A Former Peace Corps Volunteer as President?
Travel Blog • Jim Benning • 01.11.07 | 8:30 PM ET
Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who announced his candidacy for the White House today, isn’t exactly a front-runner. But he is, interestingly, a former Peace Corps volunteer who served in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s. Today on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Chris Matthews, another former Peace Corps volunteer, asked Dodd about that experience.
Matthews: Do you believe you know more about the world because of your Peace Corps experience? [Snip] Do you think growing up in your early 20s, seeing this country from a Third World perspective, was helpful to you?
Dodd: Absolutely. No question about it…In fact, John Kennedy, when he sent off the first Peace Corps volunteers…said you know it’s going to be a great thing in 40 or 50 years from now there will have been a million young people in this country that will have served their nation in a foreign nation…That’s going to help us in the conduct of foreign policy with a better understanding of what’s going on. Well, there have only been 170,000 of us, Chris, that have come back as Peace Corps volunteers, but that experience was life altering and changing. You respected other people, you listened to them. It gives you a better perspective on your own country. I came back with a deeper appreciation of what the United States was and what it could do as a result of that experience.
Matthews: And you understood after you came back that other countries are just as jealous of intervention and just as nationalistic as we are.
Dodd: And just as hopeful for the future—about their families and kids and the kind of world they’d like to create for them.
Matthews: I guess I agree with you on that last point. That’s why I fed it to you. (Laughs.) But the President doesn’t have that kind of background.
Dodd: I don’t think so.
Matthews, for his part, has said his experience in the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Swaziland changed his life.