Local News

Jesse Helms Speaks Out On Health, France's Role In Recent War

Posted May 1, 2003 10:22 a.m. EDT

— Last year at this time, the headlines focused on Jesse Helms. He had just undergone a serious heart surgery that kept him in intensive care for weeks. WRAL talked with the former Senator about his health, the war, the French and Sen. John Edwards.

When Jesse Helms returned to the Senate last year, most people knew he had had a close call, but he said he has made a full recovery.

"I've never felt better in my life," he said.

Helms now works most days in his new Raleigh office a little different from the Senate office he called home for 30 years. When asked if he missed it, he replied, "Sometimes like a toothache and other times, yes, I miss it."

He said he follows world events closely, including the war and he has high praise for his friend, President George Bush.

"What has happened was inescapable," he said. "I think he made the right decision and I think it's being demonstrated that he made the right decision now."

Helms has strong comments about the way the French have handled the war.

"It's typical. France has been a lost cause as far as the United States is concerned for a long time," he said. "They're always a little bit hard-headed and don't give a damn about what happens to the United States."

Helms is also watching the presidential campaigns, particularly the news about Sen. John Edwards running for president.

"Well, the funny papers have a lot of jokes in it. Maybe this will be one of them one of these days," he said. "He's got about as much chance of being president as he does having the full respect of the people of North Carolina."