File: Then-Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.) announces his resignation to be the Republican presidential nominee in Washington, May 15, 1996. Former presidents and political leaders recalled Dole’s dignity, sense of humor and lifetime commitment to public service after he died on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times) Photograph:( The New York Times )
Bob Dole, a Republican Party stalwart and presidential candidate who preached a type of plain-spoken conservatism as one of Washington's most known political characters in the second part of the twentieth century, died on Sunday.
Leaders from across the political spectrum offered tributes to Bob Dole, the former Senate majority leader and Republican presidential nominee who died Sunday, hailing him as a war hero and statesman who dedicated his life to public service.
“Bob Dole was a man to be admired by Americans,” President Joe Biden said on Twitter. “He had an unerring sense of integrity and honor.”
The president cited Dole’s “legacy of decency, dignity, good humor, and patriotism.”
Vice President Kamala Harris called Dole “a war hero and patriot.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader, said in a statement that Dole’s “lifetime of service was rooted in a simple mission: looking out for his neighbors.”
That path started with serving customers at a soda fountain in Russell, Kansas, and continued through his service in the Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II, and it was capped off by nearly 30 years in the Senate and more than a decade as the Republican leader, he said.
“His Dust Bowl roots fueled a special commitment to vulnerable Americans, and sure enough, Bob’s work on food security, veterans’ issues, and the rights of disabled Americans have continued to have an especially lasting impact,” McConnell said.
Mike Pence, the former Republican vice president in the Trump administration, said Dole “lived an extraordinary life of service to America.”
Former President Barack Obama said on Twitter that Dole’s political leadership and demeanor harked “back to a day when members of the Greatest Generation abided by a certain code, putting country over party.”
Former President George W. Bush said of Dole in a statement: “This good man represented the finest of American values.”
“I will always remember Bob’s salute to my late dad at the Capitol,” Bush added, referring to his father, former President George H.W. Bush, who died in 2018, “and now we Bushes salute Bob and give thanks for his life of principled service.”
Former President Bill Clinton, Dole’s opponent in the 1996 presidential contest, said on Twitter that Dole dedicated his life to serving the American people, “from his heroism in World War II to the 35 years he spent in Congress.”
“After all he gave in the war,” Clinton added, “he didn’t have to give more. But he did. His example should inspire people today and for generations to come.”
Al Franken, the Democratic former U.S. senator and comedy writer, said of Dole: “He was a war hero, one of the great senators, a lovely man, and … well, I’m finally the funniest former US senator. I’ll miss this REALLY funny man.”