Q: What mistakes have you made in your political career that youíd warn a younger guy not to make?
A: You donít have enough print room.
Q: We can make room.
A: Thatís too many pages of boredom.
Q: One of my favorite books is Richard Ben Cramerís What It Takes, which suggests that a presidential campaign devours you physically and emotionally.
A: It is every bit as intense as everybody describes it. Just the physical part of it is much more demanding than people can imaginewhen you start at six in the morning and go to eleven or twelve at night and you donít stop talking. Because you go from a group of people to a car to a conference call to a telephone back to a press interviewitís pretty constant.
Q: Did you have a magic herbal concoction to keep you from getting sick?
A: Everything in the world. Yeah, we mixed up new herbal concoctions. I should go into the business nowyou know, wellness.
Q: You served honorably in Vietnam. The men with whom you served were onstage with you when you accepted your partyís nomination. So how did the Republicans paint you as an enemy of the soldier?
A: Because they spent a huge amount of money lying. And we thought the truth was sufficiently out through the free media. That was one of the mistakes. You needed to put an enormous amount of money behind the truth to counter every lie. And there wasnít sufficient . . . it wasnít sufficient.
Q: But you were there in Vietnam. You held a gun.
A: Trust me, I know. But again, everybody believed that the truth was out there. The data indicated that it was. The data was wrong. And therefore, it was a mistake. It would never happen again, if I ever did anything again, I can assure you.
Q: I canvassed friends, and what I heard most was ďPlease tell me heís not going to run again.Ē
A: You know, different people have different feelings. Some people react and say, ďOh, you lost. Why try again?Ē Well, John McCain ran and lost, and heís trying again. Ronald Reagan ran four times. Richard Nixon lost the presidency, then ran for governor, lost the governorship, and then six years later, he was president. For six months in í03, everything I read said I was dead. I felt I could win and would win, and I won the nomination. And I came within a hair of beating a wartime president with a pretty decent economy and a 50 percent approval rating. I think thatís a campaign to be proud of, not defensive about.
Q: What goes through your mind when you hear the word windsurfing?
A: Misunderstood. Thatís one word that comes to mind. Most of the people who do it are guys who canít afford the yachts that the Republicans run around in. Itís part of what the Republicans have done, to transform a serious, honorable business of politics into a kind of game of mockery, and I think itís sad for America. And I challenge anyone who makes fun of windsurfing to come out and do it with me and see how long they last.