Bob Dole, who overcame grievous Second World War combat wounds to become a pre-eminent figure in U.S. politics as a longtime Republican senator from Kansas and his party’s unsuccessful 1996 presidential nominee, died on Sunday. He was 98.
Dole, known for a wit that ranged from self-deprecating to caustic, died in his sleep, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation said. Dole announced in February that he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and would begin treatment.
“It is with heavy hearts we announce that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning,” the foundation said in a statement on Twitter. “He had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years.”
Dole sought the presidency three times and was the Republican Party’s nominee in 1996 but lost to Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton. Dole was his party’s vice-presidential nominee in 1976 on a ticket headed by incumbent President Gerald Ford, but they lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter and his running mate, Walter Mondale.
Dole, known for referring to himself in the third person, made a classic American journey from the poverty of the Great Depression of the 1930s, through Second World War battlefields to the corridors of power with a stoic Midwestern dignity.
He represented Kansas in Congress for 35 years: 1961 to 1969 in the House of Representatives and 1969 to 1996 in the U.S. Senate. Dole helped shepherd then-president Ronald Reagan’s legislative agenda as Senate majority leader in the 1980s and spearheaded important legislation of his own.
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