Monitor Breakfast

Selected quotations from a Monitor breakfast with Sen. Richard Lugar

Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana is the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Lugar is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dennison University. He continued his studies as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. During his Navy service, he was the intelligence briefer for the chief of naval operations.

Sen. Lugar's career started in 1963 when he was elected to the Indianapolis school board. He served two terms as mayor of Indianapolis and then won election to the US Senate in 1976.

The senator has been married since 1956 and has four grown sons and seven grandchildren.

On dealing with both North Korea and Iraq:

"Things are becoming more tense all around and we may not have a choice to concentrate on Iraq exclusively. We may be busy with North Korea issues at the same time. That really does stretch everybody but nevertheless that is the way the world is playing it out."

On whether North Korea or Iraq is a greater threat to the US:

North Korea "is deadly serious. This is not a question of a potential program, which is the Iraqi issue. This is a question of an actual program that had results and may even have some weapons stashed away in a closet."

On North Korea's decision to restart a nuclear power plant that can produce bomb material:

"We may have no choice but simply to draw the line at some point and say don't take the [fuel] rods out of the [storage] pond or there are some red lines here that you do not cross because in fact there will be retaliation if you do.

"Or if we are in more touch with North Koreans than I think we are, we may, without at all being patronizing, simply try to indicate how a dialog might go that might lead to some diplomatic success. There are some who feel North Koreans are looking for a formula of how you in fact get into some type of talks that might lead to at least something other than economic stall or worse for their people."

On needing Iraqi scientists to help UN weapons inspectors:

"The fact is unless there are literally persons on the ground to describe the activity and in fact where the stuff has been taken when it was reassembled, unless somebody tells you where the safe is and what is in the vials and how you produce it and so forth, once again where are you? Nowhere.

"[Chief UN weapons inspector] Hans Blix not very happily said I am not in the abduction business. Well, he shouldn't be. But he should be in the inspection business. To send people out aimlessly every day followed by reporters to find zero is not very helpful and simply builds the thought that 'Where is the beef?' There is no beef. It is all gone."

On Trent Lott's comments about Strom Thurmond's White House bid:

"The dilemma that Senator Lott has created through his remarks at Senator Thurmond's 100th birthday, he must resolve. His judgment about the election of Senator Thurmond as president was just simply wrong. Such a result would be inconceivable in terms of any good effect on the country. So the remark was politically tone-deaf and historically inaccurate.

"I think Senator Lott has a further opportunity really to set not only the record straight but really to set the future straight [about] what he hopes to do, what he believes the Republican party ought to do, what Republicans in the Senate ought to do, on questions of race, on questions of diversity, and other areas that have been conflicted in this country ...

"I understand why people have made remarks like this from time to time, but the time for it is over."

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