Former Sen. Bob Dole had a “trademark wit” but was also dedicated to issues such as food security, rural issues and helping Americans with disabilities. “Bob was earnest,” McConnell said on Dole’s early days in the Senate representing his home state of Kansas. “He was already challenging a signature cause, helping Americans with disabilities.”
“A son of dust bowl hardship, laser focused on food security and rural issues,” McConnell said of Dole, whose casket was brought into the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 8 to lie in state.
After Dole became Senate majority leader in 1995, McConnell recounted him joking about his new challenges in managing his caucus.
“Bob described his Senate management challenges with his trademark wit,” McConnell said calling Dole saying, “‘If I’d known,'” he said, ‘We were going to win control of Senate we would have run better candidates.’”
“I swear, Bob could have made it as a stand up comic.”
Dole died Sunday at the age of 98. He shaped tax and foreign policy and worked vigorously to help the disabled, enshrining protections against discrimination in employment, education and public services in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Dole won the Republican nomination in 1996, but was defeated when President Bill Clinton won a second term. He was also the 1976 GOP vice presidential candidate on the losing ticket with President Gerald Ford.
Throughout his political career, he carried the mark of war. Charging a German position in northern Italy in 1945, Dole was hit by a shell fragment that crushed two vertebrae and paralyzed his arms and legs. The young Army platoon leader spent three years recovering in a hospital and never regained use of his right hand.
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