[an error occurred while processing this directive] [Dole]

POLITICAL RACES

Bob Dole has run for president twice before (1980 and 1988) and was the GOP nominee for vice president in 1976 (on the ticket with President Gerald Ford. First elected to the U.S. Senate in 1968, Dole won his fifth Senate term in 1992. Before the Senate, Dole served in the U.S. House of Representatives for four terms. He got his start in elective politics in 1950 when he was elected as the youngest member to the Kansas State House. Dole also served four terms as county attorney in Russell Kansas. (Also see Political Beginnings)

1950

81st DISTRICT KANSAS STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

[Great Seal of the state of Kansas]
BOB DOLE (R)      2,576 
ELMO MAHONEY (D)   1,803

Dole was convinced by Republican County Attorney, John Woelk, to challenge Democrat incumbent Elmo Mahoney for a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives. Since the legislature was in Topeka, and since Dole was in school there and had a heroic past, other Republicans tried to recruit him for the seat as well. Some in Russell joked that with Dole already in law school in Topeka, he would at least save the taxpayers the cost of his commute. Republicans outnumbered Democrats two-to-one and Dole easily defeated Mahoney, a colorful homespun character who loved to gab. At 27, Dole was the youngest member of the Kansas lower house (105 Republicans and 20 Democrats).

1952 RUSSELL COUNTY ATTORNEY

PRIMARY
BOB DOLE (R)     1,133 
DEAN OSTRUM (R)    948

GENERAL 
BOB DOLE (R)  4,207 
GEORGE HOLLAND (D) 2,065
[Kansas map]

In 1952 John Woelk, the man who convinced Dole to be a Republican, retired as county attorney. The job didn't pay well ($242 per month, $10 less than the courthouse janitor), but it was still a good job for a young lawyer. The county attorney would handle Russell's various legal duties, from liquor violations to signing welfare checks. (Dole would end up signing the welfare checks for his grandparents, Robert and Margaret Dole.)

It also was a job where one could gain more experience than working for one of the town's other attorneys, and also a stepping stone to building one's own practice. Dole wanted the job and announced his candidacy where he knew it would be noticed, at the high school gymnasium next to the local Republican committee chairman, Ray Shaffer.

[Dole's class]

Shaffer was impressed by Dole and his supporters driving nine miles east of town to pay him respect. Dole's opponent in the Republican primary was Dean Ostrum, a well-connected, well-known attorney's son. The race turned into a rich boy/poor boy contest, with Ostrum wearing frayed collared shirts to downplay his wealth. Dole didn't have to act poor, everyone knew his family and that the Dole kids had to work. His status as an injured veteran made him stand out. Dole set out to prove that he did not expect people to vote for him because of his disability (though Woelk said it was an advantage he exploited). He campaigned from dawn until after dark, remembered everyone's name, gained the backing of wealthy families and generally outworked Ostrum. Dole's brother Kenny and some of his friends helped out by posting signs throughout the county, calling themselves the "tack and hammer men." Dole won by 185 votes.

The November general election was much easier. Dole beat George Holland, son of his parents' friend Clifford Holland, Sr. -- one of the men who urged Dole to get into politics in the first place -- by 2,142 votes. It was an important victory for Dole. If he would have lost his first primary it would have dimmed his political career considerably. Woelk added: "It certainly caused Ostrum to look elsewhere."


1954 RUSSELL COUNTY ATTORNEY

BOB DOLE (UNOPPOSED)

1956 RUSSELL COUNTY ATTORNEY

BOB DOLE (R)              3,175 
CLIFFORD HOLLAND, JR. (D) 2,317

Once again Dole faced a son of Clifford Holland Sr,, and he easily defeated him.


1958 RUSSELL COUNTY ATTORNEY

BOB DOLE (R)       2,807 
ROBERT EARNEST (D) 2,195

1960 KANSAS 6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT PRIMARY

[Dole at Capital Hill]
BOB DOLE (R)       16,033 
KEITH G. SEBELIUS  15,051 
PHILLIP DOYLE       4,423

GENERAL 
BOB DOLE (R)       62,335    59% 
WILLIAM DAVIS (D)  42,869    41%

In 1960, incumbent Republican Congressman Wint Smith was considered too conservative for the times. (He'd served since 1946.) Having won re-election in 1958 by fewer than 100 votes, he announced he would retire. Dole was approached by small town newspaper editor (and Kansas Republican National Committee leader) Huck Boyd to run for the seat. Boyd first met Dole when he was driving through Russell around midnight and saw a light on at the courthouse, and, thinking there was a robbery, he stopped to investigate. Boyd found Dole working. Impressed, Boyd marked Dole as a "comer" and told the story around the state. Boyd put Dole in touch with Dane Hansen, an eccentric businessman and Republican kingmaker. Hansen was encouraging, and Dole decided to run.

[Skirt]

Dole, unknown outside Russell, knew he had to attract attention. He made his announcement at the Republican state convention with twenty singing young women in red skirts (the "Bobolinks"), a farmer wearing an elephant head, and a procession of six men carrying an open coffin. A Frankenstein dummy lay inside the coffin and a large sign displayed this slogan, "You have nothing to fear with Dole."

He was noticed. In the Republican primary, Dole faced two experienced state senators, Keith Sebelius (who had almost beat Wint Smith in 1958) and Phillip Doyle. Though he was now an expert campaigner, Dole knew he needed another gimmick to separate him from the others -- he took advantage of a popular name-brand product that shared his name, Dole pineapple juice. Dole and his supporters handed out cup after cup of the juice in the 6th District: "Hi I'm Bob Dole, like the pineapple juice. I'm running for Congress and I'd like your support." The "Bobolinks" later became "Dolls for Dole" and continued singing and campaigning for him; his daughter Robin also campaigned, wearing a banner, "I'm for Daddy -- Are You?"

[Eisenhower]

Rumors floated that Keith Sebelius was a drinker (something that could finish a politician in 1960 Kansas), and Sebelius, a state commander in World War II, was actually hurt by his American Legion endorsement. The legion would not release a list of its members to Dole, whose war story was well known, and whose father, Doran, was a member for years. Some veterans complained, and it lost votes for Sebelius. Dole edged Sebelius by 982 votes, and Phillip Doyle was a distant third. In the general election, Dole easily defeated Democrat William Davis by nearly 20,000 votes.

In Congress, Dole won a seat on the House Agriculture Committee and kept most of Winton Smith's staff. Dole was often funny -- "kind of a Bob Hope type," Kansas Rep. Bob Avery said, though, "Nobody took him seriously, at least I didn't, and that was a problem for me later." Dole was hardline conservative, attacking then-Vice President Lyndon Johnson's friend Billy Sol Estes for manipulating agricultural stockpiles. The attacks put Dole on the front page of The New York Times for the first time.


1962 KANSAS FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

BOB DOLE (R)       102,499     56% 
FLOYD BREEDING (D) 81,092     44%

In the 1960 census, Kansas lost population and a congressional seat. Dole's district was folded into the larger 1st District and he faced popular Democratic incumbent Floyd Breeding. Breeding was a strong backer of President John Kennedy. Dole was a persistent critic of Kennedy's agricultural policies and raised questions about selling American grain to the Soviet Union. Dole's anti-communist message carried well in western Kansas and he campaigned hard. Dole defeated Breeding in November, winning 51 of the 58 counties. Back in Washington, Dole chaired the subcommittee that investigated President Lyndon Johnson's friend Bobby Baker.


1964 KANSAS FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

BOB DOLE (R)  113,212    51% 
BILL BORK (D) 108,086    49%

Dole had a difficult race in 1964. He backed conservative Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater for president, even though Goldwater was unpopular in his district. Dole got a boost when Richard Nixon came to Pratt, Kan., to stump for him. The Nixon visit drew a lot of press attention for Dole, who won by about 5,000 votes. Back in Washington, Dole backed Rep. Gerald Ford's challenge to Minority Leader Charles A. Halleck. Ford represented a group of frustrated young Republicans eager for more assertive, partisan leadership. Dole persuaded two of his Republican Kansas colleagues to back Ford. Ford won 74 to 67 and credited Dole for delivering the winning margin. To show his appreciation, the first speech Ford gave as minority leader was in Kansas.


1966 KANSAS FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

BOB DOLE (R)        97,487   69% 
BERNICE HINKLE (D)  44,569  31%

Concerned over his slim victory in 1964, Dole planned for his 1966 race early and hired businessman Jim French as his district campaign chairman. Dole again campaigned from dawn to late at night. When he met people, French would write down their names and Dole would write them a letter -- "And, boy! That makes an impression," French said. French also came up with a brilliant fundraising idea. He took out ads in every weekly newspaper titled, "Dollars for Dole." The ad asked readers to send Dole their dollars so he would not have to depend on big money from corporations or unions, a sensitive point in an anti-union state. The money rolled in.

The Kansas press was hard on Dole, accusing him of being against everything in government, particularly Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and its popular anti-poverty programs. Dole developed a feud with a columnist at the Hutchinson News in Kansas, leading Dole to call the paper "Prairie Pravda." Dole was not above using legitimate advantages of incumbency to promote his career. The Chicago Tribune had run a favorable profile of Dole, and to combat the local press, he mailed a copy of it to every registered voter using his franking privilege, an allowance for taxpayer-paid mailings. Dole won easily over Democrat Bernice Hinkle.


1968 U.S. SENATE RACE

[Dole in Senate]
PRIMARY 
BOB DOLE     190,782 68.5% 
BILL AVERY    87,801 31.5%

GENERAL BOB DOLE (R) 490,911 60.1% William Robinson (D) 315,911 38.7%

Dole wanted to be a player in Washington. As a member of the minority party in the House, he would have little chance to influence policy, and it would take years for him to move up the entrenched Republican seniority system.

In early 1968, Kansas Senator Frank Carlson called Dole to his office to tell him he was announcing his retirement the next day, and told Dole not to hesitate to start campaigning for the seat. Dole's primary opponent was his former House colleague Bill Avery. Avery won the Kansas statehouse in 1964, giving him much more name recognition. However, Avery quickly lost his political capital after raising state income and sales taxes, and lost the governorship in 1966. Dole did not have to run a tough campaign against Avery, but he did borrow an idea the Democrats used against Avery in 1966. Avery had campaign signs tacked onto telephone poles throughout Kansas with his name in vertical letters. Underneath each, Dole campaign workers added a horizontal sign, identical in appearance, with one word: "TAXES."

[Dole and Nixon]

Dole worked hard to raise his profile outside of his congressional district. His primary campaign received a big boost when Dave Owen, then running for state senate, turned his Johnson County organization (the crucial county next to Kansas City) over to Dole because he "had hero written all over him." Dole defeated Avery with more than 100,000 votes and easily won over his Democratic opponent in November.

At age 45, Bob Dole was a newcomer in the Senate, and Nixon had just won the presidency. Dole kept a low profile and did not speak on the Senate floor until April 14, the anniversary of his war injury. He gave a moving speech about the needs of the handicapped and what should be done to make them feel more welcome in society. When he was finished, Kansas' senior Senator rose to congratulate him and others followed.

Dole soon learned the rules of the Senate, and how he could have an impact as a freshman. Not burdened by chairing a committee, Dole spent much time on the Senate floor, defending Nixon from frequent Democratic attacks that previously had gone unanswered. Dole was soon noticed at the Nixon White House by Lyn Nofziger, who had the job of finding House and Senate members supportive of the President. Nofziger would write short, mean speeches for Dole. Dole soon developed a tough-guy, or hatchet-man, reputation. Nixon rewarded Dole for his loyalty by appointing him Republican National Chairman in 1972.


1974 U.S. SENATE

BOB DOLE (R) 403,983  51% 
BILL ROY (D) 390,451  49%

Watergate had infuriated Kansas voters and Senator Dole knew his 1974 re-election bid was in trouble because of his connection to Nixon and his stint as RNC chairman, though partisan Democratic senators McGovern and Humphrey had publicly said it would be unfair to attack Dole for Watergate. Democrats thought they had Dole in a perfect position: either he knew about Watergate and was lying, or, being RNC chairman, he should have known and was negligent for not finding out.

Dole's Democratic opponent was Rep. William Roy, a two-term Congressman who won an upset victory in 1970. Roy was both a physician and lawyer and had strong base around his hometown of Topeka. Dole first countered with humor, when asked if wanted Nixon to campaign for him, he said, "I wouldn't mind if he flew over." But by the end of the summer, humor was not enough and Dole fired most of his campaign staff, made Republican rising star David Owen his campaign manager and went on the offensive.

A series of new TV spots produced by a Boston ad agency showed a poster of Dole being splattered with mud as Roy's attacks were ticked off and then, at the end, wiped clean and a warm voice listed the good things Dole had done. The message was that the Democrats were unfairly smearing him by bringing up Watergate and engaging in "politics as usual." It was considered the best campaign ad of 1974, and it helped turn the momentum of the race.

Dole also benefited from the abortion issue. At a debate that was supposed to be about farm policy, he asked Roy how many abortions he had performed (Roy had performed about a dozen in his career) and later promised to enact a human life amendment. The Supreme Court had delivered its Roe v. Wade decision the year before, legalizing abortion for the first time, and anti-abortion activists were strongly supporting Dole. Dole won with 51 percent. Years later Roy said the abortion issue cost him the race. The traditionally Catholic strongholds around Topeka and Atchinson, where Roy had won before, voted for Dole.

Dole slowed down at the beginning of his second term and became more interested in legislation. On the Agriculture Committee, he promoted Kansas wheat and became one of the architects of the food stamp program, working with George McGovern to produce a plan that would be both more generous and less costly to the government. Dole also served on the Finance Committee, mastering tough issues and playing a constructive role.


1976 VICE PRESIDENT

JIMMY CARTER/WALTER MONDALE    40,830,763  50.1% 
GERALD FORD/BOB DOLE               39,147,793  48%

[Dole and Ford] Late at night during the 1976 Republican National Convention, Dole was chosen to be Gerald Ford's running mate. No one was more surprised than Dole that August (everyone thought Howard Baker would get the offer), but the choice reflected several of Ford's concerns. While Dole brought no geographic balance to the ticket, his long record of support for agriculture gave him appeal in the farm states. Dick Cheney, Ford's Chief of Staff, said to Dole, "You're in charge from the Mississippi west." Also, Dole's voting record was conservative enough for the emerging Reagan wing of the Republican party, which put up a tough fight for the presidential nomination. Ronald Reagan's endorsement of Dole put his name at the top of the short list of vice presidential possibilities.

[76 Debate]

Ford also wanted to use his incumbency to the greatest possible advantage, which meant taking the dignified (and presidential) high road in the campaign. To do this, he needed a tough fighter to take the low road. "I sent Dole to the briar patch, and I stayed in the Rose Garden," Ford wrote in his memoirs.

Dole did not prove himself unqualified for the position, but didn't really distinguish himself either. He displayed overt partisanship, referring to the Vietnam, Korean and both World Wars as "Democratic wars" during his debate with Walter Mondale -- the comment was considered a new low in campaigning (though it was provoked by Mondale linking Dole to Watergate). Dole's "Democratic wars" comment probably lost needed Democratic votes for the Ford-Dole ticket. It was in this campaign Dole acquired the reputation as a "hatchet man." He traveled 65,000 miles and visited 45 states. He went after Democrats with scathing wit, calling Jimmy Carter "Southern-fried McGovern." By the end of the campaign, even his self-deprecating humor seemed cruel.

[Dole and Ford]

In the end, some analysts said Dole's presence on the ticket did not seem to help, evident by the unimpressive margin of victory in safely Republican Kansas. Barbara Walters even asked Dole whether he was the one who lost the race for Ford, a comment that greatly upset him. But others, noting that Ford-Dole were defeated by a narrow 2 percent of the vote and only 57 electoral votes, said Dole was helpful in areas where it was thought he would be helpful. Of his "Democratic wars" comment however, Dole remarked, "I went for the jugular -- my own."


1980 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

[Dole's campaign

In the spring of 1979 Elizabeth Dole quit her post as commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission to prepare for Dole's first presidential bid. Announcing his candidacy on the steps of the Russell City Hall on May 14, 1979, Dole tried to project a more moderate image than he did during his 1976 vice presidential run.

He promised to run a positive campaign, not to attack President Carter or the other Republican candidates. The opponent this time was to be the federal government -- too large, too expensive and too institutionalized. Dole announced: "In government we have institutionalized compassion, forgetting that compassion is a human virtue that comes from the heart, and that institutions lack these attributes, and so they fail in doing the compassionate thing." He promised to keep an open mind and seek wisdom from both Democrats and Republicans, because no political party has a "corner on wisdom."

The strategy was to run a lean campaign and hit Iowa and New Hampshire, where he calculated his agriculture background and fiscal conservatism would propel him to later primaries. New Hampshire voters were surprised by Dole's soft tongue and a bit baffled by his subtle humor -- he would say he came to the state to help President Carter "out."

By mid-August, it was obvious his new compassionate style was not catching. As fundraising lagged, he used gimmicks and humor in late August to try to get attention. After a vacationing Carter humored the country by swatting a supposedly rabid rabbit with a canoe paddle, Dole issued a press-release urging the President to apologize for "bashing a Georgia bunny." Dole also reminded the public of Carter's Playboy interview by remarking, "This is not the first time President Carter has gotten in trouble with bunnies. It seems to me he had a problem back in the fall of 1976 as well."

Dole, strapped with Senate duties, couldn't campaign in New Hampshire and Iowa as much as the other candidates -- "I'm employed, which makes a difference," he explained. He continued to have problems delegating tasks, and had fired several dozen campaign managers, press aides, political directors and fund-raisers. Each new staff member hired was less experienced, and his campaign lacked cohesion and morale. Bob and Elizabeth Dole had almost total control of every aspect of the campaign by the end of December.

In Iowa, Dole's strategy of combining his three natural constituencies -- the farmer, the veteran and the disabled -- into a coalition didn't work. Voters thought he had no sense of exactly what he would do as president, and he never found his voice as a candidate. He finished last. In New Hampshire, Ronald Reagan caught fire after almost fumbling in his attempt to debate only George Bush: "I paid for this microphone, Mr. Green!" he said after George Bush refused to participate and the moderators tried to stop the debate. Reagan looked like a champion of free speech. Dole was upstaged in every debate and lost badly, with barely 0.4 percent of the vote (607 of more than 145,000 cast).

Dole disbanded his campaign staff after New Hampshire and officially pulled out March 15, 1980, in Lawrence, Kansas. He said he lacked the Five M's: money, manpower, management, media and momentum.


1980 U.S. SENATE PRIMARY

BOB DOLE (R)     201,484 82% 
JIM GRAINGE (R)   42,674 18%

GENERAL 
BOB DOLE (R)     598,686 64% 
JOHN SIMPSON (D) 340,271 36%

After losing badly in the 1980 New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, Dole seriously considered retiring from the Senate. Kansas Republicans nervously awaited his announcement to seek re-election, which didn't come for weeks. His national race did enhance his standing in Kansas and Dole did not have difficultly raising money. In his announcement speech on May 24, Dole said, "Throughout my career I've never forgotten the question with which I launched it thirty years ago: what could I do to serve the people of Kansas? I've pondered this even while thinking about the attraction of private life. And in the end, the answer remains the same: I am pleased to announce I am a candidate for re-election to the U.S. Senate."

Dole's Democratic opponent, John Simpson, had been flailing away at Dole for months without gaining any ground. Dole launched an impressive grassroots effort and easily won re-election to a third term in the Senate.

Dole found himself in the majority in 1981, the first time in his Washington career. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, however, he angered Reagan's supply-siders with his lack of enthusiasm for their philosophy and for successfully passing tax increases in 1982 (his Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act, or TEFRA). Dole's push for a tax increase to pay for the ballooning deficit prompted congressional upstart Newt Gingrich to call him the biggest "tax collector for the welfare state."

In November 1984, Dole campaigned within the Senate to succeed Tennessee's Howard Baker as Senate majority leader. Also running for the post were Republican Senators Pete Domenici (N.M.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), James McClure (Idaho) and Ted Stevens (Alaska). McClure, the most conservative of the group, had the backing of Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater and most thought he would win easily. Dole had the backing of moderates such as Missouri Senator John Danforth (who delivered the nominating speech for Dole), but Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina is credited with rounding up the conservative votes needed to give Dole a 28-25 victory over Ted Stevens on the fourth ballot. To celebrate his victory, Elizabeth and Robin Dole bought him a schnauzer from the humane society, named Leader.


1986 U.S. SENATE
REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

BOB DOLE (R)                228,301 84% 
SHIRLEY J. ASHLEY LANDIS (R) 42,237 16%

GENERAL
BOB DOLE (R)     576,902   70% 
GUY MCDONALD (D) 246,664   30%

Dole faced weak opposition again in 1986 (though enough of his Senate colleagues lost to put the Republicans back in the minority). Democratic Rep. Dan Glickman decided not to run for the seat and the Democratic party endorsed farm activist Darrell Ringer, who had lost a bid for Congress in 1984. However, Wichita investor Guy McDonald won the nomination. Guy McDonald ran on a vague platform of promising to "raise no new taxes and spend no money." He avoided large crowds, raised only $4,000 and didn't campaign. Dole raised $1.5 million and didn't have to campaign much, either.


1988 REPUBLICAN
PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES

Dole prepared himself well to succeed Ronald Reagan as president in 1988. For three years after Reagan's second presidential victory, Dole curried GOP support and campaign donations from Campaign America (which he had opened in 1978, and turned over to Dan Quayle in October 1995); he defended Reagan's agenda in the Senate and reached out to minorities and women.

Still, Dole was considered everyone's second choice behind the man with the closest ties to Ronald Reagan -- George Bush. On Nov. 9, 1987, Dole again returned to Russell, Kansas to officially announce his presidential bid. Bub Dawson, his friend from Dawson's drug store, presented Dole with the same cigar box in which the town collected funds to help offset medical costs of his war injuries. But this time it contained $135,000. Dole's ex-wife, Phyllis, sent wooden buttons: Dole '88.

[88 Debate]

Dole promised to make the Republican party more inclusive, attacked the federal deficit and took an early dig at Bush: "I offer a record, not a resume." Dole's campaign had many internal struggles and split into three camps: the Bill Brock (Reagan's labor secretary) camp; the Donald Devine, David Keene and true conservative camp; and the so-called Kansas mafia -- friends close to Dole from back home.

Brock rented an entire floor above the Dole campaign and hired twenty-five new aides at higher salaries than Dole loyalists. Tom Synhorst developed Dole's strategy for Iowa -- target the "little people" by speaking at dozens of small town meetings and avoid, at first, big newspapers and big Iowa business. "He's one of us," was Dole's campaign theme.

In contrast, Bush, who won Iowa in 1980, flew in on Air Force Two and received negative press for his staged events and imperial style. Tension between Dole and Bush elevated when the Bush campaign issued a press release accusing Dole of cronyism, mean-spiritedness, and raising ethical questions about Elizabeth Dole and her blind trust. Dole took the accusations about his wife personally and confronted Bush on the Senate floor (Bush was presiding on a controversial vote on aid to the Nicaraguan Contras). Dole demanded an apology, but never received one. Dole won the Iowa caucuses with 37.4 percent, Bush finished third with 18.6 percent, but the big news was that Pat Robertson had finished second with 24.6 percent.

[88 Campaign]

Robertson's second-place finish put him on the national political map, and Bush's poor showing led many political analysts to believe his presidential campaign was in serious trouble In New Hampshire, Dole's camp was split on what message to project (the conservative Bob Dole or the moderate Bob Dole?).

No message emerged. Dole gave a powerful speech before the state legislature, where he displayed a personal check he wrote to aid the Nicaraguan Contras (a highly symbolic conservative gesture that impressed the state lawmakers). However, Dole kept a much lower profile after that speech. Instead of speaking at high profile events, Dole issued a series of position papers on topics such as the environment and child-care, moderate to liberal issues. Dole's support began to slip.

Bush gained steam traveling around the state in a mobile home, meeting people, promising not to raise taxes. In the final weekend, New Hampshire Governor John Sununu persuaded several television stations to run a Bush campaign ad outlining Dole's waffle on the oil-import tax. The ad, titled "Senator Straddle," crushed Dole. He then performed poorly in the now famous debate where Pete du Pont handed him a piece of paper, saying it was a no-tax pledge, and asked him to sign it. Dole was baffled, but couldn't have signed the pledge if he wanted to -- with no use of his right arm, he would have needed to set the pledge on a table (or some other flat surface) to scratch his signature with his left hand.

[Chicago 88]

Dole lost to Bush in New Hampshire (Bush: 37.6 percent; Dole: 28.4 percent), and further hurt his image when he told George Bush on NBC's primary election special to "stop lying about my record." The media had a field day with the comment, replaying the clip often, until it became a trademark of the "mean" Bob Dole.

Dole went on to win South Dakota and Minnesota but prepared poorly for Super Tuesday. He spent much time and money in South Carolina, pursuing fellow veteran Sen. Strom Thurmond's endorsement. He received it, but the attention to South Carolina drained money from other states Dole hoped to win -- Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky.

Dole's campaign staff underwent a major shake-up on February 25, 1988. A long-running power struggle between Dole's conservative operatives (David Keene and Don Devine) and Bill Brock came to a head when Brock discovered a memo written by Keene to Dole outlining a plan to take over the campaign. Dole had asked Keene and Devine to help work out a new message on a flight to Florida. Brock jumped aboard the campaign plane, fired Keene and Devine at the first stop, Orlando, and left them on the tarmac at the next stop, Jacksonville. Brock held a press conference on the tarmac explaining his actions; Keene and Devine also called a press conference on the tarmac, explaining their side of the story. Brock was criticized for not understanding how presidential politics had changed since he worked on Nixon's campaign in 1972.

On Super Tuesday, Dole lost all 17 states. After going on to lose in Illinois and Wisconsin, Dole called a March 29 press conference in Washington to withdraw. Dole actively campaigned for Bush and let him know he or Elizabeth would be interested in the vice presidency. Neither got the call at the Republican convention in New Orleans.

A footnote: In 1988, Dole considered former Tennessee governor Lamar Alexander as a running mate. It was thought that Alexander, popular in the South, could have helped Dole win southern Super Tuesday states, and his anti-tax position would help in New Hampshire. Alexander reportedly met with Dole adviser Tom Rath in September 1987 to discuss the matter, liked the idea, and prepared a speech should Dole ask him to be his running mate. However, Dole never made Alexander an offer.


1992 U.S. SENATE
REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

BOB DOLE (R)               244,480   80% 
RICHARD WARREN RODEWALD (R) 59,586   20%

GENERAL
BOB DOLE (R)                706,246  63% 
GLORIA O'DELL (D)           349,525  31%
CHRISTINA CAMPBELL-CLINE (I) 45,423  4%

In early 1991 there was talk that Bob Dole was tiring of the Senate and mulling retirement. Rep. Dan Glickman (now Clinton's second Agriculture Secretary) gave serious thought to running for the seat, but backed down when Dole decided to run. Dole was not seriously challenged by Gloria O'Dell, a woman of little political experience, and spent much time campaigning for senators in other states.

O'Dell tried to make an issue of the federal largesse Dole steered to the state, asking if it wasn't Dole who fought so hard against the federal deficit in the 1980s. The attack didn't inflame Kansans and Dole won easily.


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