Former President Bill Clinton and former Sen. Bob Dole have come together in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept.11.
This unlikely partnership came together to form a new scholarship fund, the Families of Freedom Foundation. The fund, which has raised $25 million in the last few weeks, is dedicated to pay for college educations for the children and spouses of every victim of the terrorist attacks.
ABCNEWS' Claire Shipman spoke at length with Dole and Clinton Thursday at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. They talked about their new foundation and their feelings since the attacks.
The entire transcript of the interview, some of which aired on Good Morning America today, is posted below.
ABCNEWS' CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Why don't we first start on a lighter note, which is the last time I checked, you guys were political enemies in 1996. What happened?
SENATOR BOB DOLE: Well, we were opponents. I don't think we were enemies. But, you know
SHIPMAN: A fine distinction in a campaign!
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Actually, we work together pretty well, and I like Senator Dole very much, but we got together here because we wanted to do something of long-term benefit for the families of the victims, and he and I both were approached about supporting this Families Of Freedom Scholarship Fund, to give college tuition grants to the spouses and children of all the victims of this tragedy, and it seemed like a good thing to do to us. It did seem like a positive thing.
DOLE: No, it wasn't part of [inaudible] and it's not about Bill Clinton or Bob Dole. It's about these children and the spouses. I've had a few nasty e-mails, he probably has, too — "Why are you doing this with Bob Dole?" This is not about us, and if we can be an instrument to help these families, that's good enough for me.
SHIPMAN: Who called who first?
DOLE: Well, I think we
CLINTON: We, we got called at the same time, I think. They asked us, and, you know
DOLE: And we're volunteers.
CLINTON: Yeah. We jumped at the chance, and, and the people who are administering this for the Families Of Freedom Fund--it's a great, reputable organization, it's been doing it for 40 years, and they're not taking a single penny. They're giving all the, all the money to these people.
DOLE: All the principal. If there's any spent, it comes out of the interest, as I understand it, so
SHIPMAN: Why a scholarship fund? Why did you think that was important?
DOLE: Well, you know, the President knows better than I — well, I think we both know — education is probably the greatest challenge we have in America, and this will give these young people, and the spouses, in some cases, or those that are disabled, an opportunity for a full educational program.
CLINTON: Also, one of the things that appealed to me about it is that it being — I think every American has been overwhelmed by the generosity of feeling that has embraced the victims of this tragedy. People all over the country, all over the world, sending money, often little towns in Appalachia, sending money they could hardly afford. It's been amazing. But three, five, ten years from now, people will be thinking about other things, and yet there'll still be children of those victims who need an education. An amazing number of the widows of young men who died at the World Trade Center, or on the airplane at the Pentagon, were like you — they're pregnant.
DOLE: [inaudible] for example.