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Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with Rowan Scarborough

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
October 18, 2003
Q:  I thought this was a very general question, but your dad, generally, what did he teach you about life?

 

            Rumsfeld:  He was a voracious reader, and certainly that was an important learning experience for me to see -- My mother was a schoolteacher and he was a person who loved to read, mostly history and biographies.  That had an affect on me. 

 

            He was very energetic.  He loved life.  I remember him whistling all the time and he was upbeat.  And he liked people and he liked doing things and he would go out, he started working at a real estate firm when he was, I think, 12 or 13, as an office boy.  Part time.  But when I was a young kid and I would caddy at golf, he never had time to play golf because he worked day and night, seven days a week, but he would go out and play golf, nine holes at dusk, in about 35 minutes.  He never took a warm-up stroke.  He would just get on that course and hit the ball and go, and hit the ball and go.  It was so much fun to be with him. 

 

            Q:            You would have been how old?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I would have been 10, 11, 12, 13 -- Well, no, he was gone those years.  It would have been probably 9 and 10, or 13.  Because then he went into World War II and was gone on an aircraft carrier for a good chunk of time.  And that had a big impact on me.

 

            We left Chicago, we moved to North Carolina, we moved to Washington State - where we would wait for the carrier then - to

California, when he was out in the Pacific as a hangar deck officer on a carrier.  He was an old man.  He was born in '03 or '04.

 

            Q:            Did he have to serve?

 

            Rumsfeld:  No.  Goodness, no.  He was way over the age.  He had a wife and kids.  In fact they didn't even want him, he was too thin.  They made him gain weight before they would accept him, and we had to have a few more losses before they lowered the standards and took him in, but he finally got in.  It was a big part of his life and a big part of my life.

 

            I was born during the Depression, and that was a big part of my life.  And then World War II had a massive effect on my life. To move around the country and to be totally oriented to what was going on in the war.

 

            Q:            And your dad, you mentioned in an article he started to run in ‘62.  Your dad worked as hard as anybody trying to get you elected?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yeah.  He was a conservative person in his life and for me, didn't want me to be -- he didn't want me to go very far away to school.  He wanted me to go to a Big 10 school, since I was a wrestler and he could then see me wrestle.  Instead of going East.  When I decided to become a Navy pilot, he said, “You don't want to be a pilot.”  He watched on the aircraft carrier these guys go in the drink.  So he kind of discouraged me from that, which I went ahead and did, of course.  He was a little worried about me playing football because I was so small back in high school. 

 

            And when I decided to run for Congress, he said, “There isn't a chance!”  I hadn't been in the district, I'd gone to college, I'd been in the Navy, I'd been working in Washington, and it just seemed like such a long shot. As one PhD dissertation said, "Rumsfeld's distinguished principally by his total lack of social, financial, and political standing in the community."

 

            But the minute I decided to go, he went out and got petitions signed, drove all over the district to every real estate office because he was selling real estate at the time, and people knew him.  It was so cute the way he just threw himself into help.  A wonderful guy.

 

            Q:            Your mom.  What did she teach you?  I know these are general questions.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Sure.

 

            Grammar, among other things.  She was a schoolteacher.  She also was a reader and also had a lot of energy.  Just a dear, dear lady who wanted me to be a lawyer.  I guess when she was growing up, being a lawyer was kind of something that one might aspire to.  She always had that in her mind, that I should be a lawyer.

 

            Q:            But you thought about it?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I thought about it.  I went to school here at Georgetown for about a year, and then at Western Reserve when I was managing a campaign out in Ohio in '58, I went for about half a year.  But never went back.

 

            Q:            You were an athlete, you could have focused on a lot of sports, but you focused on wrestling.  Why wrestling?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I guess it's kind of fun to do well at something and for whatever reason that sport worked for me.  I wasn't very tall for basketball, I was quite small, so football wasn't particularly -- I played football and I did okay, but wrestling worked.  I enjoyed it, I liked the competition and the discipline on it.  I ended up wrestling four years in high school, four years in college, in the Navy, and even after I came to Washington in '57 I wrestled in some tournaments here, the AAU, the YMCA.  I hope I’ve decided I’m a little old for that.

 

            Q:            Wrigley Field.  Do you remember your first time as a kid going to Wrigley Field?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I do.  And I think my wife, to this day, can tell you every player on the Cub teams back in those days.  She used to go with a friend of hers. I didn't know her in grammar school, but I remember going down there, and the field.  Of course Wrigley Field was an enormous field.

 

            I also remember watching, I believe it was Chicago Cardinals football that played in Wrigley Field.  A football team in there.

 

            Q:            The Bears used to play during the (inaudible) years.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Is that right?  Maybe it was the Bears.  But I remember seeing Blanda play.  I was probably in high school or something.

 

            Q:            They used to pull bleachers down over the right field bleachers --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Right.

 

            Q:            That's where they beat the Giants in that, I guess it was --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Are you from Chicago?

 

            Q:            I went to [inaudible] school at Great Lakes and boot camp in '69.  And they used to hand out grandstand seats where I could go and sit behind the beam down on the left field line.  So I just started going to all these games because the train went through --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Sure.

 

            Q:            And then I saw that horrible '69 season.  They went from eight games up to five games back in a month, and [Derocher] just about had it.  So I go back now every summer just to go to Wrigley.

 

            Rumsfeld:  That’s fun – that’s a great place.  I ended up with some season tickets and I never made one of the games for the last three years.

 

            Q:            (inaudible) season tickets.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Who said that?

 

            Q:            Grenada

 

            Rumsfeld:  Do you know him?

 

            Q:            I've talked to him for this.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yeah, I got four tickets, I sold him two of them and he still has them.  He and his kids have been going.

 

            Q:            How did you meet Joyce? What year?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Suddenly you're a freshman, and I had just come back from California after the war in 8th grade, and then I was in this school and she's there with a bunch of people, and you get to meet people.  We didn't date in freshman, sophomore or junior year.  I think we started dating senior year.  No, junior year I took her out.  I think the first time I had taken her out, the Dean almost made me.  She'd broken up with the football player she was dating and the Dean, she was a class officer, I was a class officer, the Dean said don't get a date because Joyce may need a date.  I think that was what it was.

 

            Q:            What was it about Joyce?

 

            Rumsfeld:  She's just a delightful person.  She and her mother are very much alike.  Her mother's just [inaudible].  Very decent human beings.  Loved life, a lot of energy, smart, thoughtful.  And, of course, luck, too.  She has a good sense of humor.  But it's also good luck.  I mean what do you know when you're 17, 18, 19 and 20, you get married when you're 21, 22 maybe.  It's good fortune that something like that works so well.

 

            Q:            Jumping head.

 

            You come to Congress in '62, you're sworn in in '63.  You're meeting late.  You're [inaudible].  You want to shape up the Republican Caucus, you think it's led by people who are perhaps behind the times.  You're thinking majority.  You're thinking Republican majority, eventually.  Why did you [inaudible]?  What was it about Ford that you said this is the guy who can [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I had a friend who I'd gone to high school with who was shot down by the Chinese and was not found.  Even to this day, there's speculation that he may have lived in prison in China.  His widow or his wife came.  My friend was from Grand Rapids, so I went with her to see the congressman from Grand Rapids who was Gerald Ford.  When I was here in Washington in '57, '58, '59 and part of '60, I guess, I worked part of the time for Bob Griffin of Michigan.  Bob Griffin and Gerald Ford were very good friends.  So the minute I was elected, Bob Griffin grabbed me and said look, we're running Gerald Ford for conference chairman against Charles(inaudible) from Iowa, I believe, and we need you to round up the votes from the freshmen who have just got elected.  I'd been elected for a month.  So Griffin got ahold of me, Bob did.  Of course I'd worked here so I'd seen these people operate.  I went out and recruited some votes for Gerald Ford and he won as conference chairman.

 

            A few years later, we went down to 140 members after the Goldwater/Johnson election.  There were so many Democrats that they had to sit on our side of the aisle because there weren't enough seats on their side.  And then a cluster of us decided that we thought maybe someone other than Charlie Hallock would be appropriate.  We looked around and Gerald Ford was conference chairman so he was on the step, as they say, in flying seaplanes.  We started looking at the votes.  He was the only one that could have beaten Charlie Hallock.  He was uniformly well liked, and it turned out he won by only a vote or two.

 

            Q:            Bob Dole was [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yeah.

 

            Q:            I talked to him about you.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Our offices were next door to each other.

 

            Q:            No, I talked to Ford about you.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Oh, Ford.

 

            Q:            -- his office in Colorado.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Oh.  He's a nice guy.

 

            Q:        He is.  That’s true.

 

            Jumping head, '77.  Ford would have been caucus chairman?

 

            Rumsfeld:  A three-minute decision and the first two were for coffee.  He left.  [Laughter]  We were ready.

 

            Q:            Why did you decide to go, instead or reentering Illinois politics, maybe running for Governor or for Senator, you decided to enter the corporate world?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Between late '57 and '77 I had done almost nothing other than government, and I had always been interested in business.  I always have enjoyed learning new things.  The fact that I'd been in the legislative branch, I'd been in the executive branch, in an agency, I'd been in the executive branch in the White House, I'd been in the foreign policy business overseas, I'd had a touch of the economic, a touch of the domestic and the Secretary of Defense, and it just felt to me that I was happiest when I was learning and when I was reasonably central to something.  I'd always worried about politicians who spent most of their time getting ready to be something as opposed to doing something.  And I questioned whether that was a great way to live a life, getting ready as opposed to doing.

 

            Q:  I see.

 

            I remember when someone came to me and asked me to support one candidate one time, and I said, “I like him and I like him better than the other fellow, but I didn't want to watch him run around the track.  He hasn't been doing anything other than getting ready for it.”  I was cautious about that.

 

            Then, all of a sudden, offers started coming in to do this company or that company or something else.  At the time I was teaching at Princeton and teaching at Northwestern Kellems School, a semester course in management.  It just struck me.  I'd never taken biology or chemistry, but a pharmaceutical company with totally different vocabulary, totally different set of skills, I never had been in business.  It just seemed like a wonderful opportunity to learn.

 

            Q:            Dan Searle, who I guess officially hired you --

 

            Rumsfeld:  True.

 

            Q:            Did you meet him in the '62 campaign?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I did. 

 

            Q:            That's when you met him.

 

            Rumsfeld:   I saw it as fortuitous.  He was supporting another person in that primary.  It was a 15-person primary I think we started out with, and he was supporting somebody else at one point, I think.  And then that person dropped out and he started helping me and he was terrific.

 

            Q:            I know this is complex, but aspartame had languished at the company for years.  How did you finally get it through the FDA?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Searle had been criticized for some research and aspartame, as I recall, had been approved and then there had been a stay of the approval.

 

            Q:            Yes.

 

            Rumsfeld:  So it was in limbo.  You have a big investment with no return.  What we did was we brought in a new head of research and we started working with -- I didn't, but John Rothman who came in as my number two, started working with the FDA.  I went down to meet with the FDA and said, “What is it we need to do to interact with this important agency in a way that is going to make the process work for both of us?”  We talked about what had happened previously and we talked about what we might do and we set about doing those things.  Over time, all of the charges against Searle were dropped and -- I don't know they were charges.  There were investigations against Searle, rather than charges.  They were dropped ultimately and we developed relationships so that they were willing to look at what we were talking to them about and at some moment they decided to approve it.

 

            Q:            So getting a new research head in was key.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yeah, a little fresh air.

 

            Q:            And getting Robson working on the --

 

            Rumsfeld:  John Robson was very helpful.  He's a smart fellow.

 

            Q:            Another high school buddy.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Another high school buddy.  You bet.

 

            Q:            Special Envoy, '83, '84.  Now Bob Peletrow who was with you on the Saddam trip, he remembers meeting with Saddam, you greeting Saddam this way.  Saddam comes out of a corner, wherever he comes into the reception room.  Iraqi TV goes on.  He thinks Saddam holds his right hand down as low as he can to try to see if he can get you to bend to his hand on Iraqi TV.  But you walked right up to Saddam, straight as an arrow, and just grabbed his hand.

 

            Rumsfeld:  [Laughter]  That sounds like me.

 

            Q:            All right.  Bob was to the left and behind you, and that's how he remembers it.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yes.  I don't remember that, but you do what you do.  That’s very interesting.

 

            Q:            What was your assessment of him then?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Well, it was an interesting meeting.  He was at war with Iran.  The Gulf States were concerned that Iraq could lose and that Iran would spill into the Gulf.  We were having a lot of trouble, we'd had Marines killed by the terrorists in Beirut, 241 Marines killed.  Syria was notably unhelpful.  And President Reagan and Secretary Schultz and I talked and agreed that it would be a useful thing to meet with him and complicate the world for Syria.

 

            One of the things he did to me was -- The night before I'd met with Tariq Aziz and I said something to the effect that it's a fact that a whole generation of Americans have grown up now knowing much about Iraqis and a whole generation of Iraqis has grown up not knowing much about Americans, because it was one of the few countries that had stayed separate from any relationship with the United States. 

 

            I got called the next morning about 7:00 and said Saddam Hussein wants to see you at an early hour.  I'd been up since 2:00 or 3:00 the night before in these meetings with Tariq Aziz.  And the next thing you know you walk in there and out of Saddam's mouth comes this, you know, we've got a whole generation of Iraqis growing up, and a whole generation of Americans growing up, and he repeated back exactly what I had told Tariq Aziz the night before.  And alone in a meeting with Tariq Aziz.

 

            At one moment in the meeting he took me over to a window and pointed out at a tall building and he said, “When the elevator doesn't work in that building which way do you think I look?”  Saying look, I've got to look West.  I need people who can help make this modern country of ours work.  That was a long time – that was 20 years ago.

 

            Q:            Bob said your car was stopped several times before you got to the palace.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Uh huh.

 

            Q:            They patted you down.  He said you had to get out of the car and they patted you down and put you back in the car.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yeah.  It was wartime.  They had bunkers and barricades and sand bags.  If you think about it, the border of Iran is very close to Baghdad, whereas the Iraqi border's a long way from Tehran.  So they were subject to experiencing the war during that period.

 

            Q:            Did you see Saddam as this evil person then that would change your assessment on --

 

            Rumsfeld:  He obviously was what he was.  He was probably that bad.  There's history before that, known.  You don't go in and see a person like that and not ignore their past or their present and their nature.

 

            We were looking at it not from who do we want to be our new best friend, but from the standpoint of geostrategic circumstances in that part of the world.

 

            Q:            In May '84 you resigned.  You intended to do about six months.  You did about six months.  Our troops some weeks later or some months later are withdrawn from Lebanon.  Was that your recommendation to Reagan and Schultz that we should withdraw the troops from Lebanon?

 

            Rumsfeld:  The first cable I sent back, as I recall, began with the words "I wish we weren't here".

 

            Q:            The first cable after you'd been there or --

 

            Rumsfeld:  The first trip into Lebanon.  The Marines were posited at the airport.  They were a target.  The radical community was in very close proximity.  The complexities of the situation were such that being in there typically had, in my view, not great prospects for contributing greatly to stability.

 

            On the other hand, we were there.  That was not my recommendation.

 

            Q:            It was not.

 

            Rumsfeld:  No.  And I wouldn't even want to characterize -- My recommendation was more analytical than a recommendation.  I would characterize it in these cases of materials, what we found and what was taking place and what the options were, and questions that came to mind and possible alternative answers to those questions, as opposed to going in in a short period and saying -- I clearly felt I wish we weren't there.  No question about that.  But we were there, and so it made it a much more complex issue as to what you do about it once you're there.

 

            Q:            Jumping ahead.  In 1999, you joined Krichner's group in China for about a week there.

 

            Rumsfeld:  We did.  He had a good group.

 

            Q:            Yes.  Bill Schneider was along.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yes, Bill Schneider was there, and Ben Cramer I think.

 

            Q:            A real good --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yeah.

 

            Q:            People within the meetings say there were two things that you got across to the Chinese leaders.  You said a lot of things, but two things you said.  If there's a Republican Administration after this one, we're going to build missile defense.   Do you remember saying that?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't.  I think, in concept and direction as opposed to specifics, so the fact that I can't remember it doesn't mean I didn't say it.

 

            Q:            They also said you made it clear that you would defend Taiwan if it were invaded.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Me?  Sounds like me.  Policy -- [Laughter]

 

            Q:            Not everyone --

 

            Rumsfeld:  -- not exactly brazen in.

 

            Q:            -- face to face.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Oh.  I see.

 

            Q:            Anyway, toward the end of the trip, you went to [inaudible], a 60th Anniversary exhibit they had.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I remember that.

 

            Q:            One thing they had that startled some people, maybe startled isn't the right word, but they had a big mock-up of an invasion of Taiwan.

 

            Rumsfeld:   It was like a two, three story, maybe two story, whole kind of a building of Taiwan being invaded by land, sea and air.

 

            Q:            Yes.  What did that tell you?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Oh, there were millions of Chinese people pouring through this 50th Anniversary Pavilion, celebrating the Communist Party.  And they had a room, I believe, for every province in the country.  And Taiwan was the one you just described.  And that was so memorable because it was clear the signal they were sending.

 

            The second thing that was memorable, and I believe it was in the same pavilion, is it had Mao, the founder; it had Deng Xiaoping, the great leap forward economically; and it had Jiang Zemin; and I think it had the implication of the great unifier.  You should ask someone else who was on the trip, but my recollection is that it had the three faces of those individuals in great big posters.  And somehow or other, the impression was left of those three words.  That means Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan.

 

            Q:            They were sending a signal, and what signal did you receive?

 

            Rumsfeld:  The signal in the Taiwan portion of the pavilion to me was that the government of China was determined to bring back into China Taiwan, and the vehicle for doing it need not be peaceful.  That is to say you would not have had a totally militaristic presentation with respect to Taiwan, with nothing else about it.  There wasn't any other element of political or economic or interaction, and of course it was a great deal of [inaudible] between the islands of [inaudible] and Taiwan.

 

            DiRita:  Can we go off the record for a second?

 

            Q:            Yes.

 

            DiRita:  These were his impressions while he was there and on the trip. He wasn't in government at this point.

 

            Q:            Right.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Oh my gosh, you're right.  You're right.

 

            DiRita:  You're going to excerpt this book in your paper.  That would be a titillating excerpt for your paper.

 

            Rumsfeld:  And we shouldn't do it.  Exactly right.

 

            Q:            So what don't you want in?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Anything on China and Taiwan.  That's kind of foreign policy and I'm not doing that. 

 

            Q:            Okay.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yeah, that's a help.  These are all recollections.

 

            Q:            Good.  [Inaudible] sell the book.

 

            DiRita:  We'll take that chance.  [Laughter]  I'll buy a couple extra.

 

            Q:            Good.

 

            September 11th.  You go out and look at the carnage, you help in the recovery, then you come back here.  I understand within about an hour you're in the Executive Support Center talking to Cheney.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Uh huh.

 

            Q:            I understand you used the words right off the bat, this is a war.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Could have.  Don't know.  In fact I don't remember that being important.  It is a war.  But whether I said it that day, I don't have any idea.  I've never gone back to review what I said.

 

            Q:            Do you know when you first started to form a concept of how this war would be fought?  Early on you were telling people this was global.  This was not just Afghanistan.  This is global.  Do you know when you started to form that --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Were you working for me?

 

            Voice:  Yes, sir.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Early.  When exactly, I don't know.  I don't really think that way.  I know that you can't take a blow like that, killing that many innocent men, women and children, and not know that it was well organized, well planned, well financed, and that its purpose was to harm greatly the United States of America.  That being the case it is not a long trip over to the idea that to deal with a network like that is going to require a great deal of effort over a sustained period of time.  It wasn't long after that that we started developing the strategic directional things that are on this piece of paper like the mission determines the coalition instead of vice versa.

 

            Q:            How about the phrase, new kind of war?  Was that your baby or --

 

            Rumsfeld:  I rarely take credit for stuff like that.  I never know where I first hear something.  I may be one who says something and people hear it for the first time, but most of what I say and think I've learned from others.

 

            Q:            You have an affinity for Special Operations Forces.  You like them.  You like to use them.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I think what I would say is the challenges we face in the world requires the use of them.  I recognize that and I am happy to be one who encouraged that.

 

            Q:            Did you have previous exposure to SOF?

 

            Rumsfeld:  We did not have what we now think of as SOF when I was Secretary of Defense in the '70s.  All of us watched what happened on Desert I in Iraq, and then had watched and been interested in the evolution.  I did as Middle East Envoy work with Carl Stein and people like that.  So, in that period some years ago, I got more familiar with how things were evolving.  And I had an interest when I first came.

 

            But we have now done a series of five, six or seven things that are quite significant in terms of trying to get this institution organized and trained and equipped --

 

            Q:            SOCOM.

 

            Rumsfeld:  -- so that we can contribute in a way that's realistic to these challenges of the 21st Century.

 

            Q:            I understand, I think it was in January that you came out and announced this new authority that you had given SOCOM and new money and the two SOCs could plan.  So, in other words, you could have indigenous SOCOM missions now.  Not a theater mission in Afghanistan, necessarily, but a devised and executed SOCOM mission.

 

            Rumsfeld:  To use our phraseology, it could be both a supported and a supporting -- previously it had only been a supporting command.

 

            Q:            I understand, and maybe I've been fed wrong information, but SOCOM is not yet done any of these.  They're still working on battle staff and exactly who initiates it and when, things like that.

 

            Rumsfeld:  We've got the concept exactly right.  That's one thing we've done.  A second thing we've done, we've beefed up the budget.  The third thing we've done, we've caused them to take a good look at their equipment and see how that might have to change specifically.  Another thing we've done is we've required the Marines to get involved.  Another thing we've done is to accept that there are a number of things conventional forces are going to have to reach up into the lower end of tier three and start doing so that the demand on the special operators are less than they otherwise would be because the conventional forces can take over more of those missions early. 

 

            To give an example:  training in Georgia, training the Georgians.  Everyone reaches immediately for these folks.  So they go in there and they start doing it.  My attitude was we've got a wonderful Army and Marines who can train people to do those things.  Let's use them instead and free up them because they've got a full pot.

 

            So we've done about five or six things like that that increase the capability and capacity and reach of these folks.

 

            Voice:  We aren’t going to have a heck of a lot of time

 

            Q: Okay.

 

            Voice:  We need to wrap this up.

 

            Q:            Can I do some fact checking?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Sure.

 

            Q:            Arthur Lapin says in '76 you brought him to the Pentagon to study the Soviet economy and to help you understand --

 

            Rumsfeld:  We worked with him when I was Chief of Staff of the White House, Dick Cheney and I did, and got to know him well.  He was working in the Treasury Department.  Sure, I brought him.

 

            Q:            Genotta said you all had a vacation one summer when you were at NATO, you went down to Pamplona.

 

            Rumsfeld:  We did.

 

            Q:            The bulls.  They all went to one side of the street --

 

            Rumsfeld:  They all went to a hospital.  They went out the window.

 

            Q:            You went to the other side and were hanging off a wall.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I went down in the street, I was Ambassador to NATO at the time, and I said, heck, I can run with the bulls.  I ran for a ways, not very far, and they were catching up, and there were a whole lot of people thundering around me and behind me and I thought, this is kind of crazy.  I looked up and on the side of the wall coming out of two metal bars was one of these round one-way signs or no parking signs that they use in Europe.  I jumped up and grabbed the lower bar and started pulling myself up and some Spaniard grabbed my legs and started trying to climb up on me. 

           

            All of a sudden you look and an enormous bull fell.  His back legs went out from under him, he's still on his front legs, and skidded up the cobblestone street right opposite where we were hanging.  And he looked at us and he looked at the other side - there were a lot of people on the other side - and he got up and dashed right into all the people on the other side.

 

            Q:            Did he kill anybody?

 

            Rumsfeld:  No, but they dragged people into the hospital.  I didn't know what happened to him.  He was disoriented and lost the path and – so, it was exciting.

 

            Q:            [inaudible] says when you got the feeling that the lords of squash were going to eventually do away with the hard ball, that you had the Chicago Racquet Club round up every hard ball they could find.

 

            Rumsfeld:  True.

 

            Q:            You've got about 60 dozen now.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I do.  And I hope I can use every one of them.

 

            Q:            Ambassador Miller says in '97 he had just had lasik surgery, and he said to you, "Don," I don't know what he called you, "Mr. Rumsfeld, why don't you try lasik surgery?"  And you said to him, "The doctor says my eyes have too many muscles in them."

 

            Rumsfeld:  [Laughter]  That sounds like something I might have said.  But with a big smile.

 

            Q:            Oh, it was a joke.  Yes.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I think the truth is it was not lasik surgery.  I think it was contact lenses --

 

            Q:            He said it was one or the other.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Because I couldn't keep them in.  They tried to put them in and they'd just pop out and I didn't like them, and I tried three times and I finally just gave up.  I said my eyes had too many muscles.

 

            Q:            Judge Silverman, the April '84 trip to the Mid-East.  He's a terrific guy.

 

            Rumsfeld:  He's wonderful.

 

            Q:            I could talk to him all day.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I could too.

 

            Q:            He called me back and said, “I forgot to tell you this one. So I did it on the phone.  Oh, he showed his heel in the Sudan.

 

            Rumsfeld:  [inaudible] you can't show the bottom of your foot.

 

            Q:            He said that when you ate with, and I'm not sure he's right about this because [inaudible] doesn't remember this, that you dined with King Fahd in the April visit and he pulled out Nutrasweet?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Wrong.  Here it is.  King Fahd's sitting there and all of his people are down the line, Crown Prince Abdullah and Prince Sultan, and the Foreign Minister Saud, and down here's our group.  And they served me tea.  I looked around for the sugar, for the Sweet and Low, Equal, because I think of it as aspartame.  In Europe it's called Candaral.  And the King sees me looking around and the next thing you know he reaches in here, pulls out Candaral – aspartame -- passed it to me, and then made a testimonial that his wife required him to use that because he wants to lose weight.  He's lost X number of kilos.  All I could think of was if I'd had a camera, what an ad.  [Laughter]  It was just wonderful.  His government was in hysterics.

 

            Q:            He told me about your pipe smoking, too, with King Fahd.  That was a funny story.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't remember that.

 

            Q:            When did you give up pipe smoking?

 

            Rumsfeld:  About then.

 

            Q:  You did?

Rumsfeld:  Yeah.

 

            Q:            Okay.  Silverman told at your dinner with Ken Adelman on inauguration, I think, or around there, Silverman said you told the story of you all smoking pipes and meeting with King Fahd in the cold room.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't remember. I thought I smoked cigarettes then.

 

            Q:            You and Silverman were smoking pipes and he said the air conditioner was very low.  You don't remember?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't remember at all.

 

            Q:            Okay.  Cambone.  Did you first meet Cambone with the Ballistic Missile Commission?

 

            Rumsfeld:  True.

 

            Q:            Snyder brought you together?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't know who recommended Steve.  Somebody did, two or three people did, and the next thing I knew I interviewed him and liked him, and Wolfowitz here was on the Commission as well. 

 

Rumsfeld: to Wolfowitz) You didn't nominate Cambone did you?

 

            Wolfowitz:  I did! 

 

Rumsfeld:  You did? I didn’t know you were one of them.

 

Wolfowitz:  I didn't know I recommended [inaudible].

 

            Rumsfeld:  But two or three people --

 

            Wolfowitz:  He worked here --

 

            Q:            I see.

 

            Rumsfeld:  He was a good find because he did a great job for us.

 

            Q:            Are you going to talk to me for my book?

 

            [Multiple voices]

 

            DiRita:  And I wanted you to talk to Cambone too, which they're trying to arrange.

 

            Q:            He said he wanted to the questions in advance.

 

            DiRita:  We'll work it out.  He didn’t say that.  Someone else said that.

 

            Q:  The secretary doesn’t get questions in advance. (Laughter)

 

            Q:            Leaving a press conference when you were Ford's Secretary of Defense a reporter asked you about your health and you say, "I'm doing okay.  I'm down to a 14-hour work day."  That was the quip.

 

            Rumsfeld:  When was that?

 

            Q:            1976.

 

            DiRita:  We've got to get you down to that now.

 

            Q:            Was that on your thyroid surgery in '76?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yes.  Finally the Chairman of the Chiefs, George Brown called up Joyce and said, "Joyce, either you get his medication calmed down or else you start giving me some of that stuff."  [Laughter] 

 

            Q:            And you've been hospitalized twice.  Thyroid surgery, and then you had pneumonia in the early '90s?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Late '80s.

 

            Q:            Matt said he visited you at the hospital and you said you felt like you were drowning.

 

            Rumsfeld:  It was not pneumonia.

 

            Q:  It was Legionnaire’s?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yeah.  It was something like Legionnaires, they think.  I got it from a castle in Europe somewhere.  Some kind of a spore, some kind of a problem.  No one ever finally figured out what it was.  So I was really down.

 

            Q:            That's the sickest you've ever been?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Oh, my goodness yes.

 

            Q:            What brought you back?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Good fortune and the good Lord.

 

            Q:            I'm not sure how good the judge's memory is, Judge Silverman, but he says when you all landed in Beirut, it was a pitch-black landing.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Right.

 

            Q:            He said commanders came out to greet you at the helicopter.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yes.

 

            Q:            He said he was physically carried to Barthlolomew's Cadillac. 

 

Rumsfeld:  Right.

 

Q:  Is that right?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Probably he was.  He was slower than the rest of us -- [Laughter]

 

            Q:            And when you had dinner with Silverman and Gingrich in December 2000 during the transition, did you know you were SecDef at that point?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't remember the dinner.

 

            Q:            At La Chaumiere in Georgetown?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I had dinner there a number of times.  I think I stayed across the street there, but I just don't remember.  I don't remember when I was told.

 

            DiRita:  December 28th was the announcement.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I wasn't told much before that.

 

            DiRita:  It was pretty close before that.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yeah.

 

            DiRita:  When you were told, as I understand it.

 

            Q:            The final question.  You and Bush meet at the Mayflower, I guess it was.  That's where he was doing his interviews?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't remember.  I met with him at the Mayflower in January of that year, of 2000.  Because he wanted to talk about the Ballistic Missile Commission.  He was there for the [inaudible].  I understood the [inaudible].  He asked to see me.  I met with him for hours just alone, talking about all of the stuff that Paul and I and Steve had been doing.

 

            Q:            So even though you weren’t a (inaudible) officially, you were talking with him --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Yes.  And George Schultz and several others were not part of that --

 

            DiRita:  -- Wolfowitz out of --

 

            Q:            So you were not part of it.

 

            DiRita:  No.

 

            Q:            When did he interview you for your job in the Administration?  That would have been December.

 

            Rumsfeld:  What happened was, he started asking me not for a job, not interviewed for a job.  He wanted to ask me questions about what I thought about the intelligence community and what I thought about defense and foreign policy areas.  And not because I had any desire to come in or he had any desire to have me, I think that was out of the question.  It wasn’t on the radar screen.  But -- not to my knowledge, he wasn't.  But I met with him two or three times during that election period and post-election period, but it was more analytical things and conceptual.  But certainly not being interviewed for a job.

 

            The only time I met with him about the job is he invited me to Austin and talked to me specifically about those two jobs.

 

            Q:            December of 2000?

 

            Rumsfeld:  In December of 2000 at some point.  And I went on to Taos, I remember.

 

            Q:            Is that the first time you knew that you were now being considered?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I still didn’t think I was being considered then.  In other words, he never said to me, “I'm looking at you for a job.”  I had the feeling he was interviewing other people, which I knew he was, and that he was more trying to get a sense from me what the job would require, what the important issues were going to be, and what one ought to be thinking about in terms of the characteristics of an individual to go into those jobs.

 

            Q:            How did you learn --

 

            Rumsfeld:  Dick Cheney called me up.

 

            Q:            He spoke personally to you.

 

            Rumsfeld:  I was in New Mexico.

 

            Q:            So he never really did a job interview.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Never happened.

 

            Q:            Thinking back, do you know what it was that clicked between you two?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I don't have any idea.  My guess is -- I just don't know.

 

            Q:            What did you tell him the job required?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Don't remember.  It didn't take too long, I do remember it didn't take too long.

 

            DiRita:  -- What I’ve suggested to Rowan is that as he's out there writing, and he has some follow up things--

 

            Rumsfeld:  Sure.  We can talk on the phone.

 

            Q:            If you want to.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Okay.

 

            Q:            Thank you.

 

            Rumsfeld:  It wouldn't be very interesting.

 

            Q:            It wouldn't?