Bob Dole, Republican Senate Leader & Presidential Candidate, Dies At 98
Former three-time Republican presidential candidate and United States Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kansas) died on Sunday at the age of 98 after a long battle with lung cancer.
Dole was a veteran of World War II whose 25-year tenure in the Senate was defined by a commitment to compromising with Democrats and a willingness to challenge his own party.
Dole, who joined the GOP ticket in 1976 as then-President Gerald Ford’s running mate, was an outspoken defender of Richard Nixon, who resigned from the presidency in 1974 amid the threat of impeachment and potential criminal culpability in the Watergate scandal.
Ford pardoned Nixon shortly after assuming office, costing himself and Dole the election to President Jimmy Carter.
“I figured up the other day, if we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans, enough to fill the city of Detroit,” Dole said of the controversial clemency.
When Nixon died in 1994, Dole referred to him as a “boy who heard train whistles in the night and dreamed of all the distant places that lay at the end of the track.”
In 1996, Dole resigned from the Senate to mount a third and final bid for the White House.
“I trust in the hard way, for little has come to me except in the hard way,” he said of his final departure from Congress.
Dole secured the Republican Party’s nomination for president and took on then-President Bill Clinton, who at the time enjoyed relatively high approval ratings among the American people and easily won reelection in a 379-159 Electoral College landslide.