Bob Dole, longtime lawmaker and WWII hero, dies at 98

FILE - In this July 18, 2016 file photo, political icon and 1996 Republican presidential nominee Sen. Bob Dole is seen at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Dole says he has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The 97-year-old former U.S. Senate majority leader said Thursday in a short statement that he would begin treatment for the disease Monday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (Carolyn Kaster, Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

WASHINGTON – Bob Dole, a former longtime senator and the 1996 Republican presidential nominee, has died at age 98.

The longtime lawmaker’s death comes after he announced that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in February of this year.

More details here: Senate leader, presidential candidate Bob Dole dies at 98


Previously, in February:

Joe Biden paid a visit in February to former Sen. Bob Dole, days after the World War II veteran and 1996 Republican presidential nominee announced he’d been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Biden, who served in the Senate with Dole for more than two decades, arrived on Feb. 20 at the Watergate complex where Dole, 97, and his wife, Elizabeth, have maintained a longtime residence. The White House described Dole as a “close friend” of the president.

“He’s doing well,” Biden said of Dole, after departing Holy Trinity Catholic Church later Saturday evening.

Dole said this week he plans to begin undergoing treatment on Monday.

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

Dole, a native of Russell, Kansas, represented the state in Congress for almost 36 years before resigning from the Senate in 1996 to challenge Democratic President Bill Clinton. Dole had unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in 1980 and 1988, and he was President Gerald Ford’s vice presidential running mate in 1976, when Ford lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter.

After his last run for office in 1996, Dole continued to be involved in Republican politics, offering endorsements and commenting on public issues. He was known during his congressional career for both a sharp tongue and his skills in making legislative deals.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a moderate Republican and a cancer survivor, tweeted that Dole is “a true American patriot and great statesman.”

Dole was a driving force behind the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, speaking poignantly at its 2004 dedication before tens of thousands of fellow veterans in their 80s and 90s, calling it “our final reunion.”

He served with Clinton following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as co-chairman of a scholarship fund for the families of the victims. He was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in 2018 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997 for his public service.

Dole overcame disabling war wounds sustained near the end of World War II to forge his lengthy political career. Charging a German position in northern Italy in 1945, Dole was hit by a shell fragment that crushed two vertebrae and paralyzed his arms and legs. The young Army platoon leader spent three years recovering in a hospital but never regained use of his right hand.

Dole left the Army as a captain, but Congress in 2019 approved a promotion for him to colonel. He also received two Purple Hearts and was twice awarded the Bronze Star for his military service.

A lawyer, Dole served in the Kansas House and as Russell County attorney before being elected to the U.S. House in 1960. He won a Senate seat in 1968 and became Senate majority leader after the 1984 elections.

He led Republicans when they were in the minority for eight years, from 1987 to 1995, and then again as majority leader starting in 1995. He remained the Republicans’ longest-serving Senate leader, at nearly 11 1/2 years, until current Minority Leader Mitch McConnell broke the record in 2018.