Bob Dole, a former Republican presidential nominee and U.S. senator from Kansas, has died on the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation introduced Sunday.
“It is with heavy hearts we announce that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep. At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years,” mentioned the group that’s named after his spouse, who served as secretary of labor beneath President George H.W. Bush.
Dole was a outstanding statesman, embellished conflict veteran and, till Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) surpassed him in June 2018, the Senate’s longest-serving Republican chief. Dole challenged incumbent Bill Clinton for the presidency in 1996, when he was the senior senator from Kansas.
Before that, Dole served, at numerous instances, as Senate majority chief, Senate minority chief, chairman of the Republican National Committee, and a member of the House of Representatives. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 and 1988, and was President Gerald Ford’s operating mate in 1976.
President Joe Biden, who served with Dole within the Senate for greater than 20 years, remembered the late senator on Sunday as a good friend and “an American statesman like few in our history.” Biden mentioned that even with their political variations, he might all the time look to Dole for “trusted guidance, or a humorous line” and that Dole “never hesitated to work with me or other Democrats when it mattered most.”
“Bob was a man to be admired by Americans. He had an unerring sense of integrity and honor. May God bless him, and may our nation draw upon his legacy of decency, dignity, good humor, and patriotism for all time,” Biden mentioned in a press release.
Dole was born on July 22, 1923, in Russell, Kansas, and grew up in a working-class family that struggled financially. One yr, to make ends meet in the course of the Great Depression, his household rented out his home’s first flooring and lived within the basement.
In faculty, he succeeded in each sports activities and lecturers, and attended the University of Kansas. Following the 1941 assault on Pearl Harbor, he left his research to function a fight infantry officer within the Army. In northern Italy, he sustained critical accidents from German machine-gun hearth near Castel d’Aiano, which left him with everlasting restricted mobility in his proper arm. He acquired two Purple Hearts for his accidents and the Bronze Star for valor.
In 1950, after recovering from his accidents and acquiring undergraduate and legislation levels from Washburn University, Dole ran for the Kansas state House of Representatives. He served a two-year time period, then grew to become a county lawyer. Dole efficiently ran for the U.S. House in 1960 after which the Senate in 1969.
He spent greater than 11 years as Senate majority chief, the longest-serving Republican within the put up till McConnell’s tenure handed his.
In Congress, Dole managed to enchantment to each political moderates and conservatives. He happy the previous by partnering with then-Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.) to decrease eligibility necessities for meals stamps. He additionally supported civil rights laws and federal support for the disabled. Conservatives, in the meantime, appreciated his hawkish positions on international coverage and crime, in addition to his votes in opposition to public housing subsidies and Medicare.
In 1989, President Ronald Reagan introduced him with the Presidential Citizens Medal for his work as a public servant. In the ceremony, Reagan celebrated him as “a friend to veterans, farmers and Americans from every walk of life.”
When he secured the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 on the age of 73, Dole grew to become the oldest first-time presidential nominee in U.S. historical past. Political observers have hypothesized that Dole was harm by the Democratic technique of tying him to the unpopular speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), whom many blamed for the back-to-back authorities shutdowns in late 1995.
In 1997, Clinton honored Dole, his former rival, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“Son of the soil, citizen, soldier and legislator, Bob Dole understands the American people, their struggles, their triumphs and their dreams,” Clinton mentioned. “Our country is better for his courage, his determination and his willingness to go the long course to lead America.”
After leaving Congress, Dole labored at a legislation agency and appeared in commercials for Viagra, Visa, Dunkin’ Donuts and Pepsi. He based the Dole Institute of Politics on the University of Kansas for the research of civic participation and bipartisan options to nationwide issues.
He additionally labored to lift consciousness and funds for world starvation, veterans and incapacity points throughout his post-congressional profession, although he watched a type of causes undergo a defeat by the hands of his fellow Republicans when the Senate did not ratify the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2012.
In 2014, Dole accomplished a tour of all of Kansas’ 105 counties and campaigned on behalf of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).
In January of 2018, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his service to the nation as a soldier, legislator and statesman. McConnell praised him in the course of the ceremony as “the true measure of servant leadership.”
“Bob has built an extraordinary life on the basis of ordinary American values,” McConnell mentioned. “As a legislator, he showed that principles and pragmatism are not opposites but complements. As a leader, he prized results over rhetoric. And above all ― from Castel d’Aiano to Percy Jones Army Hospital to his favorite Senate balcony, facing the Mall ― this soldier, statesman and American hero has never stopped fighting for vulnerable people who have less power and less strength than he does.”
In a Washington Post opinion piece in 2012, Dole mirrored on his life and described how he had been capable of proceed engaged on behalf of others lengthy after leaving electoral politics.
“Sure, losing an election hurts, but I’ve experienced worse,” he wrote. “And at an age when every day is precious, brooding over what might have been is self-defeating.”
In latest years, Dole had expressed dissatisfaction with the course of the Republican Party, saying in 2013 that the GOP ought to be “closed for repairs” and that it wanted to discover ways to cooperate with Democrats. His report as a reasonable earned criticism from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who in March 2014 cited Dole for example of a Republican presidential candidate who misplaced as a result of he didn’t stand for GOP ideas.
In the 2016 Republican presidential main, Dole was a supporter of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose late father, George H.W. Bush, was his onetime political rival. Dole finally obtained behind Donald Trump after his second GOP candidate of alternative, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, additionally dropped out of the race.
“We’ve got to hope he’ll be a good president,” he advised ABC News in 2016 of then-candidate Trump. “Trump has to start acting like a presidential candidate and tone down the rhetoric and don’t insult anybody.”
Dole continued to voice assist for Trump even after Trump’s 2020 loss to Biden within the presidential election, which Dole mentioned he believes Biden received pretty, although maybe narrowly.
“He lost the election, and I regret that he did, but they did,” he advised USA Today in July. “I’m a Trumper,” he was quoted as saying, including at one other level: “I’m sort of Trumped out, though.”
Dole referred to as Biden “a great, kind, upstanding, decent person.” He mentioned Biden visited him together with his grandchildren in February following information of his most cancers prognosis.
Dole is survived by his spouse, Elizabeth Dole, a former North Carolina senator and secretary of labor and transportation, and his daughter, Robin Dole.