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Former "Today" host Jane Pauley, left, fires up Harrison County Democrats Saturday afternoon at the party's headquarters in Corydon. (Photos by Chris Adams)

Jane Pauley 'worried,' 'sorrowful' for country


October 08, 2008
Television journalist and news anchor Jane Pauley, touring the state with former Indiana First Lady Judy O'Bannon, made a stop at a Democrat rally in Corydon Saturday afternoon, pledging support for presidential candidate Barack Obama and encouraging those present to "knock on doors" in an effort to get more people to the polls in November.

"I've worked on a lot of campaigns with many of you here," O'Bannon told the crowd at the event, held at the Harrison County Democrat Headquarters on Chestnut Street. "This election is about all of us. There are so many issues of such grave concern, we need to pay attention. Here, we've always had community involvement. We don't want to lose that.

"If you're laid off, and your unemployment has ended, that's a problem. And look at this war, another big problem. People are sobering up. This country has to be put back on the right track, and we have to figure out how to do it together."

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Dustin Collins, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's area organizer, listens intently to Pauley, who is from Indiana.
O'Bannon went on to say that pollution from coal-fired power plants to the west "knows no county boundary" and added that "this is a life and death issue for our planet."

"People are saying nothing," she said. "Or else they're saying, 'I will act on it when it's convenient.' That's just not good enough."

O'Bannon also talked about what a lot of people are focusing on during this campaign.

"Who cares what kind of glasses Sarah Palin wears?" O'Bannon said. "I'm telling you, talk about the real issues, the ones that matter."

As O'Bannon introduced her, Pauley walked to the center of the room and without notes began speaking of the need for change.

"Way, way back, when I was young, I addressed an envelope to this address," Pauley, 58, began. "My first job was working for the Indiana Democratic Central Committee. I was paid $50 a week. My dad, did I mention my dad was a Republican? Did I mention my mom was a Republican, also? She must have been upset when I used her car to go to work for a Democrat."

After Pauley, who was born in Indianapolis, left the job working for the Democrat Party, she worked at WISH-TV as a weekend news person in her hometown. Four years later, she was appointed as the first woman to anchor the evening news at WMAQ-TV in Chicago. Then, in 1976, she was chosen to succeed Barbara Walters as Tom Brokaw's co-host on NBC's "Today." Pauley immediately became popular with female baby-boomers and spent the next 13 years co-hosting the show.

After leaving the show in 1990, Pauley served as deputy anchor for "NBC Nightly News" and hosted a TV program called "Real Life with Jane Pauley." From 1992 to 2003, she co-hosted NBC's "Dateline." Then, in 2004, she returned to television as host of "The Jane Pauley Show." She is married to cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and they have three children: twins Ross and Rachel, born in 1983, and Thomas, born in 1986.

"I am worried and sorrowful for what has happened to our country," Pauley told the crowd. "I grew up in a small community. A lot of people like my dad worked at Allison and other factories. We were middle class. Back then, $8,000 could buy you a small house, and those communities were a safe place to grow up. All of that has been squandered.

"Wall Street, as we know it, is gone. And the pain from Wall Street will be felt on Main Street. When the stock market crashed years ago, my father was wiped out. The effect of the crash was felt immediately. My dad associated the Republicans with 'minding the budget' and 'minding the store.' But somehow, those Republicans have been pushed aside and we now have a new bunch of Republicans who have tried to convince us that if we regulate Wall Street, banks and insurance companies, or use any oversight whatsoever, business will stop. But it's the lack of regulation — the lack of oversight by the Bush Administration — that has us in this mess."

Pauley said she blamed much of the home-foreclosure problems on companies who were too quick to offer loans to those who could never afford them.

"I saw this coming," she said. "We all saw the signs — 'no credit — no problem' — it was like they were having a money sale. Lenders wanted to throw money at people who were in over their heads. And the Republicans are still saying, 'Don't regulate, big business will monitor itself, we don't need oversight.' Imagine having a teenager and asking him if he'd like to sign up for volunteer parental supervision. No one is minding the store. And the moral of this story is — everyone lost, and everyone will pay."

Pauley added that when President Bill Clinton left office, there was a budget surplus, but now, she said, there's a surmountable debt and that debt is held by foreign countries.

"We've helped pay for the Chinese space program," Pauley said. "And the Republicans will trust the people who broke our economy to fix it. We need a strong national economy, which will ensure a strong national defense. Your pensions are being threatened, your Social Security is being threatened, insurance is so expensive, and unreliable. Something needs to change."

Pauley went on to talk about how Republican presidential nominee John McCain calls himself a maverick.

"I remember the old TV show 'Maverick'," Pauley said. "Maverick was a gambler and only flim-flammed those who deserved it.

"But we all know that 'team' and 'maverick' are two words that don't go together. And a maverick is not a leader."

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