Bob Dole

American politician

Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole (born July 22, 1923) is an American statesman,[1] and he is a former United States Senator from Kansas. He was the Republican leader of the Senate from 1985 to 1996. In 1996, he ran against Bill Clinton for President and lost. After that, he retired from politics at the age of 72.

Bob Dole
Bob Dole, PCCWW photo portrait.JPG
Dole in 2005.
United States Senator
from Kansas
In office
January 3, 1969 – June 11, 1996
Preceded byFrank Carlson
Succeeded bySheila Frahm
15th United States Senate Majority Leader
In office
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1987
Preceded byHoward H. Baker, Jr.
Succeeded byRobert Byrd
18th United States Senate Majority Leader
In office
January 3, 1995 – June 11, 1996
Preceded byGeorge J. Mitchell
Succeeded byTrent Lott
15th United States Senate Minority Leader
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byRobert Byrd
Succeeded byTom Daschle
Personal details
Robert Joseph Dole

(1923-07-22) July 22, 1923 (age 97)
Russell, Kansas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)(1) Phyllis Holden, divorced
(2) Elizabeth Dole
Law SchoolWashburn University, 1952

In 2019, the U.S. Congress passed a bill promoting the 95-year-old Dole from Captain to Colonel. They did this to honor his service during World War II.[2][3]

In 1976, Gerald Ford chose him to be his Vice Presidential choice for the November, 1976 election. They lost the election; Bob Dole never became Vice President.

Shortly after the 1996 election, he famously appeared in a Pepsi commercial, saying, "I just cannot win." He has also done commercials for Viagra.

Dole has a habit of talking in the third person, or using his own name instead of "I" when he talks about himself. This habit is the basis for many jokes about Dole.

Early life and educationEdit

Dole was born on July 22, 1923, in Russell, Kansas. He is the son of Binta M. (née Talbott; 1904–1983) and Doran Ray Dole (1901–1975).[4]

Dole graduated from Russell High School in the spring of 1941.[5] He went to the University of Kansas starting in Fall 1941.[6] Dole's college studies were stopped by World War II. He enlisted in the United States Army.[7]

Dole attended the University of Arizona from 1948 to 1949. He then went to Washburn University and graduated with both undergraduate and law degrees in 1952.[8]

Early political careerEdit

Dole ran for office for the first time in 1950. He was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. He served a two-year term.[9]

In 1952, he became the County Attorney of Russell County.[10]

Congressional careerEdit

U.S. HouseEdit

In 1960, Dole was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Kansas' 6th Congressional District.[11] He served till 1969, when he became a Senator.

U.S. SenateEdit

Dole meeting with President Nixon in 1969. Photo by Oliver F. Atkins.

In 1968, Dole defeated Kansas Governor William H. Avery for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate. Dole was re-elected in 1974, 1980, 1986, and 1992. He resigned on June 11, 1996, to focus on his Presidential campaign.[12]

While in the Senate, Dole was the chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1971–73. He was the ranking Republican on the Agriculture Committee from 1975–78. He was the chairman of the Finance Committee from 1981–85.[13][14][15]

Senate Republican LeaderEdit

He was also, perhaps more importantly, the Senate Republican Leader 1985 to 1996 (and conseqencially, the Senate Minority Leader from 1987-1995 and the Senate Majority Leader from 1985-1987 and 1995-1996).

Presidential campaignsEdit

Dole with President Bill Clinton during the 1996 presidential debates

1976 Presidential ElectionEdit

In 1976, President Gerald Ford (a Republican from Michigan) decided to make then-Senator Bob Dole his running mate. During the campaign, Dole made the unpopular remark that all wars in America had been caused by Democrats. This may have partially accounted for their narrow loss to the Democratic ticket (for president, Gov. Jimmy Carter of Georgia; for vice president, Sen. Walter Mondale of Minnesota).

1996 Presidential ElectionEdit

In 1996, Dole was finally nominated for president, choosing as his running mate Jack Kemp, a footballer from New York State. He lost to Bill Clinton, and his running mate Al Gore (of Tennessee), who were running for a second term.

Personal lifeEdit

Dole married Phyllis Holden in 1948, three months after they met. Their daughter, Robin, was born on October 15, 1954. Dole and Holden divorced January 11, 1972.[16] Holden died on April 22, 2008.

Dole met his second wife, Elizabeth, in 1972. The couple were married on December 6, 1975. They have no children.


Dole was hospitalized in November 2012 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.[17] On September 13, 2017, Dole was hospitalized at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for low blood pressure.[18] He stayed for 24 hours before returning home.[19]

In February 2021, Dole said he was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer.[20]


  1. "Bob Dole To Receive Congressional Gold Medal". Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  2. "House Unanimously Passes Bill to Promote Sen. Dole to Army Colonel". U.S House of Representatives. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  3. Wagner, John (April 8, 2019). "Trump signs bill raising Bob Dole's military rank to colonel". Stars and Stripes. The Washington Post. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  4. "Ancestry of Robert Dole (b. 1923)". Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  5. "Hebron High School 1914 Alumni". Archived from the original on May 30, 2005.
  6. "Bob Dole". Kansas State Historical Society. April 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  7. Lynn, Jenkins, (July 20, 2017). "Text - H.R.3332 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Bob Dole Congressional Gold Medal Act". Retrieved June 6, 2018.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  8. "DOLE, Robert Joseph | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  9. "Dillard to Dyck, Kansas Legislators Past and Present, State Library of Kansas". Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
  10. "A Political Life: Dole's Kansas Years". Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  11. Kolbert, Elizabeth (May 19, 1996). "A POLITICAL LIFE: The Kansas Years;On the Kansas Prairie, the Window to Dole". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  12. "Dole resigns from Senate to focus on presidential bid, June 11, 1996". POLITICO. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  13. "Senator Roberts Makes History, Becoming Top Republican on Senate Agriculture Committee | The United States Senate Committee On Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry". Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  14. Eisele, Al (February 7, 2012). "Bob Dole: Still a Man to be Reckoned With". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  15. "Bob Dole elected Senate Republican leader, Nov. 28, 1984". POLITICO. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  16. "Washington Post profile, Dole's Ex-Wife Still Puzzled by Divorce". August 7, 1996.
  17. "Bob Dole Hospitalized". ABC News. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  18. Singman, Brooke (September 22, 2017). "Bob Dole hospitalized at Walter Reed". Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  19. "Bob Dole released from hospital: Reunited with his dogs and ready for a cocktail". ABC News. October 6, 2017.
  20. "Bob Dole Has Advanced Lung Cancer, He Says in a Statement". The New York Times. February 18, 2021. Retrieved February 18, 2021.