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Bob Dole, World War II veteran, senator and presidential candidate, has died aged 98

Washington Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, the World War II veteran who Republicans hoped would oust President Bill Clinton from the White House in 1996, has died, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation said on Sunday. Japan. He is 98 years old. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in February 2021.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation said Dole died early Sunday morning in his sleep.

When Dole became the Republican presidential candidate in 1996, it was the culmination of more than half a century of national attention as a congressman, senator, vice presidential candidate, twice running for president, national chairman of the Republican Party and longtime leader of the Republican Senate.

Dole was the last presidential candidate to serve during the Second World War, and during the ’96 campaign he proposed himself as a connection to the so-called Greatest Generation and a moment. other better.

“For those who say America has never been better, I say you’re wrong, and I know because I’ve been there, and I’ve seen it and remember it,” Dole said.

Retired U.S. Senator Bob Dole, R-Kansas, is surrounded by staff and wise men as he prepares to leave the United States Capitol in Washington on June 11, 1996. Dole ends his career. his 35-year career in the Senate to devote his full attention to his president
Retired U.S. Senator Bob Dole, R-Kansas, is surrounded by staff and wise men as he prepares to leave the United States Capitol in Washington on June 11, 1996. Dole ends his career. his 35-year career in the Senate to devote his full attention to his presidential campaign.

Richard Ellis / AFP / Getty Images


It doesn’t work. Bill Clinton called Dole a man of the past and the Democrats the bridge to the future, and easily won re-election.

It is true that Dole has grown up in an America many voters have only heard of, but those days on the Kansas prairies—the days of the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression—and the war shaped him.

Once a star athlete in high school with dreams of becoming a doctor, he joined a fight that would change him forever. He comes back with severe injuries, and those injuries will require him to use an arm.

He worried that he would be in a wheelchair selling pencils on the street, and as he later told “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl, his life had turned into a nightmare.

“One day they got me out of bed, and the bathroom door was open,” Dole said. “There’s a mirror on the far wall above the shaver. I can’t believe it’s Bob Dole. So I didn’t look in the mirror. I still don’t look in the mirror, except to shave.”

Twice near death, he lost a kidney to an infection, but the people of Russell, Kansas, donated the money in the cigar box to help pay for his rehabilitation, and his war record. led to a seat in Congress and then the Senate.

US Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole looks back over his shoulder as he waits to be introduced in a
US Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole looks back over his shoulder as he waits to be introduced during the “GOP Unity” rally in Savannah, Ga., On Flag Day, June 14, 1996.

David Ake / AFP / Getty Images


In 1976, hoping to win a victory over dubious conservatives, President Gerald Ford selected him as his running mate, and when he returned to Kansas to tell his fellow countrymen about that, he broke down when he recalled the early days.

“I can remember when I needed help, Russell’s people helped, and I thought -” he said as he began to cry.

The ticket was lost to Jimmy Carter, and the campaign brought out another side of Dole, a political gutter who accused Democrats of being a fan.

“We added up the number of people killed and wounded in the Democratic wars of this century,” Dole said. He was tagged that night with a tag that would cost him a lifetime of care: the hound-like man.

“I think Senator Dole resonated richly as a spiritually active man tonight by implying and declaring that World War II and the Korean War were conflicts. Democratic war,” said Senator Walter Mondale, Carter’s running friend.

Dole returned to the Senate and continued his political career, but when he tried to run for president on his own in 1988, his temper was most evident. In New Hampshire, he called his main rival George Bush a liar and more.

Once again, Dole returned to the Senate, rebuilding relationships with Democrats as well as Republicans, resulting in a long list of legislative accomplishments from Social Security reform to the People’s Act. Americans with disabilities.

Dole said Journal of Abilities that because of his disability, he knew he “had to do something special” with his life. It “changes your whole life, not just your attitude,” he says. “Before the injury, I was a pretty good athlete, but after that, I learned to apply myself more and get good grades for change,” he said. Dole advocated for Americans with disabilities during his first speech in the Senate on April 14, 1969 – the 24th anniversary of his injuries in World War II – and continued to do so throughout his life. his career.

“It’s a group no one joins by personal choice – a group whose membership requirements are not based on age, sex, wealth, education, color, religious beliefs. , political party, power or prestige,” he said in the Senate. floor. “As a minority, it always knows how to exclude; may not exclude from the top of the bus, but may even climb above it; may not rule out the pursuit of advanced education, but may not have undergone any formal education; perhaps not excluded from day-to-day life, but perhaps from a suitable opportunity to develop and contribute to the best of his ability.”

NS Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark part of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination based on dissent, was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990. Dole said he considers this act one of his proudest achievements.

When the Republicans won a majority in 1994, Dole became the majority leader in the Senate. He held the position of power until his dramatic resignation in July 1996 to focus on running for president full time.

“The moment for me to leave this office has come, and I will seek the presidency with nothing to disappoint but the judgment of the people, and nowhere to go but the White House or the home,” Dole said. private”.

And so Senator Dole became a Dole Citizen, but when he lost the presidency to Bill Clinton, he didn’t go home to Kansas. He was a man of the Capitol, and he returned to Washington to open another chapter in his long life.

He proudly watched his wife Elizabeth, a former member of the Cabinet of Presidents Reagan and Bush, elected to the Senate. And, in a move that surprised even close friends, he became a TV commercial – doing soft drink commercials with Britney Spears and, as a survivor after prostate cancer, advertising for Viagra.

Dole received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997 and National Assembly Gold Medal in 2018 for his lifelong dedication to the public cause. He thanked his colleagues, “because without them, nothing would be done.”

Bob Dole says he is living proof that America is a land without limits, and that he pushed those limits from the Kansas prairies of his youth to the great corridors of power where he spent a lot of time of his life – one of the ultimate limits of life. A generation of World War II values ​​and bravery have so much to do with shaping America today.

Audrey McNamara contributed to this report.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bob-dole-dies-age-98-senator-presidential-nominee/ Bob Dole, World War II veteran, senator and presidential candidate, has died aged 98

Huynh Nguyen

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