Bob Dole, the GOP Presidential nominee in 1996 and a United States Senator from Kansas for 28 years, is in grave health tonight at Walter Reed Hospital. As one of his last acts of public service to our nation, he was appointed by President Bush in 2007 to investigate and correct the problems which had been discovered at Walter Reed.
Dole, 89 years old, has spent his entire adult life in public service. He left law school to serve in World War II. While a lieutenant in the War, he was shot by a German machine-gunner, which irreparably kept his right arm from ever again being usable. He received the Bronze Star for his rescue work during the war.
After hospitalization because of his injuries, he returned to Kansas where he graduated from law school and eventually was elected to the US House in 1960. He moved on to the Senate in 1968. During his tenure there, he could best be classified as a moderate conservative. He supported civil rights laws and increased income eligibility to food stamps. He also opposed much of the War on Poverty including Medicare.
Gerald Ford chose him as the GOP Vice-Presidential nominee in the 1976 election. Following that close defeat, he returned to the Senate. He attempted to secure the Republican Presidential nomination in 1980 and 1988 but was not selected either time. He left the Senate to win the nomination in 1996 but was defeated by Clinton. Dole’s own record in the Senate is highlighted by his unflagging support for the disabled. He negotiated many programs on their behalf.
He is married to Elizabeth Dole, who later served one term in the Senate herself. Dole, after his retirement, spent much of his time trying to alleviate childhood hunger and poverty in America and the world. For political junkies, he portrayed an unswerving commitment to Republican values, while evincing a compassion for the common man.
His bravery, sense of humor, and dedication earn him the appellation of hero. We all pray for his recovery.