While the current candidates for the White House are targeting Iowa after last week’s Republican National Convention, a former First Lady stopped in Mason City last night. Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter, says it’s one of her first trips back to the state since her husband ran for the Oval Office. Mrs. Carter says she visited 105 Iowa communities when campaigning for her husband and recalls staying in people’s houses as they had “no money” for hotels. Carter says hitting the campaign trail is a grueling but rewarding process, and knows what the Kerrys and Bushes are going through right now. She says the thought that goes through her mind is “Thank goodness it’s not me.” While she says it’s rough, during the campaign she says you get caught up in it and don’t want to stop.Mrs. Carter is hoping that more people go out and vote in the 2004 election since the percentage of Americans voting is lousy when compared to some of the countries that have their elections monitored by the Carter Center. She says sometimes 80-percent of the people vote. She says they stand in the rain and believe their vote makes a difference. Mrs. Carter wrote a chapter in her book about preparing for the campaign trail and has a bit of advice for politicians when they are asked questions. She says candidates have to be honest and answer questions, without going “all around the bush because they don’t want to answer it,” adding, don’t try to be something you’re not. Mrs. Carter says candidates need to be strong on the issues and not let the critics get to them. She says she learned when Jimmy was governor and president that you get all kinds of criticism — no matter what stance you take on an issue. Carter says you learn as long as what you’re doing is right for the country, you have to ignore the criticism.Mrs. Carter spoke to a crowd at North Iowa Area Community College last night as part of its Leadership Series.
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