Bob Dole, Former Republican Presidential Candidate, Dies at 98

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Bob Dole, a former Republican U.S. Senator from Kansas and the 1996 Republican presidential candidate, has died at age 98, his family confirmed on Dec. 5.

“Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep. At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years,” his family said in a statement through the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

Earlier in 2021, it was announced that Dole was being treated for advanced lung cancer. President Joe Biden visited Dole shortly before his diagnosis in February.

“While I certainly have some hurdles ahead, I also know that I join millions of Americans who face significant health challenges of their own,” Dole said in a statement in February.

For 30 years, Dole was a senator for Kansas. In 1976, he was President Gerald Ford’s vice presidential nominee. The pair were defeated by then-Democratic Party presidential candidate Jimmy Carter and his running mate, Walter Mondale.

Dole, who was injured while fighting in World War II, was the Senate majority leader from 1985 to 1987 and again from 1995 to 1996. In 1996, Dole clinched the Republican nomination for the presidency, but he was ultimately defeated by incumbent President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

Writing in his memoir, “One Soldier’s Story,” Dole said that his experiences in World War II defined his life.

Former Sen. Bob Dole and wife Elizabeth Dole wait as President Donald Trump arrives to participate in the Armed Forces Welcome Ceremony in honor of the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at Summerall Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., on Sept. 30, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

“Adversity can be a harsh teacher,” he wrote in the book. “But its lessons often define our lives. As much as we may wish that we could go back and relive them, do things differently, make better, wiser decisions, we can’t change history. War is like that. You can rewrite it, attempt to infuse it with your own personal opinions, twist or spin it to make it more palatable, but eventually the truth will come out.”

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), confirmed that the speaker had ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff following Dole’s passing.

A number of former officials and lawmakers offered their tributes to the Republican senator on Dec. 5.

“Senator Bob Dole was a truly great man who lived an extraordinary life of service to America and he will be deeply missed by all of us who had the privilege to know him,” former Vice President Mike Pence wrote on Twitter.

Former President Donald Trump said in a statement: “Bob Dole was an American war hero and true patriot for our Nation. He served the Great State of Kansas with honor and the Republican Party was made stronger by his service. Our Nation mourns his passing, and our prayers are with Elizabeth and his wonderful family.”

Sen. Roger Marshal (R-Kansas) said Dole “was an American hero, a statesman of the highest order, [and] one of the greatest legislators of all time. Most importantly, he was forever a Kansan who always put service above self.

“Laina [and I] join Kansans in holding Elizabeth, Robin [and] the entire Dole family in our prayers,” Marshal wrote.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote, “Barbara & I are sad to hear of passing of war hero/Senate Majority Ldr /presidential nominee Bob Dole He was a dedicated public servant + kind + funny + hard worker + a true patriot We send our love to Elizabeth & his family.”

Dole is survived by his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), and his daughter, Robin Dole.

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