Mr. Bob Dole, a plain-spoken man of the prairie who survived Dust Bowl adversity in Kansas and horrific war wounds in Italy to become Senate majority leader and the last member of the World War II generation to earn his party’s presidential nomination, died on Sunday at the age of 93. He was 98 years old.
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation made the announcement of his death.
It was not specified where he died. He revealed in February that he had Stage IV lung cancer and that he will begin treatment shortly after that announcement.
Mr. Dole, a Republican, was one of the most enduring political personalities in the United States throughout the later decades of the twentieth century. Twenty years later, he was selected for vice president, and then for president, a position he held for almost two decades. He served in the Senate for more than two decades, during which time he was the longest-serving leader of his party until Mitch McConnell of Kentucky overtook him in June 2018.
Mr. Dole was described by Vice President Biden as “an American statesman like few others in our history.” “A war hero and one of the finest of the Greatest Generation,” says the narrator. “To me, he was also a buddy, someone I could turn to for reliable advice or a witty phrase at precisely the perfect time to soothe frazzled nerves,” he said.
As the old soldiers of World War II began to fade away, Mr. Dole, who had served as a lieutenant in the Army’s storied 10th Mountain Division and had been wounded so severely on a battlefield that he was presumed dead, came to personify the tenacity of his generation. Mr. Dole, who had served as a lieutenant in the Army’s storied 10th Mountain Division and had been wounded so severely on a battlefield that he was presumed dead Post-political life saw him devoting his time and energy to seeking funds for the World War II Memorial in Washington, where he also spent weekends hosting visiting veterans.
The former president’s remains was laid in state at the Capitol Rotunda in December 2018, during one of his last public appearances. He stood in line with former President George HW Bush, a political foe and fellow veteran who died the previous year. Using his left hand since his right had been rendered useless by the war, Mr. Dole saluted the flag-draped casket of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the last president to have served in World War II, as an aide assisted him out of his wheelchair.
He himself campaigned for President three times, eventually winning the nomination in 1996 but losing to President Bill Clinton after a campaign that was considered to be the most catastrophic in American history. He had resigned from his comfortable position in the Senate in order to seek the president, despite the fact that he was better suited to the Senate, as he admitted.
He was most proud of his role in saving Social Security in 1983, of his role in pushing through the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, and of his role in persuading a majority of Republican lawmakers to support President Clinton’s unpopular plan to send American troops to Bosnia in 1995, among other accomplishments. (Mr. Dole was not a fan of the deployment, but he had always felt that a president, regardless of political party, should be supported when making such a significant decision as sending soldiers overseas.)
While Mr. Dole started his political career as a conservative, his views gradually changed to become more pragmatic. He even developed contacts with important liberals during this time. He collaborated with South Dakota Governor George S. McGovern to extend the food stamp programme, and he collaborated with Minnesota Governor Hubert H. Humphrey to make school meals a federal entitlement. Both actions were hailed by Kansas farmers.
Most of his negotiations with other senators took place on the balcony of the Republican leader’s office, which he shared with them. Robert J. Dole’s colleagues overwhelmingly voted a resolution designating the Robert J. Dole balcony after him when he retired from the Senate in 1996. It overlooked the National Mall and the Washington Monument, providing him with what he longingly referred to as “the second-best view in Washington,” according to his friends. Due to his frequent retreats to the balcony to soak up the sun and renew his perpetually bronzed skin, it was affectionately known as “Dole Beach” by his friends.