Sen. Pat Roberts reflects on career in politics, military, journalism


Retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts shares personal insights into his 40-year career as an elected official in Washington, D.C., which was preceded by service in the U.S. Marine Corps and work as a journalist and congressional aide.

Highlights from the conversation:

  • “I have to admit that the state of politics — and going through a tough election in ‘14 — has just gotten worse with outside money. I could remember sitting there watching one of the commercials run against me back in 2014, and I looked at Franki, and she said, ‘That was awful.’ I said, ‘Yeah, if I believed that I wouldn’t vote for myself either.’ And so it’s kind of so personal, and so negative and so much outside money.”
  • “I’m one of the few in the Congress today that could say that I actually met President Eisenhower. That’s one of the first people I met that you knew he was in the room even though your back was to him. He had a very ruddy face, a brilliant smile.”
  • President Ronald Reagan called Roberts and his mother to the White House to lobby the freshman representative to vote for a tax deal: “The president absolutely charmed my mother. And I remember one exchange they had: ‘Well, if you could tell your son to come along with us, he would really help the Republican Party.’ He said, ‘I know that you have been a strong Republican because of your husband and everything else.’ And she looked at him and said, ‘Well, yes, Mr. President, but I have always been a Republican, as opposed to you.’ And he really got a belly laugh out of that.”


Sen. Pat Roberts

Tim Carpenter

Host, Kansas Reflector podcast