re-root right now," so we're kind of here until he kind of decides he's had enough with the work world or wants to change careers or something. A couple of years from now we'll have a better idea.
INTERVIEWER: Another email from M. Murray, subject: that woman from Colorado. Not happy with the questions we're asking you this morning. He has one—he or she has one: "How did you spend over two $200,000 in one year, a congressional record for travel? Unless you live on United Airlines, no one can spend that amount of money on travel."
SCHROEDER: I don't think I did. I don't know what they talking about.
INTERVIEWER: "Didn't any American citizen ever complain? Also, tell us about your tour of Europe a few years back, at the end of which you met a lot of other traveling congresspersons and had a big party at a fancy restaurant in Paris, all at taxpayers' expense."
SCHROEDER: That's not me. I have not been to a party in Paris. I think he's got me mixed up with somebody. I have no idea. I never even went to the Paris air shows. I did travel a lot for the Armed Services Committee, but when I did that we went from base to base, and we did it on military aircraft and it was not a party, believe me. If you've been to Bosnia in February—it's not a party.
INTERVIEWER: Last call for Patricia Schroeder. San Antonio, Texas. Good morning.
CALLER 9: Good morning, how you doing today?
INTERVIEWER: Fine, thanks.
CALLER 9: My article in the paper has to do with the IRS so-called reform. If you don't mind letting me give you two points of it, as the reason why I say it's so-called reform.
INTERVIEWER: Caller, we're running out of time kind of quick, so if you could make it kind of quick, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
CALLER 9: One is that you can soon the IRS and expect to get maybe if you win $100,000 or less. That I don't quite understand, in that I’m going to sue the IRS and maybe win $100,000, which is my tax dollars they're giving back to me in a sense. They're going to raise my taxes to pay me the $100,000. I would much rather have them said, sue the individual agent and let him pay it out of his pocket if he loses, rather than pay it out of my pocket if I win, which, you know, is a play with words, I guess. And the second point is that you've got to bring your records to prove you're innocent all over again, even though they say you have the presumption of innocence first. But still you've got to prove it with your records. I don't quite understand the two together.
INTERVIEWER: San Antonio, thanks. Can you help him out with that?
SCHROEDER: I'm happy to say I didn't help write that bill, and I am very skeptical of any time of reform. I'm like the caller, so I'm not sure…. I'm just sorry we didn't get to talk about the book more, cause I thought it was a lot of fun, and…
INTERVIEWER: "24 Hours [sic] of House Work…and the Place is Still a Mess." Are you at the beginning of your tour or the end of your tour—what?
SCHROEDER: I'm just kind of starting. It's hard when you are working full time to fit it all in, but I'm trying to get out and get some done. And I really…. What the book is trying to say to people is if I could do politics, anybody can do politics. It's a heck of a lot of fun. I had a wonderful time. I ended up…my family's intact, I'm not in jail, I'm not indicted.... I mean, all these things that people keep hearing about what happens to you if you go into politics. It's not true for everybody, please! And we broke a lot of rules that you weren't supposed to do, like we never paid for a poll, we never did a lot of things. Let's reclaim our democratic institutions. I am so worried about the cynicism that I see out there right now among people. And I think that as the whole world turns to democracy to see us turning off on it is pretty frightening.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much for joining us this morning, Patricia Schroeder. The publisher is—?
SCHROEDER: Andrews McMeel in Kansas City.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you very much for joining us.
SCHROEDER: Thank you.
INTERVIEWER: More from Andersonville, Georgia. We'll be going back there, where the C-SPAN school bus is making a stop at the national POW museum, the newest national park in the country.