BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Shelley Moore Capito, if you were in a college class right now and you wanted to tell the students two or three things about Congress that they may not know just by reading the news, what would you tell them?
U.S. REP. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R), WEST VIRGINIA: One thing I would tell them is that it‘s not always as contentious as it appears. I think the perception on TV and the perception in a lot of people‘s minds that the partisanship is at such a pitch -- and it is, that nothing ever gets done on a bipartisan basis and we don‘t work together, because I don‘t think that‘s true.
We form all different types of coalitions, regional, state, women, all those things. So that‘s one thing I think that‘s a misconception out there. The other thing is that we‘re all in it for ourselves. I don‘t believe that‘s true.
Certainly there are some people that are, that were, you know, kind of egomaniacs out there just trying to press for ourselves. I think the vast majority -- and I found this when I was in the state house too, because I was sort of under that misconception before I went, the vast majority of us are in it for the right reasons, to help the people that we live -- our friends and neighbors in the states that which we live, in our nation.
The other thing I think would be that we had a lot caretaking that goes on for us personally. I mean, when I go to a class of younger people, they always want to know, do you ride around in a limousine? Do you have security? You know, we live pretty regular lives. We‘re just regular people.
And I would say those are three things that I think some people might not attach to a member of Congress that really is, we‘re just regular old folk trying to do what we think is best.
LAMB: How did someone in the state of West Virginia who is a Republican where everybody else is a Democrat in all the main congressional seats, in the Senate and the governor and all that stuff, get elected?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, a lot of hard work, I will say that. Good timing, and I‘ll talk a little bit about -- I was in the state house for four years, in the West Virginia state house, representing my home county as a Republican.
LAMB: What county was that?
MOORE CAPITO: Kanawha County, and I live in Charleston, West Virginia, which is the capital. I also was born and raised in a family that was very prominent. My father, Arch Moore, was a former congressman for 12 years, former governor for 12 years, and probably the most prominent Republican in the last half century in the state, which, you know, how many are there?
So -- but he was. And so I was accustomed to the rough and tumble of the political world, although I hadn‘t been really a part of it. It is different when you get in it for yourself. And I decided once I ran for the House of Delegates and was successful twice, our incumbent House of Representatives member, Bob Wise, ran for governor and it was an open seat. And I thought, if I really want to take my level of service to a higher place and more effectiveness, I could try this.
So what I did was I just basically raised enough money to afford a campaign. I ran against a guy that was very well-funded. I actually ran against him twice. I hit the grassroots hard. I didn‘t take anything for granted. I spent probably the first year hitting all the grassroot kinds of things. And then when we went for our media, which was really only the last two months and a week, we tried to be very succinct with our money and with a good message. And I think I had a good message.
The president took West Virginia in the year 2000, obviously time for a change in West Virginia. It was a conglomeration of hard work, good timing, and a lot of folks helping me.
LAMB: Third term.
MOORE CAPITO: Right. I can‘t believe it.
MOORE CAPITO: It goes so fast. I mean, honestly, I can remember saying to myself, I can‘t -- I don‘t know if I can last five years, because the pace was just so intense, 2001, my first year.
LAMB: Sixty-nine women in the House, at least that‘s the last count I saw. Is it -- I mean, you‘re in the minority in the House, when it comes to women. You‘re in the majority when it comes to the party. What‘s the difference? Do you notice a difference between being a woman and a man in the House?
MOORE CAPITO: I think there is a difference. I think we need more women because of a couple of reasons. I jokingly say that women can do twice as much in half the time. Why? Because we‘re worried about doing the laundry, making the dinner, making sure the kids are home, you know, and happy. All the other -- you know, we multitask, I think, a lot better, probably in every job, but in this one as well.
And that‘s frustrating, I think, for me as a woman who wants to -- we want to see results. We‘re sort of -- I mean, I don‘t want to generalize here, but I feel that we‘re more -- we‘re results oriented. And I think it‘s different being a woman because it is basically still a man‘s world. But you know, you don‘t think of that in context.
To enter conversations on the floor of the House with a man or a woman, it just doesn‘t even dawn on me, oh, I‘m talking to another woman or I‘m talking to a man. It‘s -- and so, you know, as long as you don‘t focus on it, you just kind of keep your head down and do your business.
It isn‘t really any kind of gender bias that I find. I think it‘s hard work for everybody.
LAMB: Did you find anything in your polling, when you ran originally, about gender bias?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, I kind of thought about that because West Virginia hasn‘t really had a lot of prominent women. We had about 20 percent in our House of Delegates when I was there. We‘ve never had a woman governor. And so I sort of -- I thought, well, maybe that would be a stumbling block for me.
But what I did find was, number one, it wasn‘t a stumbling block. Number two, in traveling around, mayors, county commissioners, school board members, a lot of women are serving on the local level in elected positions. And I‘ve always kind of jokingly said, well, I don‘t anything different so I‘m running as a woman because that‘s just kind of what I am.
LAMB: Majored in zoology at Duke University.
MOORE CAPITO: Yes. Yes.
LAMB: What is zoology and why did you go there?
MOORE CAPITO: Zoology was considered the pre-med major. It was a biology major at Duke at the time. I loved my four years at Duke. And really considered very seriously wanting to become a doctor. So I was a pre-med major in zoology.
I jokingly say now that it prepared me well for work in the largest zoo in America, Washington, D.C. Always gets a good laugh on the Lincoln Day Dinners. But what I did was I worked in a hospital before my senior year in college and realized two things: people in pain and the sight of blood, I had trouble coping with that. And if you want to be a physician, plus the dedicated service of physicians, I wasn‘t sure I was up to the task. So I kind of changed position.
LAMB: When did you change?
MOORE CAPITO: Right before my senior year in college. I went back then and completed my major, completed all the pre-med requirements and decided then to try to go to graduate school to work in higher ed.
And that‘s what I did, I went to the University of Virginia and got my master‘s in counseling in a higher ed. setting. Went back to West Virginia, worked at what was then West Virginia State College, which is now West Virginia State University. And worked in that for probably six years and then during that time married, children, and was a stay-at-home mom for about 16 years before I ran for the House of Delegates.
LAMB: Charles Capito, your husband, does what?
MOORE CAPITO: Yes. My husband has worked for Smith Barney his entire life. So that would be like 29 years. He is a native West Virginian, born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. We met on a blind date and at that point my father was the governor of West Virginia. So it -- we got to carry out our courtship at the governor‘s mansion, which is kind of fun.
And we married very young. We were both 22 at the time. I say very young now, I didn‘t think it was at the time, but since I now have children that age, very young. And he has been in the investment business his entire life. He‘s the manager, vice president, and has done very, very well in that field.
LAMB: What are your rules between the two of you about what he will and will not do in politics?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, that‘s funny because it has sort of changed since my job has changed. He goes with me a lot of places. There are some places that he just doesn‘t go, not because he doesn‘t want to be there, but it‘s exhausting for him. He has a job. And a lot of times he was keeping the home fires burning while I was out on the campaign trail.
He will pretty much do whatever I ask, but you know, interesting that you would ask that question, because in the investment business there is a lot of handcuffs on what members of the financial community and how they can contribute and where they can go. And we‘ve run into a stumbling block because if we go to a Lincoln Day Dinner where he cannot vote -- in the county where he cannot vote, he has some legal issues of who can pay for his dinner and who can‘t and all this kind of stuff.
So it‘s -- yes, it has kind of gotten a little sticky.
LAMB: Now you named your three kids -- there‘s a lot relationship to…
MOORE CAPITO: Crossover.
LAMB: … your family. Charles.
MOORE CAPITO: Right, that‘s our oldest.
MOORE CAPITO: Moore.
LAMB: And Shelley.
MOORE CAPITO: Yes.
LAMB: Tell us how that happened.
MOORE CAPITO: OK. Well, my husband is Charles Capito Jr. And our firstborn was a son and we named him Charles Capito III. And we call him Charles. He is now a law student. And that was easy because I call my husband Charlie and our son Charles.
Our second son was born less than two years later. And his full name is actually Arch Alfred Moore Capito. Named him for my father. Gave him the full name. And I had trouble calling a little boy Arch, so we went with Moore. And it‘s a great name. He has graduated from college as well and is working up here on the Hill.
And I am Shelley. My mother is Shelley. And we were blessed with our daughter three years later, we named our daughter Shelley, and she‘s actually Shelley XIII.
LAMB: The thirteenth of what? Where -- in that family.
MOORE CAPITO: Yes. Strong tradition in my mother‘s family of carrying the name Shelley.
LAMB: What does it mean?
MOORE CAPITO: I don‘t know. It was originally a last name. And then it became the male name. Edward Shelley Wellens (ph) was the -- my mother‘s, I believe, grandfather. Yes, he was my mother‘s grandfather. And then my name was Shelley Wellens (ph) Moore. My mother‘s name was Shelley Riley (ph). And now I have my own Shelley.
So to distinguish that, rather than being "Big Shelley" or something like that, we developed a nickname for our daughter. We call her "Baba (ph)" around the house, a lot of her friends call her that.
But people think it‘s confusing on the phone, but you can usually tell who‘s calling for who.
LAMB: What do you think of you being in politics?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, I think they‘re really proud of me. I mean, honestly, there was a lot of trepidation in the beginning, particularly with our daughter being the youngest. I can remember a car ride into dropping her off at junior high school when this sort of began, the talk that, you know, I‘m going to run for Congress.
And she said to me in the car, she said, I don‘t want you to do that because I don‘t want you to leave me. And you didn‘t leave your brothers -- you know, that‘s always a good one for parents, you didn‘t leave my brothers, and I didn‘t really want you -- I don‘t want you to do this. Because I want you to be here for me at school -- when I‘m in school.
And so I said, listen, do me a favor, think about it for about a month, and then we‘ll talk again, because if you really don‘t want me to this, I‘m not going to do it. I didn‘t -- I‘m not raising children here to all of the sudden jump off at the end.
And she thought about it for a month and then the buzz got bigger, you know, her teachers were asking her about it, and friends, and friends‘ parents. Is your mom really going to do it? Wow, that would be really neat if your mom was in Congress.
And she -- honestly, she came to me about a month later. We talked about it. And she said, I think you ought to do it. So once I got over that kind of emotional hurdle, the boys were fine with it. It was less influential in their lives because by the time I was elected, older son in college, next son senior in high school.
But she was still in ninth grade. Then I can remember sort of a marquee moment of probably about a year later running again for a difficult race, walking down the street with her one day and sort of preparing her for I‘m not going to be around much because I‘ve got to go do a lot of things on the weekend, and I hope you understand. And she just turned and looked at me in one of those moments that parents remember, and she said, I‘m so proud of you, mom, quit apologizing. But if you feel like you need to keep saying you‘re sorry, go ahead.
And that sort of freed me then to realize that I‘m giving them an opportunity through this work that very few children have. And you know, I thought about it too. My dad did the very same thing to us. And if I thought it was that bad, would I really have been doing it?
So the kids have been -- they‘ve had some great opportunities because of it. They‘ve gotten to meet the president. They‘ve gotten -- we attended the Reagan funeral, some real historic moments in their lives.
LAMB: What about your father‘s father?
MOORE CAPITO: My dad‘s dad was Arch Moore, born and raised in West Virginia. And he was -- had a variety of jobs. I think he was a night watchman and he worked, you know, here and there. I think he had little rough spots in the depression. But you know, great, very, very quite man.
LAMB: Who was the first public official in the family?
MOORE CAPITO: It was my dad‘s uncle, Everett Moore, who was my grandfather‘s brother, was a very prominent lawyer in town, in Moundsville, West Virginia. And he also served in the state legislature. I think he was a great inspiration to my father to move to a life of public service.
LAMB: So the 16 years you were a homemaker housewife...
MOORE CAPITO: Right.
LAMB: … were you politically active?
MOORE CAPITO: Always interested, would contribute and work for candidates, worked in the my father‘s campaign in ‘84 when he rather for governor, fairly actively. And then -- but never, never lobbying or never took up an issues that really, you know, drove me into this to think -- you know, sometimes I think people are issue-driven into politics.
It was more of a knowing that I could make a contribution and being familiar with how you have to go out and campaign and work. And I had good connections because I knew a lot Republicans, active Republicans.
LAMB: How long have you been known in West Virginia as Shelley Moore Capito?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, that was kind of a conscious decision, interesting you would ask that. Basically after I married I was -- well, I was always -- I have always been Shelley Moore Capito, but usually introducing -- in introductions, you know, Shelley Capito. It‘s hard enough to get the Capito.
And so when I ran in 1996, I decided to go ahead and move my name up to the three, you know, for a lot different reasons. Obviously I thought it would help me. Some people would argue that it might hurt me. But -- and so, it‘s a mouthful, but I carry it. Shelley Moore Capito, and when I introduce myself, I always introduce myself as Shelley Moore Capito.
LAMB: Well, let me get the tough question out of the way. Your dad went to prison.
MOORE CAPITO: Yes. Yes.
LAMB: And you still won.
MOORE CAPITO: Yes.
LAMB: And you still use the name. I‘ve read several things. You can‘t -- actually, you can‘t get a clear picture when you try to find out the story, the reason I ask you about this, is it -- I read somewhere he still maintains he is innocent, but I also read that he had pled guilty at some point. Tell us as much about that story as you want and how did you get through that?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, it was a very difficult time, as you can imagine, for our entire family. Probably began in 1990, I think, when the -- you know, the indictment came. And it was honestly a blur now. I look back on it, our children, I was more concerned with how was I going to explain this to my children.
I had my own personal hurt and difficulty. Never one time did anybody in our immediate family, I have a brother and sister and my mom, of course, did we ever consider turning our back or not defending my dad.
And I still feel -- have, you know, very strong feelings that if you don‘t have your family at the end of the day, you really don‘t have anything. And so when we went through this and my dad was gone, it was really hard. But just kind of persevered and did the day-to-day chores. My mom was just a champ through the whole thing. I don‘t know how she kept her chin up really, because it was more difficult for her and my dad.
In terms of the details of the case, I‘ve really kind of steered away from what -- my personal opinions on what has happened. I think, you know, he has paid his dues. He has moved on very well with his life. And we have a very full and rich, rich family life.
LAMB: We took this picture off your Web site of your dad and your mom. We know him here at -- not personally at C-SPAN, but we covered a lot of him when he was governor of West Virginia, since he had been in business. Where are these two today?
MOORE CAPITO: My parents are both living and doing very, very well. They live in Glen Dale, West Virginia, which is the home where we were raised, which is just down from Moundsville, where my dad was raised.
Very active football fans of Washington -- or West Virginia University. And we were there at the World War II Memorial, that came last May. And I was kind of on edge whether I could get down there. I thought, well, you need to do this, but I‘m not sure I can be there with you.
And it was so moving. My dad was severely wounded in World War II in Germany, shot, really, right through the mouth, and was a war hero, and came back and made such a contribution with his life after that.
And when we were walking around that day, young people were coming up to us, obviously they could tell by his age that he was around the same age as a veteran, and asked him what did he do, thank you.
And so I would recommend to anybody in my generation who has a parent of their generation, take your -- go there, because it really is an indescribable feeling to know -- to recall the sacrifice that he made when he was 18 or 19.
And my mother‘s brother was -- served in the Pacific. So she had a long history with that too. They‘re doing very well. And every day I‘m in West Virginia I get somebody who tells me something great he did for them.
LAMB: He was born in 1923, which makes him, what, 80…
MOORE CAPITO: Eighty-two.
LAMB: Go back to the incarceration, how did you deal with that in your first campaign, and did it come up very often?
MOORE CAPITO: It came up.
LAMB: Did your opponent go after you for that?
MOORE CAPITO: My opponent really didn‘t go after me so much as some of the newspapers would try to, I guess, besmirch me because of that. Basically my feeling is sort of what I said earlier. He‘s my father and I love him and my relationship with him is going to continue through thick and thin.
Does he politically advise me? Absolutely. He politically advises every single person who‘s holding office in West Virginia right now. I mean, whether they admit it or not, they‘ve called. He has an incredible understanding of the political landscape of West Virginia.
LAMB: Well, but you know, and looking around the nation when there is scandal and these problems, people -- I think you can make the quick observation, people forgive people who went through what your father did fairly easily in this country.
I wonder why you think they do?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, you know what I learned through that whole thing too, and it‘s a lesson I actually told my son last night in the car, when people go through really difficult public embarrassment or legal issues, what you have to remember at the heart of it is there‘s a person there. There‘s a person with a family.
And what I found was, and we found, is people of my parents‘ age were so great to us. They might not have agreed with what had gone on. They might have thought my dad got everything he ever deserved. But what they really told me in conversation was, we care about you.
And so I told my son last night, I said, when people are going through difficult times, you don‘t necessarily have to agree with what‘s going on, but if you even feel that you care about that person, make sure you tell him.
So I think the generations just understand that things go wrong in people‘s families and nobody is immune to it. And the older you get the more you realize it, and the more you have empathy for the person going through it, and the more you forgive them when they‘re done.
And so I think that‘s why people can get over it. Some people never do.
LAMB: So you came here in 2001, first time you‘re a member of Congress, and did you go on the Rules Committee right away?
MOORE CAPITO: No, no. I started out on Financial Services and Transportation and Small Business, and really enjoyed that. Great time to be on Financial Services, you know, we had not only 9/11, but we had Enron and all of the corporate scandals. So it was a very educational part of service on that committee. And then last year I just moved to the rules committee, actually at the beginning of this year.
LAMB: What can you tell us about how you got on, how does that work? How did you transfer? Why did you transfer? And who did you talk to to get on the Rules Committee? Who made that decision?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, it‘s a speaker-appointed committee. And quite honestly, there were probably -- there is only nine Republicans on the committee. So I think four people were moving off the committee. And you know, they were looking for people to fill.
I hadn‘t really asked, you know, put me on the Rules Committee. Like every member of Congress, you‘re wanting to not -- I shouldn‘t generalize, but looking for where you can -- what committee you can be on that can really influence your district.
You know, sure I was looking at Appropriations Committee, that would be great to be on that committee. And I felt like I would like to maybe make a contribution there. It didn‘t look like that was going to happen. And I got a phone call from David Dreier right around Thanksgiving. And he said, I want you to be on the Rules Committee. He‘s, of course, the chairman of the Rules Committee.
It kind of blindsided me. I had a couple of questions. Then the speaker called. And then I talked to my former committee chairs, what would be my former committee chairs, Don Young, and Mike Oxley, and Manzullo, and said, you know, what do you think?
And basically decided that we control agenda, I‘m very well-informed on everything that comes through. It‘s a very powerful committee. And I think it really has been a very interesting several months that I‘ve been on it. So I was chosen basically by the speaker to go onto that committee.
LAMB: In 2000 and 2002 and 2004, what margin did you win by?
MOORE CAPITO: In 2000 I won by 2 percent. I actually got less than 50 percent of the vote. We had a third party Libertarian candidate. 2002 I won by 20. And then 2004 I won by 17.
LAMB: How much money in each of those campaigns did you have to raise?
MOORE CAPITO: Too much. In 2000 I probably raised I think about $1.4 million. And honestly if somebody has told me that in 1999 when I started thinking about it, this is what you have to do, I would have said, you‘re nuts, I can‘t do that.
2002 we raised probably $2.5 million, and spent it. And 2004 we probably raised about $1.4 million, we didn‘t spend all of it. But more than I would have liked. We were well-funded.
LAMB: Will you excuse the expression if I say that when you look at the 2nd District of West Virginia, it looks like a salamander?
MOORE CAPITO: Yes, it does, yes.
LAMB: Your father won three times for governor. And I had read somewhere that -- and correct me if I‘m wrong, that Jay Rockefeller, who‘s the senator from the state, helped fund the campaign by somebody against your father. And I don‘t remember who it was.
I mean, how does West Virginia accept somebody from outside like Jay Rockefeller? And I guess what do they think of politicians in the state at this point? I mean, do you have any sense of -- because the overall approval rating for politicians is pretty low.
MOORE CAPITO: Well, I think it‘s varied. I guess it depends on who you talk to. I think West Virginia is known for our rough and tumble kind of politics. I mean, it‘s personal. West Virginia is very connected. I mean we know a lot about each other and a lot about each other‘s families. And you‘re always running into somebody that you know here, there and everywhere. That‘s the beauty of this state, really it is.
And so I think it‘s probably all over the board. But I just can‘t think that West Virginians by and large besmirch their political leaders. We have a good set of political leaders now. And you know, I feel that if you just try to serve honorably and with integrity, you‘re going to earn their respect.
LAMB: If you could change anything about the job of congressperson, what would you do?
MOORE CAPITO: Boy. Gosh, if you could slow things down, I would love that. You know, we‘re in this compressed schedule where we come in Tuesdays and leave on Thursdays and Fridays. And I think that on those days that we‘re here we‘re just jam-packed with things to do and people to see.
It doesn‘t leave you the time for the quiet reflection of reading through the energy bill or at least reading the clips of the energy bill. I think that would be one thing. A lot of people say, why do you have to run every two years? And you know, I‘m not sure that‘s a question that in the next -- I don‘t think it‘s going to be now, but in the next 50 years we don‘t look at again.
Because our election cycles are now just one right up against the other. And when it was originally conceived in the 1700s people were campaigning for four weeks on horseback and then off to their regular jobs. So I guess that would be a couple of suggestions.
LAMB: What‘s the best thing about being a congressperson?
MOORE CAPITO: The best thing about being a congressperson was yesterday, reading -- I was out in my district -- this is going to sound so corny. This is probably not the best, but it‘s great, sitting down with a bunch of third graders, and the teacher says, she works in Washington, D.C., for West Virginia. She‘s your congresswoman. And their eyes go, whoa!
You know, just the feeling a little girl in that audience reading is going to think, gosh, that‘s something I might want to do. And to be able to influence your state that way, that really is -- that‘s a great thing.
LAMB: Do you have to call people up yourself and say, send me some money?
MOORE CAPITO: I do, but not as much as people want me to. I mean, that was a shocker when I first started. Well, we‘re going to raise $100,000. Oh, that‘s fine. You know, I was used to my dad‘s campaign. You get a committee and the committee goes out and raises $100,000.
Well, now there‘s a lot more personal involvement by the candidate. I do it. I don‘t do it probably to the extent that a lot of other people do. I‘m able to raise the money, but I kind of do it my own way.
LAMB: What do you tell people when cold call somebody, and Congressman Capito is on the phone, hello, Tom.
MOORE CAPITO: You know, I really -- I don‘t think I‘ve ever cold-called somebody that I‘ve never met. I‘ll usually try to go see him first, develop some sort of a relationship, tell them why I want to run, and then maybe circle back with a phone call.
I don‘t think I‘ve ever picked up a phone and asked somebody for money as somebody I‘ve never met before.
LAMB: You know the stories your hear around town, is somebody goes to meet a congressperson and they leave the office and by the time they‘re in the car, their cell phone rings and somebody, how about $1,000 for my candidate, how about $1,000 for the congressperson? They‘re on XYZ committees.
Has that ever happened in your office?
MOORE CAPITO: I would hope it doesn‘t happen because it sounds -- but, we raise a lot of money, we raise a lot of money in Washington, D.C. But it‘s not normally under that -- those kinds of circumstances, it‘s usually, you know, a meet and greet or an organization will get together, you know, oil and gas folks are interested. And they will pull in some of their interested people. And we will have a dinner and talk issues and it results in campaign contributions. The dinner, I mean, we all know why we‘re there, it‘s to raise money.
You know, that‘s, I think, a way a lot of people raise money in D.C.
LAMB: West Virginia has how many people in it?
MOORE CAPITO: One-point-eight million.
LAMB: One of the statistics that I found was that only 3 percent of the state, or at least your district, are African-American. I think the whole state is low.
MOORE CAPITO: That‘s correct.
LAMB: And that economically deprived people, there‘s a much -- I mean, it‘s a higher percentage than it is nationwide.
MOORE CAPITO: That‘s correct. Yes.
LAMB: Describe the state, and would this be a state where you would say there are lot of white people in the state who are economically deprived and it wouldn‘t -- you know we always hear about the…
MOORE CAPITO: Right.
LAMB: … other minorities?
MOORE CAPITO: We do. We don‘t have much diversity in our population. We don‘t have much Hispanic population. We do in certain pockets. Most of the African-American population is centered in Charleston, you know, the more urban areas, and then some into the coal fields.
We don‘t -- we have a lot of older people. That‘s another one of the statistics about West Virginia, we‘re one of the oldest states in the Union. And I think that is because we haven‘t been able to develop our economics enough to draw our young people in and have them stay in the state, which is a great motivation for doing my job, to try to keep those young people.
I think West Virginia has tremendous challenges. We‘ve been a resource-based economy. We‘ve had basically politically the same type of leadership with a couple of exceptions throughout 70 or 80 years. There‘s a great reluctance to change. And what I mean by that is, if I can be political for a minute, pretty much domination by the Democrat Party. And that‘s changing.
So I think we‘re changing in a lot of ways. Our diversity, I don‘t know how you change that. I mean, you‘ve got to have job opportunities and reasons for people to come to your state.
LAMB: Well, the national average of citizens that have college degrees is 25 percent. And the average in West Virginia, depending of which chart you look at, is either 14 or 16 percent. Significantly fewer people have a college degree, why would that be?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, we‘ve just -- I think historically we probably have not put the emphasis there either through our families or through our policies. We‘re trying to change that. I think it is coming up. We have great universities and private schools in West Virginia.
We‘re developing more of a community college system. We‘re developing programs where in high school the colleges will go to seniors and offer -- seniors in high school, offer college credit courses. I think that‘s a great way to sort of draw the non-traditional younger college student in who maybe might be the first person in their family.
We have all kinds of good intentions of making that improvement. I don‘t think that‘s a statistic we‘re particularly proud of. But we‘re all working hard to do that. You know, affordability is a question. How do you afford to go? And we have state scholarship, the Promise Scholarship that was put into effect probably three or four years ago, hoping to kind of stem that tide.
LAMB: We took some photos off your Web site. And just to show the kind of folks that you end up having pictures taken with. And we‘ll put some up on the screen.
MOORE CAPITO: OK.
LAMB: And you‘ll get a chance to see it. And I want to ask you, what -- you know, for instance, where is that group, do you happen to remember it?
MOORE CAPITO: Yes. That‘s the Roane County seniors that came over in a bus. And I have town meetings from time to time. I had been over to the senior center. And so I knew several of them. That is a "Rosie the Riveter."
We had a thing -- Gladys (ph), I think her name is. She‘s from Elkins. She was a "Rosie the Riveter" and we sort of celebrated in the commemoration of World War II. And she came over and told her story.
It was a funny story because she -- I said, how did you feel about, while your husband was away, riveting? And she said, I riveted as fast as I could because I wanted him home.
LAMB: So do you -- when somebody comes to visit, do you always take their picture, do you send it to them?
MOORE CAPITO: Usually, yes. I mean, but, you know, if they want it. That‘s Ralph Stump there on the right. He‘s a veteran. They come in and tell me -- that was an issue day, that‘s in front of my office, telling me the issues. A lot of V.A. health funding, a retirement fund, a concurrent receipt, all those kinds of things.
LAMB: How often do you meet with -- and what is this group?
MOORE CAPITO: Those are colleagues there. That‘s Grace Napolitano from California, Ginny Brown-Waite from Florida, and Deborah Pryce from Ohio. I was chairman of the Women‘s Caucus. And that was the day that I turned my Republican gavel over to Ginny Brown-Waite.
LAMB: What does a Women‘s Caucus do?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, we try to look at issues in a bipartisan way for women across the country. We‘ve had some success. One of the things, Louise Slaughter and I were chairmen together for two years, and one of the things we worked on together was sexual assaults in the military.
And we actually made -- had some legislation put in that would ask the secretary of defense to gather statistics, be accountable for sexual -- I mean, could you imagine being on the frontlines and worrying about being sexually assaulted by your own troops? That to me is extremely offensive. And it was occurring and has occurred. And we need to find out, you know, how to treat it, handle it, and make sure it doesn‘t happen.
LAMB: You‘ve been to Afghanistan and Iraq.
MOORE CAPITO: Yes.
MOORE CAPITO: I went to Afghanistan in 2002. And I went to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004. That was February of 2004. That was at Saddam‘s palace in Tikrit. That‘s an Iraqi solider there on the right, an American on the left.
LAMB: How did that change your opinion of what you thought about the war?
MOORE CAPITO: I‘ll tell you what it did more than anything at that point was gather an extreme respect and kind of an awestruck feeling about our American military and the young men and women that are serving and the leadership that we have. And so that struck me right away.
In Afghanistan the countryside struck me as just so incredibly poor and it gave you kind of a hopeless feeling. I mean, there are hardly any trees around. From the two years that I was there, I saw a lot progress there. Met with Hamid Karzai both times, really saw a difference in the two years. And the first time was very safety and security worried. It was pretty hot on the heels of the war on terror. And then two years later, talking about stability, opening roads, schools. He has got the political process moving forward.
In Iraq I went, and the timing of that was right before the Fallujah. And I sort of look at that as kind of a tipping point maybe for more insurgencies. And I haven‘t been back since that time. So I would really be interested, because when we went to Iraq, we drove right from the airport right into the Green Zone and drove around, went to see a power plant. You know, just driving around in the street, I mean, with protection, but still driving. I‘m sure you do that as much as you did…
LAMB: But you know, almost everything you see, polls about the president, polls about the war, they keep coming down, people are frustrated. How long should we stay there?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, I think we ought to stay there until we get the job done and get it done right. For those soldiers who have gone before and the ones that are there now, and for our own safety and the security here we have to do that. And we can do that.
And so I would say -- I come down on the side of not sending any kind of specific timeline. I do think the American people are fatigued and concerned and rightly so, and that, you know, any time that the president feels that he can tell the American people, you know, I see in a year where we can lessen our presence there, the Iraqi troops are taking over, I think he needs to tell them that.
I think he has a -- I don‘t want to speak for him, but I think he has a hesitation to make any kind of commitments, thinking he would have to backtrack. But there is an emotional segment to this war that, you‘re right, people are -- it‘s growing, the questions of where, when, how, and why, and let‘s get out.
LAMB: You mentioned earlier you‘re on the Rules Committee and that David Dreier is the chairman.
MOORE CAPITO: Right.
LAMB: We saw in the last couple of weeks ago that there was this behind-the-scenes with David Dreier and Roy Blunt as to who would become the temporary majority leader. Were you in the middle of that?
MOORE CAPITO: I was not in the middle of that. I was just as out of the loop on that. I‘m sure you have to keep those things pretty close to the vest. And I was just as taken by it as everybody else. I pretty much heard the news probably after a lot of people.
LAMB: Well, for people that don‘t know either man, is there a difference between them as Republicans?
MOORE CAPITO: Oh, I don‘t think so. David…
LAMB: I mean, is David Dreier really a moderate and Roy Blunt a conservative?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, I‘ve known Roy Blunt really more as the majority whip in fulfilling his job as the majority whip, which he does very well. And in my viewpoint, it‘s not Roy Blunt expressing his own person political beliefs to me. He‘s carrying the political message of the party and where we want to go and where the leadership wants to go.
So I can‘t really tell you exactly where he is. I would assume he is very conservative and he has been in a long time and very effective. He‘s very good at his job. And in terms of Chairman Dreier, I know he has -- on some of the trade issues he‘s more moderate, and I think he has a track record of looking at some issues a little bit differently. But you know, in my view, that‘s a great thing.
I mean, we‘re all made up of all different kinds of people. And the Republican Caucus is no different. I wasn‘t sure what -- I wasn‘t privy to the conversation so I don‘t know how the whole thing came to be.
LAMB: Outsiders read that there is a roller coaster ride for the Republicans up there. How important is Tom DeLay to the Republican Party?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, I think Tom DeLay has had a history of being a very effective leader, moving the agenda forward. When you look at what we‘ve done in the last five years, the majority leader has been a huge, huge part of that. And very successful too, I think, at whipping the votes and making sure that members of the caucus are paid attention to.
And I know in my own case, if I ever had to go and talk with the majority leader about anything, always very accessible, and never in a chastising, well, if you don‘t do this for me, I‘m not going to do this for you. Never have I had that conversation.
I think the current situation with the indictments and such is definitely problematic for everybody. And we‘ll just have to wait and see what happens. The last I heard was that, you know, he was going to ask for a speedy trial, speedy resolution. I hope that happens. I‘ve never seen a speedy trial in my life. But maybe that will occur and we can get this behind us and move on.
LAMB: What are the chances in the next two or three years you‘ll have a new speaker, a different -- I mean, if the Republicans survive 2006 and ‘08, how long do you expect Dennis Hastert to be around?
MOORE CAPITO: I expect him to be around at until at least 2008. But there again I don‘t know. And you know, a lot of things can change. And I would expect -- he‘s very effective, very well-liked in the caucus, and you know, I think misunderstood -- not misunderstood, what does the president say, misunderestimated sometimes?
He has a very easy way of speaking and a very familiar way of communicating, and kind of like the everyman sort of guy. But I‘ve a couple of occasions where I‘ve been one-on-one with the everyman speaker, and he can pull you up when he needs to. So I wouldn‘t underestimate his ability to put the hammer down and let you know how he really thinks.
LAMB: We‘ve also noticed that conservatives seem to be rather upset with the president, Republican conservatives. And there have been a lot of columns, a lot of people speaking out on that. How do you fit into that?
MOORE CAPITO: I don‘t understand that. I put myself more into the more moderate type of Republican, if you would say that. I mean, I have a lot conservative values and vote very conservatively in most cases.
But I‘m not an ideologically driven person. I think I would say I‘m more pragmatic. And I represent a state that has different -- we talked earlier, different economic challenges. I don‘t understand, unless it‘s lining up for the next election or 2008, why the conservatives in our party feel the need to -- sure, give your opinion, drive the agenda, make known which way you want to go, but do you have to do it in the newspapers? Do you have to do it on television?
I mean, there are ways to solve these issues that are out in front of the millions of Americans.
LAMB: Let‘s say that there is a young woman or man watching you and they want to know how to get into Congress, what‘s the first thing you would recommend to them? Say they‘re 20-25 years old, you only have to be 25 to be a member.
MOORE CAPITO: Right.
LAMB: What is the first thing you would recommend to them?
MOORE CAPITO: Get involved in a campaign, you know, not your own first. Get involved in somebody else‘s.
LAMB: What was your first campaign?
MOORE CAPITO: It was probably one of my dad‘s. I can remember my sister Lucy and I in a red wagon we had draped. And I‘m older, so I was pulling the wagon and she was all stuck up with the stickers. And we went around the neighborhood waving. You know, "Arch Moore for Congress."
And so that was my first memory of being in a campaign. But I think working and seeing what it takes, and that can take all kinds of forms, whether its walking in a parade. You don‘t have to be at the high level of decision-making to see what it‘s really like. Volunteer, I mean, campaigns love volunteers, especially young volunteers. They‘re very energetic.
LAMB: Second thing you would do?
MOORE CAPITO: If you‘re really interested and maybe you‘re in college still, do an internship with your member of Congress. That will really give you a good idea for what kind of lives we lead and what it is all about. You know, I think that‘s an excellent way.
LAMB: Did you ever kick around your father‘s office when he was a member of Congress?
MOORE CAPITO: Yes. I can remember my dad -- that‘s was always the big, special day, I kind of laugh at Take Your Daughters to Work Day because maybe my dad originated it. But every -- in the summer -- and maybe my mother originated it to get us out of the house, but in the summer we would have a day and we would come to the Capitol and spend the day in the Capitol with him.
He would let type, back then it was typewriters, and answer the phone. And then he would take us to lunch at the congressional dining room, and we would meet, you know, Speaker McCormack and Everett Dirksen, and people like that. And I can remember think -- that really, I loved that. And maybe that was a precursor to loving what I‘m doing now.
LAMB: What else would you do to get ready? I mean, you spent 16 years at home.
MOORE CAPITO: Right. Well, I mean, I think being involved and caring about the issues is something that you really -- you know, whether you‘re issue-driven or not, you have to care about what‘s going on. You can‘t be lackadaisical or not even interested. So watch current affairs, read the newspapers, go to speeches, talk to your friends and neighbors to see what they‘re thinking.
I mean, that‘s kind of -- that‘s an easy one, but if you‘re not even inclined to do that, you‘re probably not going to want get involved and become a member of Congress.
LAMB: Now if I happened on a conversation between two of your staff people, and there was a new staff person who was coming to your office, and the other one was saying, here is what to need to know about Congresswoman Capito, here is what she insists on, here is what she likes, here is what she doesn‘t like, and if you do this you‘re going to be in trouble, how would you fill in the blanks?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, I‘m pretty close to my staff members. I like to know about them personally. I don‘t particularly get involved in their lives personally, but I like to know how many brothers and sisters they have and who they‘re dating and all the kinds of things. I guess that‘s the mother in me.
I mean, I do -- so they would say, she is kind of motherly, I try to look out for them when they‘re not feeling well and that kind of stuff.
LAMB: What do they call you?
MOORE CAPITO: Congresswoman, they will call me Shelley too. That doesn‘t bother me. In public it‘s Congresswoman if anybody else is there. It‘s mostly, you know, Shelley, if they‘re calling me on the phone or something.
LAMB: So what else would they say warning this new employee, here‘s what you need to know about the boss?
MOORE CAPITO: Be nice to her husband.
MOORE CAPITO: Pay attention to what he says, because he has a great -- we have a wonderful marriage and he has a great influence on me, and not in a negative way, in a good way. And they need to get that, I think most of them, if they don‘t…
LAMB: Well, what would he tell them?
MOORE CAPITO: About me?
LAMB: About -- I mean, what are some of the things that he feels strongly about, about the way you operate, the way you represent yourself to the public?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, I would say that he thinks that I don‘t get enough press -- positive press every single day of every single life. But keep in mind, he‘s not the one trying to generate it too. So that‘s what I keep telling him.
I think that I think he would say I‘m pretty easy to get along with. I‘m pretty even-tempered. I‘m not prone to temper tantrums. I‘m not prone to sequestering myself into the office. I try to be, you know, open and accessible.
And the one thing I think that I hope everybody in my staff knows, that no matter who you‘re talking to, whether it is the janitor at the elementary school, or the president of Arch Coal, every person deserves a chance to hear and to know that I care about what they think.
And so I‘ve really tried to ingrain that into my staff that every person counts. And while that sounds so easy to say, sometimes, you know, you get -- in the rush of the day you get kind of worn out and don‘t want to do it.
LAMB: One of the great surprises to people is when they find out that members of Congress sign their letters with a machine.
MOORE CAPITO: Oh, I don‘t sign my letters with a machine. I sign all my letters when I‘m in Washington. I‘ve got a big stack sitting on my desk. Now I don‘t say that I read every single letter. A lot of them are repeat letters, like if you‘re writing about a road or something, it might 10 letters, same thing. But I‘ll sign them all.
I‘ll look at the addresses because I‘m always going to run -- I‘ve run into so many people. They‘re like, I saw that letter. If I‘m out of my office for a sustained period of time, somebody else will sign them. I don‘t have a pen -- I don‘t an automatic pen.
LAMB: What is -- but you know, a lot of them do.
MOORE CAPITO: I know, I know.
LAMB: But what is your attitude about when you get requests in from your district, they want you to speak, they want to show up for an anniversary, they was all that, what is your approach to that?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, I try to do as much of that as I can. I would say in the first three year, I probably didn‘t say no -- I very rarely said no. I mean, of course, I was in, you know, a situation where I was on a very hot campaign and still trying to get my name out all the time, all the time.
Now I try to -- I‘ve learned after I wore myself basically that I need to take that personal time and allow for that, especially on the off years. And so I try to pick and choose. I try to gauge it, it depends on who is -- not depends on who is asking, but if it‘s the same person asking every year for the same year every year and I‘ve got a conflict with something else, I‘ll try to, you know, swap off. I try to do just about as much as possibly can.
LAMB: Here‘s what -- it sounds like a small thing but we‘ve noticed this over the years, the entourage, members of the Senate, rarely a member of the House, will show up with as many eight people. The members of the administration, eight people.
Do you have a rule about how many people can travel with you and around you wherever you go somewhere?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, it wasn‘t until midway through the first year that I started traveling with somebody. I would just be driving myself. But I found that that‘s probably not the smartest thing to do.
And I usually have one person, it depends if it‘s a heavy press kind of an event, I might have two people, but I try to not have more than two people. It‘s sort of overwhelming. You don‘t need two -- more than one, really. And one is good. I usually try to go with one, or by myself or my husband, sometimes he does it.
LAMB: The constituent shows up at your office and wants to see the congresswoman, how often do they get to see you?
MOORE CAPITO: In Washington, if I have a constituent that comes, the directive is, if I‘m in the office, I meet them, I see them.
LAMB: Go back to the rules for the new person coming into the office. What time of day do you get in? What time of day do you leave? Somebody calls on the phone and says, I want to talk to the congresswoman right now?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, a lot of that depends on where I am and what I‘m doing. I mean, you know, obviously, if I‘m in one meeting with a constituent, can I pop off the phone and get on -- you know, I wouldn‘t do that normally unless it was some kind of an emergency.
You know, I‘ll get phone calls to return. I try to return them. Occasionally we‘ll have casework, kind of people that really don‘t need me to call them, but I‘ll pick up the phone and call them anyway just to tell them I got their request, we‘re going to work on it. Some of these things you just can‘t solve and you want to solve everything. You just can‘t.
I usually get in -- I try to run in the morning and I usually get in about 8:30 or 9:00. I‘ve never been an early morning person, and…
LAMB: Is your family back in West Virginia?
MOORE CAPITO: Yes. My family is in West Virginia. And I‘ll leave whenever the time dictates. Tonight I think we‘re getting out between 8:30 and 9:00. So it ends up to be a pretty long day. I don‘t leave once I get here.
I pretty much -- if I‘m at the office, I stay all day. You know, if I have a block of time, of four hours, I won‘t leave and go do something else, I‘ll stay and work, sign letters, answer phone calls, there‘s always something to do.
LAMB: The other thing we read a lot about is that do you have a 3,000-page bill…
MOORE CAPITO: Right.
LAMB: … that a lot of what is called pork or earmarks are put into that bill, and it‘s passed in the middle of the night? How do you explain that to constituents?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, if their pork is in there, they seem to be accepting of it a little bit more. We‘ll take the highway bill, there‘s a project in there, Route 35, in my home that I‘ve worked on consistently since I‘ve been here. It‘s a two-lane highway that is just an abomination. It‘s very unsafe.
I was able to get $44 million in the bill for that. Somebody‘s pork is another person‘s pie, I guess. And that money is going to be the driver to complete that project. And I am going to be very proud of the day that that happens.
LAMB: Do you ever hear a constituent complaining about pork?
MOORE CAPITO: Sometimes they complain, sure. And I mean, there is overspending, there is inflated dollars going here and there and everywhere where I question what we‘re doing. And we need to get a handle on it.
It‘s something I think we‘re going to be interesting here as we look at how we‘re going to pay for Katrina and Rita. I just read this morning a 2 percent across-the-board cut, well, you know, how is that going to sit? So you know, we‘re going to have tough questions here moving out towards the end of the year.
LAMB: So what have you learned from Senator Byrd about being a senator for the last eight terms?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, I think that being in the Senate looks like a pretty cool job.
MOORE CAPITO: Well, I think you get a lot more influence. Certainly he represents the entire state, and that presents a lot of huge opportunities. The Senate does things differently. I‘m not sure I agree with it, but if I ever got over there I would probably think it was great.
In terms the whole, for instance, appropriations, a lot closer to the -- you can‘t get information on which direction they‘re going, and that‘s easier for them to do than for us with 435 members.
I think being in the Senate is -- you know, because of your ability to confirm candidates, you know, confirm Supreme Court justices, treaties and all these other kinds of things, you have a different, maybe a more national focus than what we have in the House.
It seems to have a slower pace in the Senate in terms of -- and I think that‘s the way it‘s set up. Our forefathers, I think, sometimes, boy they were smart and they knew what they were doing.
LAMB: So when does Shelley Moore Capito run for the Senate?
MOORE CAPITO: Well, we‘ll just have to see. I do see a Senate race in my future.
LAMB: When is Senator Rockefeller up?
MOORE CAPITO: He is up in ‘08.
LAMB: Could you see that one?
MOORE CAPITO: I don‘t know. We‘ll have to see. A lot can happen, you know, in that period of time. I don‘t know what his plans are, and I don‘t what my plans are. At this point I‘m hoping to be reelected, and that‘s going to be a challenge, in 2006, and try to do the best job I can do and just kind of move through it.
LAMB: Do you have a son or daughter who you see running for your seat if you ever go for another political office?
MOORE CAPITO: That‘s a good question. You know, it‘s funny, your children are all so different. My older son is very quite and introspective. He likes politics, but I can‘t ever see him doing that.
My middle son, absolutely, Moore Capito, Arch Moore Capito.
LAMB: How old is he?
MOORE CAPITO: He‘s 23 now. He has the interest and he is just intrigued by the process.
LAMB: Your daughter?
MOORE CAPITO: Daughter is kind of a mixture. She could go either way. She has helped me a lot. But I don‘t know that she would really want it for herself. She might.
LAMB: Congresswoman Capito, we‘re out of time, thank you.
MOORE CAPITO: Wow, thank you.