Bob Dole, Senate leader, presidential candidate dead at 98

Senator Bob Dole, presidential candidate dead at 98

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Bob Dole was born Robert Joseph Dole on July 22, 1923. He was an American politician and attorney who represented  Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996. Before his 27 years in the Senate, Bob Dole served in the United States House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969. He was the Republican Leader of the Senate during the final 11 years of his tenure, including three nonconsecutive years as Senate Majority Leader. Dole was also the Republican presidential nominee in the  1996 election and the vice presidential nominee in the 1976 election.

In an announcement posted on social media, Dole’s wife, Elizabeth Dole, said that her husband died in his sleep.

He died on Sunday, December, 5th 2021.

Dole announced in February 2021 that he’d been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. During his 36-year career on Capitol Hill, Dole became one of the most influential legislators and party leaders in the Senate, combining a talent for compromise with a caustic wit. He often turned on himself but didn’t hesitate to turn on others, too.

He shaped tax policy, foreign policy, farm and nutrition programs, and rights for the disabled, enshrining protections against discrimination in employment, education, and public services in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Kansas Native

The former senator Bob Dole was born and raised in Russell, Kansas, where he established a legal career after serving with distinction in the United States Army. Following a stint as Russell County Attorney, he won election to the House of Representatives in 1960. In 1968, Dole was elected to the Senate, where he served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1971 to 1973 and chairman of the Senate 

Finance Committee from 1981 to 1985. He led the Senate Republicans from 1985 to his resignation in 1996 and served as Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and 1995 to 1996. As Republican Leader, he helped defeat Democratic President Bill Clinton’s health care plan.

Senator Bob Dole, presidential candidate dead at 98 1

President Gerald Ford chose Dole as his running mate in the 1976 election after Vice President Nelson Rockefeller withdrew from seeking a full term. Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated Ford in the general election. 

Dole sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 but quickly dropped out of the race, but experienced more success in the 1988 Republican primaries and defeated Vice President George H. W. Bush. He, however, won the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and selected Jack Kemp as his running mate. 

The Republican ticket was lost in the general election to Clinton, making Dole the first unsuccessful major party nominee for both president and vice president. He resigned from the Senate during the 1996 campaign and did not seek public office again after the election.

Life After Politics

Dole remained active after retiring from public office. He appeared in numerous commercials and television programs and served on various councils. In 2012, Dole unsuccessfully advocated Senate ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He initially supported Jeb Bush in the 2016 Republican primaries but later became the only former Republican presidential nominee to endorse Donald Trump in the general election.

Dole was a member of the advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and special counsel at the Washington, D.C., office of law firm Alston Bird. Dole was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on January 17, 2018. He was married to former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole  of North Carolina.

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From the Dole Family

Thank you for the outpouring of love over the last year; it continues to sustain us as we grieve the loss of the precious man we knew as husband and father. Bob Dole was never only ours – we shared him with Americans from every walk of life and political persuasion. He dedicated his life to serving you, and so it is heartwarming that so many honor him at his passing.  

America has lost one of its heroes; our family has lost its rock. We will smile as we recall his gifted sense of humor. We will take comfort from the extraordinary moments of our lifetimes together. 

Bob Dole never forgot where he came from. He embodied the integrity, humor, compassion, and unbounded work ethic of the wide-open plains of his youth. He was a powerful voice for pragmatic conservatism, and it was that unique Kansan combination of attributes and values made him such a giant of the Senate. 

Our gratitude softens our grief for having shared in so vibrant a life. May God receive His son home with love and the most important phrase of all time, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Bob and Elizabeth Dole

Elizabeth Dole remembers her husband, Bob Dole, as being “a little bashful” the first time he ever called. They talked for 40 minutes, and she was so smitten that she forgot she had a date waiting for her in the other room. “The phone rang. I went back to my bedroom, answered the call. Forty minutes later, heaven knows what I told that guy when I went back into the living room!” she recalled to TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie during an exclusive interview with her husband.

The couple opened up about their courtship and the secret behind more than 43 years together as part of this week’s “Share the Love TODAY” series.

The pair met in 1972 and quickly became the quintessential Washington power couple. Bob Dole, a U.S. senator from Kansas, was a rising star in the Republican party. The former Elizabeth Hanford had recently graduated from Harvard Law School and earned a reputation as a fierce consumer advocate.

The two met during a meeting at his Capitol Hill office.
“All of a sudden, the side door opens, and in comes Bob Dole. And I look up, and I think, ‘Gee, he’s a good-looking guy,'” recalled Elizabeth, 82. “And he says he wrote my name on the back of his blotter.”

But Bob didn’t ask her out until the third time they spoke over the phone.
“I liked that a lot because I realized he’s not some guy chasing women around Capitol Hill,” Elizabeth said.

Bob, 95, chimed: “I never did that — couldn’t catch ’em anyway.”
The couple married three years later. It was his second marriage and her first.

Elizabeth said she fell for his kindness.

“I love his compassionate heart. And the fact that he loved to feel that “way” each day he could make a difference for at least one person in need,” she said. “And I loved the fact that he had such a great sense of humor.”

The couple shared many laughs but very few fights over the decades.

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