This is another in a series of occasional articles on what the Democratic and Republican contenders for president are saying on the stump. Who am I?

"There is nothing very complicated about Bob Dole. I come from a little town in Kansas; 6,500 people. I am one of four children. The only one who got to complete a college education.

"My mother and father both worked for a living. My mother sold sewing machines and gave sewing lessons. My father ran a cream and egg station, and later a grain elevator.

"We don't come from a family of any wealth at all. In fact, one of the hardest things for me to do while I was county attorney of Russell {Kan.} was to approve welfare claims every month; and two of those claims were from my grandparents.

"And like many others, I went off to World War II. And like others, I was at the right place at the wrong time, on April 14, 1945. I got to spend about 39 months in a hospital.

"And I just say that all that experience, I guess, personal experience, nothing very heady about it, has made me a very strong person. And a very sensitive person when it comes to the handicapped and other vulnerable groups in America who haven't had it their way all the time.

"There is something about a recovery or a rehabilitation that I think makes you stronger. You get frustrated, you get mad sometimes, then you learn how to have a little patience. And you learn that other people have real problems. Yours may not be very much, but other people have real problems." Voting Record

"My record is there. You can study it. I think I voted 15- or 20-thousand times in the last 27 years, but it is there. And again, I'm not perfect. I'll bet I've cast some votes that not everyone here would like. I've even cast a few that I'd like to get back . . . . I think the record reflects my conservatism. I believe the record reflects my common sense. I hope the record also reflects my experience, leadership and my strength. Because I am very proud to be an American." Budget Deficit

"I've been saying everywhere I go that the biggest single problem in America is the federal deficit . . . . And I would guess that the Democrats will be asking us in 1988: 'What happened for the past seven years when we had a Republican in control and a conservative Republican in the White House, when the debt went from less than $1 trillion to $3 trillion?' Well, I can answer that. Because many of the seeds of this debt were sown long before Ronald Reagan ever arrived in Washington, D.C., and they came to full bloom once he got there.

"And maybe there were some things -- maybe we went a little too far on the tax cut of 1981. Maybe a little too far on the defense spending in those early years. Maybe -- I'm not certain about that.

"But the fact is that we have a problem. And somebody has to deal with it. And there aren't any easy choices. Don't be fooled by those who say: 'We're going to grow out of it.' We're not. We've got to make some tough decisions. We're going to have to cut some spending in America. And it's not going to be easy . . . . And what I'm saying is this: If you don't want to make the hard choices, then I'm probably not the candidate." Proud Moment

"I give the example of one hard choice -- I think it's a good one. On May 10, 1985, in a Republican-controlled Senate, at 2 in the morning, by a 50-to-49 vote, the Republican majority with the help of only one Democrat terminated 14 federal programs, froze every cost-of-living adjustment in the books. We didn't cut any benefits, and we did it by one vote. That one vote came from Sen. Pete Wilson, who was in the hospital. He had had an appendectomy that morning. At least he said he'd had an appendectomy that morning. I remember rolling him into the Senate floor at 2 in the morning. He was under heavy sedation. I said, 'vote yes.' He voted 'yes,' and we rolled him out again, and we won by one vote. One vote! And for once the Republicans in the Senate demonstrated to the American people, all those cynics out there, who are justifiably cynical about the Congress, that we were capable of making a difficult choice. It didn't last long, because the White House pulled the plug. But we made the tough choices. And I think it can be done." On Trade

"Do we want to build a wall around America? And tell everybody else, 'Keep out?' 'Don't send us your products, even when you're competitive?' I don't think so, but a guy named {Rep. Richard A.} Gephardt does. And he's a bright young man . . . but he's got the wrong philosophy. If some other country is making something that is competitive, they ought to be able to get it into this country . . . . If we're not competitive, we shouldn't blame someone else.

"But if we are competitive, then we ought to have the right to get into those markets. We're not going to pass the Gephardt amendment in the Senate. We're going to pass a tough trade bill. We're going to give the president more authority." Presidential Authority

"I deeply fear that we are moving in the direction, politically, of tying the hands of the president . . . . Legitimate concern about breaking the law, misdeeds, excesses -- and the Iran-contra mess is certainly an example of all these -- is not only warranted, but necessary. Legitimate exercises of congressional power are not only warranted, but necessary. But let us remember that we need a strong president." On Isolationism

"We are an insular people by historical predisposition and natural inclination. Somewhere in the pantheon of instructive American slogans must be an honored place for the one that says: 'You mind your business, and I'll mind mine.' We like to think of minding our own business as a virtue. Like other virtues, it isn't practiced much, but it's there in the grain anyway.

"And it touches on our role as a power among nations. We have never liked that role. In the past 25 years, most -- not all, but most -- of our difficulties have come from those foreign entanglements President Washington warned us against. Yet we could not find a more dangerous time than the present to kneel to the temptations of isolationism. Nothing could be more irresponsible than to feed the false hope that we can lock our doors and close our minds to the world." On Gorbachev

"{Mikhail} Gorbachev is a phenomenon -- the first truly modern Soviet leader. We cannot underestimate him or his impact. In the long run, he is more dangerous and threatening to our country and our ideals than all the brashness and bluster of a Khrushchev; all the stolid determination of a Brezhnev. We have to understand, and to convince the world that, at bottom, he is selling the same worn-out solutions." On the Strategic Defense Initiative

"The progress we seem to be making on INF {intermediate nuclear forces} should prove, even to the skeptical, that SDI is not a stumbling block to arms control. And it should be more evident, to the thoughtful, that the continued vigorous pursuit of SDI is vital -- vital to the prospects for a good strategic arms control agreement, vital to the security of America in the 1990s and beyond . . . . We can't just give it away, or bargain it away, or legislate it away . . . . There is no higher priority than preserving the promise, and the prospect, of SDI." On Nicaragua

"Those of us in this hemisphere who cherish our own freedom, and want to see freedom for all -- we cannot relent in our struggle until the people of Nicaragua have a fair shot at freedom. And that's why -- despite odds which, candidly, are against us right now -- I intend to persist in my efforts to win congressional approval for continued aid of the freedom fighters." On Farm Policy

"There have been signs lately that the farm crisis may finally be abating. It's abating in large part because of a farm bill passed in 1985, signed by Ronald Reagan, passed in a Republican administration, criticized by almost everyone at the time -- not almost everyone, but a lot of people -- and now beginning to pay off . . . . If you're not a farmer, keep in mind you have the best food bargain in the world. Less than 10 percent of your disposable income goes for food, and that's down from 17 percent a decade ago. That's because of the farmer's efficiency and the farmer's productivity. And, oh yes, it's a costly farm program. And the farmer gets a check. It's called a subsidy by some. But indirectly, the American consumer gets a subsidy because of these very low prices . . . ." Sum Up

"The wonderful, but awesome thing about America is that it all depends on us, on 'We the people.' On the decisions we make, the examples we set, and the practical, far-reaching leadership we provide in the years ahead. That means electing men and women like those brilliantly practical bands of patriots that met in Philadelphia two centuries ago. Between them, they wrote an inspiring first chapter in the story of America. But the beauty and the challenge of the American story is that it's a never-ending one. Its greatest passages may be written in the century ahead -- opportunity for all, a world free and at peace . . . an end to the nuclear nightmare, and yet undreamt breakthroughs in health, education and the environment. It's up to us to write them."


Senate minority leader, 63, Russell, Kan. Served four terms in the House, is serving fourth term in the Senate. Married to Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole.