Dole Institute Marks ‘s Dole’s 90th Birthday
July 22, 2013

(AP) – Residents are being invited to the University of Kansas in Lawrence to help mark the 90th birthday of former Sen. Bob Dole and celebrate his life of public service.

The event Monday will be held at the Dole Institute of Politics where the former Republican U.S. senator’s archives are housed. The institute opened in 2003.

Dole is not expected to attend.

Dole served in the U.S. Senate from 1969 until 1996, when he retired to run for president but lost to Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton. Dole is a World War II veteran who served in Europe, where he was severely wounded in battle in Italy.

Activities scheduled for the birthday celebration include serving cupcakes, making political buttons and the signing of a card wishing Dole a happy birthday.

Dole May Leave Hospital Today According to an Aide
November 28, 2012

Kansas political legend Bob Dole may be checked out of Walter Reed hospital today, according to an aide. The aide said Dole was in for a routine visit.
News of the 89 year old former Senator’s hospitalization was confirmed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Tuesday.
CBS News is reporting Dole expects to be released Wednesday.
Longtime senator and 1996 presidential candidate Bob Dole has been hospitalized because he’s sick. “He is at Walter Reed not for a checkup,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “He is there because he is infirm. He is sick.” Dole has been trying to overcome a leg infection for three years, the Associated Press reports. The former Kansas senator is 89 and was seriously injured in World War II.
In September, he wrote an essay for The Washington Post about “life after losing.” Dole wrote, “Sure, losing an election hurts, but I’ve experienced worse. And at an age when every day is precious, brooding over what might have been is self-defeating.”
Dole dominated Kansas politics for a generation. He was also a national leader for the GOP.
He represented Kansas in the US Senate from 1969 until 1996 when he resigned to run for President against President Bill Clinton. Clinton defeated him easily to win a second term.

Iowa Guv Says It’s Time to Kill the Straw Poll
November 21, 2012

The Ames Straw Poll, a presidential election tradition, has passed its prime, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad told The Wall Street Journal.
“I think the straw poll has outlived its usefulness,” Branstad told the Journal for its Tuesday story. “It has been a great fundraiser for the party, but I think its days are over.”
The event last year precipitated the end of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s campaign and briefly gave Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) some momentum. Its history indicates that there’s little correlation between who wins the straw poll and who eventually secures the nomination: The Journal noted that in 33 years, the winner of the straw poll has gone on to win the Iowa caucuses and then the party’s nomination only twice: in 1995, with Sen. Bob Dole; and 1999, with President George W. Bush.
“You saw what happened the last time,” Branstad said in the story. “I don’t think candidates will spend the time or money to participate in a straw poll if they don’t see any real benefit coming out of it.”
The Iowa GOP chairman swung back.
“Gov. Branstad is wrong, and this is not a decision he will make, anyway,” said A.J. Spiker in the Journal. “It is a decision the party and the candidates will make.”

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Russell, Ks. Other Senator, Arlen Specter, Dies at 82, Authored JFK ‘ Single Bullet’ Theory
October 14, 2012

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter has died, according to the Associated Press. He was 82.

Specter — who served as a Republican in the Senate from 1980 until he famously switched allegiance to the Democratic Party in 2009 and lost his primary the following year — had battled with poor health for a number of years, and was treated for Hodgkin’s disease in 2005 and cancer in 2008.

The longest-serving senator in Pennsylvania’s history was born in Wichita, Kansas, on Feb. 12, 1930, to Harry and Lillie Specter. When Specter was four years old, his father — who emigrated from Ukraine — took his youngest son to meet the Wichita sheriff, who told the youngster he would make him a deputy sheriff. Harry Specter sent a photo of Arlen sporting the sheriff’s badge to “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” and in 1934, a picture made it into the publication with the caption that Arlen was the youngest deputy sheriff in history, Specter wrote in his 2000 autobiography “A Passion for Truth.”

The Specter family later moved to the small town of Russell, Kansas, where Arlen graduated from high school in 1947. Russell is also the hometown of former Kansas Senator Bob Dole.
Specter went off to the University of Oklahoma before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania to be closer to his family, which had moved to Philadelphia to find his sister a Jewish husband, Specter wrote. Specter spent his college years on the debate team and as a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity, and he met his future wife Joan at a dance during his sophomore year. Specter took Joan to a Saturday night party at a fraternity house for their first date in the fall of 1949, he told the Penn Current in 2011. He graduated from Penn in 1951 with a degree in international relations.

Specter then served stateside in the United States Air Force from 1951 to 1953 as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, according to Specter’s senate website. Joan and Specter married in 1953, just months before he entered Yale Law School. He went on to graduate in 1956 and began to practice law in Philadelphia after passing the bar. His career before joining the political fray included opening a law practice, Specter & Katz, and a stint as assistant district attorney of Philadelphia.

“Sometimes I am asked what is the best job I ever had, senator or district attorney, and I say assistant district attorney. That is where there is a great deal of experience,” Specter said in 2005.

But Specter soon entered the political sphere — in 1964, he served on the Warren Commission as assistant counsel, investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy and famously authoring the “single-bullet theory” that supported the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman in Dallas.

The following year, Specter was elected to serve as District Attorney of Philadelphia, a position he held until 1974. He was a registered Democrat at the time, but beat the incumbent and switched to the Republican Party, The American Spectator noted in an article about Specter’s book “Life Among the Cannibals.”

“I was the first Republican candidate to ever win the backing of Americans for Democratic Action,” Specter wrote in the book. “… I was apprehensive about running on the Republican ticket, which was almost like changing my religion.”

He lost his bid for a third term in 1973 and made his first run for Senate three years later, losing the primary to Sen. John Heinz. In 1978, Specter sought the governorship — and again lost the primary. But in 1980, he made a successful run and was elected to the Senate.

“Unlike nearly all the other fifteen Republicans elected to the Senate in 1980,” Specter wrote in “Life Among the Cannibals,” “I did not fly in on Reagan’s coattails as part of ‘the Reagan revolution,’ but in some ways in spite of it.”

The essential contradiction for Specter was that he was an obvious political opportunist but saw himself as a principled man buffeted by a changing world.

His famous Scottish Law rationale in Clinton’s impeachment captured both this and his intellectual vanity which could make him seem a bit of a fool. That said he belonged to a moderate school of Republicans that once had their place in the Senate—and were a real force. He was a strong proponent of abortion rights—something you don’t see any more especially from a Republican who had a huge influence over health and education spending. NIH owes Specter a lot, and he pursued money for medical research often at the expense of other priorities some would argue. He was a huge pork barrel artist too, and at the height of earmarks, the clerks would say that the Labor HHS budget was really two bills: the appropriations and then the earmarks.

On the issues, Specter was a moderate who opposed most gun control, supported a woman’s right to choose, voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and voted in favor of authorizing the Iraq War.

One of Specter’s biggest splashes on the political stage came in 1991, when he toughly questioned Anita Hill during the hearings on Clarence Thomas’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Specter accused Hill of committing “flat-out perjury” as she testified that Thomas had sexually harassed her.

He also openly criticized the Republican Party in 1999 for impeaching President Bill Clinton in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and declared that his verdict was “not proven.”

And — at what would turn out to mark the beginning of the end of his long career — Specter again broke with his party in 2009 to vote in support of President Barack Obama’s stimulus. Then he made the decision to permanently break with the Republican Party.

The Pennsylvania senator announced he would switch parties on April 28, 2009, saying he felt the Republican Party had swung too far to the right.

“I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans,” Specter said in a statement.

And in 2010, Specter’s long political career came to its stunning end with a loss in the Democratic primary to Rep. Joe Sestak. Sestak attacked Specter for his Republican past and for switching parties “to save one job: His, not yours.”

While Republicans were furious at Specter in the aftermath of his party switch, many remembered him as a tenacious senator who seemed to insert himself prominently into the debates dominating Congress. Pointing out that Specter’s roots were from neighboring Kansas, Missouri GOP Sen. Roy Blunt noted the bond between the two states was strong.

“He gave a lot of dedicated service to the country,” Blunt said. “I didn’t always agree with him, but I was always amazed by his determination to be in the fight, to be in the debate, to look for a position that made him a significant factor in whatever discussion was going on.”

David Urban, Specter’s former chief of staff, remembered the former senator as “the toughest, smartest guy in the room.”

“People may find controversial some of the positions he took, but the guy was incredibly hard working, incredibly smart, incredibly dedicated to the job,” Urban said. “… If you were involved in litigation you’d pick the toughest, smartest lawyer to litigate your case in front of a jury and that’s Arlen Specter. He’s the toughest smartest guy in the room.”

Dole Stands Up for Romney’s Credentials on Foreign Policy
October 8, 2012

Mitt Romney’s campaign is touting a quote from former GOP presidential nominess and kansas Senator bob Dole on Romney’s foreign policy.
Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole today made the following statement on Mitt Romney’s foreign policy speech:

“Governor Romney has presented a clear vision for a new American century. By honoring the principles that have guided our Republic, he leaves no uncertainty or ambiguity about our exceptional role in the world. The world needs America back. And Mitt Romney has provided us that badly needed direction and resolve to restore our standing in the world.”