|Senate Majority Leader|
January 3, 1995 – June 11, 1996
|Preceded by||George Mitchell|
|Succeeded by||Trent Lott|
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1987
|Preceded by||Howard Baker|
|Succeeded by||Robert Byrd|
|Senate Minority Leader|
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Robert Byrd|
|Succeeded by||Tom Daschle|
|Chair of the Republican National Committee|
January 15, 1971 – January 19, 1973
|Preceded by||Rogers Morton|
|Succeeded by||George H. W. Bush|
|United States Senator|
January 3, 1969 – June 11, 1996
|Preceded by||Frank Carlson|
|Succeeded by||Sheila Frahm|
|Member of the |
U.S. House of Representatives
January 3, 1961 – January 3, 1969
|Preceded by||Wint Smith|
|Succeeded by||Keith Sebelius|
|Constituency||6th district (1961–1963)|
1st district (1963–1969)
|Member of the Kansas House of Representatives|
from the 81st district
January 9, 1951 – January 13, 1953
|Preceded by||Elmo J. Mahoney|
|Succeeded by||R. C. Williams|
Robert Joseph Dole
July 22, 1923
Russell, Kansas, U.S.
|Died||December 5, 2021 (aged 98)|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Cause of death||Lung cancer|
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
(m. 1948; div. 1972)
Elizabeth Hanford (m. 1975)
|Education||Washburn University (BA, LLB)|
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1942–1948|
|Unit||10th Mountain Division|
|Battles/wars||World War II (WIA)|
Robert Joseph Dole (July 22, 1923 – December 5, 2021) was an American politician and lawyer. He was the United States Senator from Kansas between 1969 and 1996. He was a member of the Republican Party. He was the Republican Leader of the United States Senate from 1985 until 1996. Before his senate career, he was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969. Dole was the Republican nominee for Vice President in the 1976 election and for President in the 1996 election.
Dole was born and raised in Russell, Kansas, where he began with a legal career. He was in the United States Army during World War II. He was the Russell County Attorney for a short time until he won election to the House of Representatives in 1960. In 1968, Dole was elected to the Senate. He was chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1971 to 1973 and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee from 1981 to 1985. He was the Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and from 1995 to 1996.
President Gerald Ford chose Dole as his running mate in the 1976 election after Vice President Nelson Rockefeller did not want to be Ford's vice president. Ford lost the election to Democrat Jimmy Carter in the general election. Dole ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 but quickly dropped out of the race. He ran again for the nomination in the 1988 Republican primaries but lost to Vice President George H. W. Bush. Dole won the Republican nomination in 1996, however lost in the general election to President Bill Clinton. He resigned from the Senate during the 1996 campaign and did not run for public office again after the election.
After retiring from the Senate, Dole appeared in commercials and television programs. In 2012, Dole wanted the Senate to pass the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which did not happen. Dole was a member of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. He also worked for the law firm Alston & Bird. On January 17, 2018, Dole was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal. He was married to former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina.
Early life[change | change source]
Dole was born on July 22, 1923, in Russell, Kansas. His parents were Bina M. (née Talbott; 1904–1983) and Doran Ray Dole (1901–1975). His family lived in a house at 1035 North Maple in Russell. Dole himself lived here during his political career.
Dole graduated from Russell High School in the spring of 1941. He went to the University of Kansas. While at the University of Kansas, Dole played for the basketball team, the track team, and the football team. In 1942 he was a teammate of former Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams. While in college, Dole joined Kappa Sigma.
During his college years, Dole joined the United States Army during World War II in 1942. In April 1945, while in combat near Castel d'Aiano southwest of Bologna, Italy, Dole was seriously wounded by Nazis. He was shot in his upper back and right arm. He was injured because he tried to help a radioman. His recovery was slow because he had many health problems caused by his injuries. Dole recovered from his injuries and was honored with two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. He was unable to move his right arm and had numbness in his left arm.
Early political career[change | change source]
Dole ran for office for the first time in 1950 and was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. In 1952, he became the County Attorney of Russell County. In 1960, Dole was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Kansas' 6th congressional district. After his first term, Kansas lost a congressional district. Most of Dole's district was added with the 2nd district to create a new 1st district. Dole was elected from this district in 1962 and was reelected two more times.
U.S. Senate, 1969–1996[change | change source]
In 1968, Dole won the United States Senate election against former Kansas Governor William H. Avery. He ran to replace Senator Frank Carlson. Dole was re-elected in 1974, 1980, 1986, and 1992.
While in the Senate, Dole was a strong supporter of the Vietnam War. He attacked Democratic Senator George McGovern for not supporting the war. He was chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1971 until 1973. He was also on the Agriculture Committee from 1975 until 1978. He was the chairman of the Finance Committee from 1981 until 1985. In November 1984, Dole was elected Senate Majority leader, beating Ted Stevens by 28 to 25 votes.
In 1976, Dole was the Republican vice presidential nominee after being picked by President Gerald Ford. During the Vice Presidential debate with Walter Mondale, Dole said blamed all the wars in the 20th century to Democrats.
Over his time in the Senate, Dole was seen by some as having a moderate voting record. This meant, he sometimes voted with the Democrats. During the 1970s, he worked with Senator McGovern to help pass a law making food stamps easier to get. In 1982, The New York Times saw that Dole changed from being a strict conservative to a moderate Republican.
The Republicans won both the Senate and House of Representatives in 1994 and Dole became Senate Majority Leader for the second time.
In October 1995, Dole and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich led the Republican-controlled Congress to pass a spending bill. President Clinton vetoed this bill. More disagreements between the Clinton administration and Republicans caused the federal government shutdown from 1995 to 1996. The next month, Republican and Democratic leaders, including Vice President Al Gore, Dick Armey, and Dole, met to try to fix the budget and were unable to reach an agreement. By January 1996, Dole was more open to talk about ending the shutdown, but was not supported by other Republicans who wanted the shutdown to continue. Gingrich and Dole had a hard time working together. Many people thought that both of them might want to run for the 1996 Republican presidential nomination.
Presidential politics[change | change source]
Dole first ran for President of the United States in 1980 for the Republican nomination. He finished behind Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and four others in Iowa and New Hampshire, winning only 2.5% and 0.4% of votes in those races. Dole ended his campaign after New Hampshire and officially left the race on March 15, 1980.
However, Bush would beat Dole in the New Hampshire primary a week later. During the New Hampshire primaries, Dole lost his temper in a television interview with Tom Brokaw and said that Bush should "stop lying about my record". He said this because he did not like a Bush commercial which lied about Dole's tax ideas.
Dole lost to Bush again in South Carolina in early March. Several days later, every southern state voted for Bush during Super Tuesday. He eventually lost Illinois to Bush and afterwards dropped out of the race.
1996 presidential campaign[change | change source]
On April 10, 1995, Dole announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, in his third campaign for the presidency. Dole was the early front-runner for the nomination. At least eight candidates ran for the nomination, such as the more conservative Senator Phil Gramm of Texas and more moderate Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Pat Buchanan beat Dole in the early New Hampshire primary. Dole came in second place and former Tennessee governor Lamar Alexander finished third. Many believed that Dole was not doing good at first because he was not "conservative enough".
Dole eventually won the nomination in May after winning all the Midwestern primaries. At the time, he was the oldest first-time presidential nominee at the age of 73 years. If elected, he would have been the oldest president to take office at the time.
Dole hoped to use his long experience in Senate to help him beat an incumbent president. On June 11, 1996, Dole resigned from the senate to focus on the campaign. He said he had "nowhere to go but the White House or home".
Dole promised to lower 15% in income tax rates and made former Congressman and supply side supporter Jack Kemp his running mate for vice president. Clinton said Dole was similar to the then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He warned that Dole would work with the Republican Congress to cut popular social programs, like Medicare and Social Security. Dole's tax-cut plan was attacked by the White House. They said it would "blow a hole in the deficit".
Some people were worried about Dole's age. On September 18, 1996 at a rally in Chico, California, he was reaching down to shake the hand of a supporter, when the railing on the stage broke and he fell four feet. Many compared the fall between Dole to a younger Clinton.
At the end of October 1996, Dole and his advisers knew that they would lose the election, but in the last four days of the campaign they went on the "96-hour victory tour" to help Republican Congressional candidates.
Dole lost to President Clinton, with a 379–159 Electoral College landslide. Clinton won 49.2% of the vote against Dole's 40.7% and Ross Perot's 8.4%. Many believe that the strong economy during Clinton's first term helped the president win a second term.
Retirement[change | change source]
After the 1996 election, Dole began to focus on writing, being a lawyer, public speaking, and television appearances. He became a television commercial spokesman for Viagra, Visa, Dunkin' Donuts and Pepsi-Cola. He was also a political commentator on the interview program Larry King Live. He was a guest many times on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Dole was a commentator with Bill Clinton on CBS's 60 Minutes for a short time. He was on Saturday Night Live making fun of himself.
From 1998 to 2002, Dole was in charge of the Federal City Council in Washington, D.C. Dole later joined the Washington, D.C. firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand, where he became a lobbyist. Dole joined the Washington, D.C. law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird LLP.
Dole worked for many voluntary organizations. He was national chairman of the World War II Memorial Campaign, which collected money to help build the National World War II Memorial. He also worked with former President Clinton on the Families of Freedom Foundation. This was a scholarship fund to pay for college educations for the families of 9/11 victims.
In 2007, President George W. Bush picked Dole and Donna Shalala as co-chairs of the commission to investigate problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Also in 2007, Dole joined former Senate majority leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, and George Mitchell to create the Bipartisan Policy Center for bipartisan support.
On December 4, 2012, Dole spoke in the Senate to support ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, Republicans rejected the bill.
Trump presidency[change | change source]
In 2015, Dole supported former Florida governor Jeb Bush in his presidential campaign. After Bush ended his campaign following the South Carolina primary, Dole supported Florida senator Marco Rubio's campaign. During the campaign, Dole criticized Texas senator Ted Cruz, saying he would not win an election. Dole later supported Donald Trump after Trump won the Republican nomination. He was the only former Republican presidential nominee to go to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Former Dole advisers, including Paul Manafort, played a major role in Trump's presidential campaign. After Trump won the 2016 election, Dole worked with the Trump campaign and presidential transition team to set up meetings with the government of Taiwan.
Dole was worried that the Commission on Presidential Debates were biased against President Trump and his reelection campaign. He said how he knew all the Republicans on the commission and was afraid that "none of them support[ed]" the president. After Trump lost the election, Trump made false claims about voter fraud. Trump said that the election was stolen and tried to overturn the election results. Dole did not agree with Trump and said there was no fraud in the many lawsuits that Trump claimed there was.
Personal life[change | change source]
Dole married Phyllis Holden in 1948, three months after they met. The couple only had one daughter, Robin. Dole and Holden divorced January 11, 1972. Dole met his second wife, Elizabeth, in 1972. The couple were married in 1975 and had no children.
Health and death[change | change source]
In February 2010, Dole was hospitalized for pneumonia after having knee surgery. He spent ten months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, recovering from the surgery. He had pneumonia three times. He was released from the hospital in November 2010. In January 2011, however, Dole was hospitalized again to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He spent about six days there, being treated for a fever and an infection.
Dole was hospitalized in November 2012 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. On September 13, 2017, Dole was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for low blood pressure. He stayed for 24 hours before returning home.
In February 2021, Dole announced he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. In July 2021, he began getting immunotherapy, instead of chemotherapy because of its negative effects on his body. Dole died from the disease in his sleep on the morning of December 5, 2021 at his home in Washington, D.C. at the age of 98.
After his death, many politicians honored Dole. President Joe Biden ordered flags be flown at half-staff until December 11. Dole lay in state at the U.S. Capitol on December 9. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Awards and honors[change | change source]
In 1989, Dole was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Ronald Reagan. In 1997, he was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton for his service in the military and his political career.
More readings[change | change source]
- Ceaser, James W.; Busch, Andrew E. (1997). Losing to Win: The 1996 Elections and American Politics. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-8476-8405-9.
- Clinton, Bill (2005). My Life. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 1-4000-3003-X.
- Denton, Robert E. Jr. (1998). The 1996 Presidential Campaign: A Communication Perspective. Westport: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-95681-4.
- Elovitz, Paul (1996). "Work, Laughter and Tears: Bob Dole's Childhood, War Injury, the Conservative Republicans and the 1996 Election". Journal of Psychohistory. 24 (2): 147–162. ISSN 0145-3378.
- Immelman, Aubrey. "The political personalities of 1996 U.S. presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole." Leadership Quarterly 9.3 (1998): 335-366. online
- Shenk, Joshua Wolf (July 1996). "The Best and Worst of Bob Dole". Washington Monthly. 28.
- Tymchuk, Kerry; Wertheimer, Molly Meijer; Gutgold, Nichola D. (2004). Elizabeth Hanford Dole: Speaking from the Heart. Westport: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-98378-1.
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- "House Unanimously Passes Bill to Promote Sen. Dole to Army Colonel". U.S House of Representatives. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
- Wagner, John (April 8, 2019). "Trump signs bill raising Bob Dole's military rank to colonel". Stars and Stripes. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 11, 2019. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
Other websites[change | change source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bob Dole.|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Bob Dole|
- Official website
- Bob Dole's remarks at the dedication of the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas
- Bob Dole's 1996 campaign website
- The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics
- Bob Dole's biography on Alston & Bird's website
- CNN AllPolitics review of Bob Dole's early life
- Bob Dole on IMDb
- Appearances on C-SPAN