Republican political giant and presidential candidate Bob Dole dies at the age of 98

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Bob Dole, the longtime senator from Kansas who was the Republican presidential candidate in 1996, has passed away. He was 98 years old.

In a statement, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, founded by Dole’s wife, noted: “It is with a heavy heart that we announced that Senator Robert Joseph Dole passed away earlier this morning in his sleep. When he died at the age of 98, he had faithfully served the United States of America for 79 years.

At the end of February, Dole announced that he had advanced lung cancer and would start treatment. While visiting him, President Joe Biden called Dole a “close friend”.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday, like Biden a Democrat, ordered the Capitol flags to be raised halfway up.

Born in Russell, Kansas in 1923, Dole served in the United States Infantry in World War II, suffering serious injuries in Italy and winning a Medal for Bravery.

His injuries cost him the use of his right arm, but he entered state politics and quickly became a longtime Republican power agent, representing Kansas in the United States House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969 and in the Senate until 1996. He was chairman of the Republican National Committee and as leader of the minority and majority in the Senate.

In 1976, he was Gerald Ford’s Republican candidate for vice president, in an election the incumbent president lost to Jimmy Carter. Two decades later, at 73, Dole won the green light to take on Bill Clinton.

Amid a booming economy, the Democrat won a second term with ease, by 379-159 in the Electoral College and by nine points in the popular vote, with third-party candidate Ross Perot costing the support of Dole to the right.

Dole has received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, America’s highest civilian honors.

In the Trump years and after, Dole became widely regarded as an old-fashioned figure in Republican politics.

On Sunday, political consultant Tara Setmeyer, a member of the anti-Trump Lincoln project, tweeted: “I first voted for President Bob Dole in 1996. A war hero with a keen sense of humor… another piece of a once respectable GOP gone. “

However, Dole remained a staunch Republican soldier, telling USA Today this summer that although Donald Trump “lost the election, and I’m sorry he did, but they did,” and although he himself had been “somehow deceived,” and he always considered himself a “Trump.”

Dole called Biden a “great, kind, honest and decent person,” although he said he leaned too far to the left.

He also said: “I believe [America has] lost something. I can’t seem to get my hands on it, but we’re just not where we should be, as the biggest democracy in the world. And I don’t know how you fix it, but I still hope that there will be a change in my life.

On Sunday, Jaime Harrison, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said: “I send our sincere condolences and prayers to the family of Senator Bob Dole. We honor his service and dedication to the nation. May he rest in peace. “


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