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tv   Washington Journal Open Phones  CSPAN  December 6, 2021 1:51pm-2:20pm EST

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♪ host: headlines, with the topeka journal this morning, bob dole's rise to national prominence started in small-town kansas. he died at 98. this is the front page of the washington times. lifetime of service, war survivor, and pointman for republicans, veterans causes. this is the front page of another paper, war hero became a fixture in washington. washington post front page, gop senator got the votes, party leader with a neck for compromise, won the 1996 presidential nomination. from the new york times, gracias and savvy, dole led in a bipartisan era.
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taking your phone calls on the life and legacy of bob dole. want to start with president biden's statements on the life and legacy of bob dole. this was said yesterday, bob was an american statesman like few in our history, a war hero among the greatest of the greatest generation. the president said to me that he was also a friend he could look to for trusted guidance or humorous line at this -- at just the right moment. i will miss my friend, the president said, and i'm grateful for the time we shared and for the friendship our families build. bob was a man to be admired by americans. he had sensitivity and honor. may god bless him. he had a legacy of decency, legacy -- dignity, good humor, and patriotism. i want to bring in on the phone, richard norton smith, longtime friend of this network, historian, author, also the
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founding director of the rubber gentle institute for politics at the university of kansas. good morning to you, sir, thank you for the time this morning. your thoughts this morning on bob dole's legacy, dying at age 98. >> well, that is a very big subject. the president sent me a statement yesterday and quoted from something senator dole said back in the mid-1980's when he was for managing the legislation that created the martin luther king national birthday holiday, which is one of many dole accomplishments that people perhaps are not aware of. as i recall, the quote was, no first-class democracy would power some class -- second-class
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citizens. it really was a lifelong belief in one that was rooted in dole's upbringing. you know, it is tempting to see or define dole through his world war ii experiences, of course, his severe wounding and subsequent hospitalization, three years or more on both sides of the atlantic. but actually, bob dole's character, the character that enabled him to survive that ordeal and eventually overcome it and go into politics, first of the small-town level and then in the congress and eventually at a national level, that was something that preceded the war. that was something formed in immodest rhetoric, residents at the corner of 10th and maple streets in kansas and on the
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football field and track. as a young man, ironically, he wanted to be a doctor. the irony is he would spend a good deal of his life around doctors. one of them he never forgot was an armenian immigrant who, after the war, as a way of saying thank you to his adopted country performed medical procedures, operations, free of charge on badly wounded veterans, one of them being bob dole. that doctor sat him down at one point and said to him very candidly, you know, you have to understand what limitations, and effect, physically will be yours for the rest of your life, and you have to make the best of what do you have. dole took that advice to heart,
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never forgot the doctor's generosity. and i think, in his own way, he tried to give back, particular to veterans. long after he left the public eye, long after he was out of the senate, long after his presidential ambitions were behind him, dole made it his business -- he once told me, at least once a day, to do something for a veteran. there were veterans all over the country, particularly the world war ii generation but not limited to them, who looked up to him almost as their president , certainly as their representative and advocate. it gave him great pleasure to navigate the federal bureaucracy .
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it is something that meant a lot to him. host: mentioned his presidential ambitions. we talked about his 1990 six campaign. ran three times the presidency. this is what the editorial board of the wall street journal says about robert joseph dole today. history can be cruel to candidates for president who lose, but bob dole's contributions to american life far exceeded his failed campaigns for the white house. indeed, richard norton smith, we will play this clip later, but in his final speech on the senate floor, bob dole said, i would know more distance myself from the senate then i would for the united states herself. do you think bob dole ever regretted leaving the senate to run in 1996? >> i will tell you what he told me. he said later on that he never should have run in 1996, that
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he's year was 1988. of course, he won the iowa caucuses. for a few days, it looked like bob dole was going to be the republican presidential candidate. it'll collapsed over 48, 72 hours, and then new hampshire basically undid his hopes i think he missed the senate, to be sure, i think he left the senate. it was a very different senate though, you have to remember. i remember the first time we ever met, i had been working for a book for a kind of republican you could not find today, a classic rockefeller type. he and bob dole, turned out, were very good friends. also, when brooke lost his reelection bid in 1978, he
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talked to dole, who was looking for a speechwriter. an appointment was made. i went down to washington. we met for the first time and talked for maybe 15, 20 minutes. and i went downstairs to the cafeteria and 10 minutes later, they found me there and said he wants to hire you. i would not have predicted at that point, to be perfectly honest with you, given my own political feelings at the time, that it would have been the start of a 42-year friendship, both professional and personal. but i had the opportunity to see dole evolve, and especially -- remember, republicans took the senate for the first time since 1953, and suddenly, dole one from being in opposition figure who was releasing press releases
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to someone who was responsible for actual policymaking. and i think, in some ways, the 1980's for almost his best decade. i mean, social security was preserved through the device of a bipartisan commission because, needless to say, it was famously the third real of american politics, and no politician wanted to touch it. but the tax code was reformed in a massive way. as head of the finance committee, dole
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you could argue in some ways that he outlived the period when that kind of loyalty was, uh, was invariably considered to be
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an asset. but i think that the larger issue, the bipartisanship that dole practiced when he was republican leader of the senate, and then went on with achievements like the social security rescue, or the martin luther king birthday bill, that kind of bipartisanship has virtually disappeared, in part because the two parties are no longer themselves diverse collections. one essentially right of center, one left of center, but in both cases, including in their numbers liberal republicans and conservative democrats. that political system, if you will, is history. and you see it play itself out every day. dole used to say, president ford, who put dole on the ticket
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in 1976, you know, they were of a class of politicians that believed, even if you were in the minority, that at the end of the day voters will judge on their ability to get things done. increasingly in today's political system, it seems the opposite, the objective is to prevent things from being done. and that certainly is a kind of united states senate with which dole was -- of sympathy. host: before you go, would we know about bob dole's wishes for a where he would like to be buried? do you expect them to lie in the u.s. capitol? guest: i am not sure. the plans have evolved over time, but it is my understanding -- he once said to me the one
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thing he wanted on his tombstone was, bob dole, veteran. and i believe he will be laid to rest at arlington. host: richard norton smith, author, friend of the network, thank you for your time. guest: thank you for your interest. host: we are talking to our viewers on the death of bob dole, his legacy, lifetime of service. we want to hear from you. 202-748-8000 in the eastern or central time zones. 202-748-8001 in the mountain or pacific time zones. and a line for world war ii veterans and their family members, 202-748-8002. greg in colorado, but first on the phone lines. good morning -- up first on the phone lines. good morning. caller: thank you for having me.
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you guys are the best. i watch you every morning. i'm a democrat and it is refreshing to see a person like bob dole, who could get things done, did his job. he had morals, he had class. and something that is very rare to see in the republican party these days. and i notice you opened the show with him next to the former president, and couldn't be two different people, just like your guest said, could not agree with him more. we need more republicans like bob dole that will do something, do their job. and i thank him and to c-span. sen. dole: -- host: thank you. hallie on the line for world war ii veterans and family members, good morning. caller: yes, well, that was
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awesome you had mr. smith speaking. he is incredible. i'm late daughter of a world war ii veteran who was an army navigator in the pacific. on one occasion i went to the world war ii memorial in d.c., and i went with my dear friend, whose father was a prisoner of war in germany, he fought in the european phase of world war ii. anyway, we show up and senator dole is there greeting people. i guess he did that several times a week, it became a passion for him to greet the visitors at the memorial, so i actually got to shake his hand. and just interact with him briefly. and he was so charming. and i miss that era of republicans. i was a longtime republican, longtime gone from the party. i guess you would call me a
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charlie baker republican. but there is no place for me in the party these days. but i miss that era of, of funny, compromising, decent and um, his marriage to misses dole, she is a force to be reckoned with in her own right. and i admired senator dole, i guess, more than anybody in public life. of all the icons, he was one of them. thanks for taking my call. host: carolyn in ohio, same line, what were to veterans and family members. caller: good morning, i wanted to copy the previous caller's sentiments. my father was a woodward to veteran, a pilot. it's amazing that i am finding out so much that dole dated --
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did just recently. and it is so impressive. my father was also a republican, a political man, however they called dole. the coincidences in younger days. my father looks so much like dole, and he has been gone for 10 years, but i appreciate the time it gives me to remember my father. and i will also be thinking about dole, too. sen. dole: carolyn in ohio. host: that number for world war ii veterans and family members, 202-748-8002. on that front, after the world war ii memorial opened in 2004, the washington post notes today, bob dole visited two or three times a week, creating veterans are quietly standing by. he also pressed for the opening of the nearby dwight d. eisenhower memorial, honoring a
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fellow kansan. it was bob dole in 2009, alongside his wife, talking about their efforts to open the world war ii memorial on the mall. here is a portion of his remarks. [video clip] sen. dole: they give us $5 million to start up. we have interest, of course. we raised a lot of money. is it something we should have done? i do not know. in 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, it will be like the world war i memorial, nobody even knows where it is. but they will finally recognize what our fathers did. and improve the world war i memorial. a lot of people, not a lot, but some would not give us money because they did not give the bricks and mortar. others, i remember a big
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corporate giant who said, this does not fit our guidelines. and i said, world war ii didn't fit our guidelines either. [laughter] and all we are asking is you recognize, you know, people, your customers and others, your workers -- but anyway, it is built, it is wonderful and we have a great program called honor flight. it's where if your father or grandfather wants to make the trip, it is the most emotional thing that ever happened, and you will have tears in your eyes all day, but i tried to meet every flight that comes. yesterday, we had i think about six states. a week ago, 11 states with 800 veterans. it's such a wonderful thing to be there and to see these, i did not want to see old guys, but
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they have gotten older. [laughter] and -- what fun they are having. it's not all gloom and doom and people sit around a box of kleenex. they generally do, but they have a lot of fun. and they are proud of what they did. you know, where would we be without that generation? and, uh, some of these other languages are hard to learn. [laughter] >> they are. [applause] sen. dole: and we -- i know, i took german at ku and fortunately i was seated next to a guy who was a straight a student, so i got a b. [laughter] i did do a little bad. but -- >> that is in fun. that is teasing.
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[laughter] >> no, it is true. host: delete senator dole from a 2009 event at the university of kansas. that event, in its entirety, is in our c-span video library at other comments from capitol hill. this is jerry moran. his tweet yesterday, "i used senator dole's desk and i am reminded of his commitment to kansas values, while being a statesman, treating others with respect and kindness." from roger marshall, "senator dole was a statesman of the highest order and one of the great legislators of all time. most important, he was forever a kansan who put service above self. i join them in holding the entire family in our prayers." other tweets, chuck grassley
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saying, "bob took me under his wing an i couldd not have had a better senator to learn from. god bless the great bob dole." and from senator bernie sanders, "bob served his country with courage on the battlefield and dignity in the senate. we set our condolences to his family." mitt romney, saying, "when i think of the greatest generation, i think of bob dole, a man who dedicated his life to serving our country. rest in peace. we will be praying for his family and loved ones." other statements yesterday, from former president donald trump, "bob dole was an american war hero and a true patriot for our nation. he served kansas with honor. and the republican party was made stronger by his service. our prayers are with elizabeth and his family members." we will go through more reaction, more statements for
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you, throughout this first hour, but we want to also hear from you on our phone lines. and we have a special line for world war ii veterans and family members. that number is 202-748-8002. this is kurt in akron, ohio. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. um, my first election that i voted in, the first presidential election was 1996, and i was 19 years old. i voted against bob dole, not because i dislike him, i just disagreed with his policies compared to what, at the time, president clinton was talking about. when you're in college, you tend to lean liberal anyway, i never lost respect for the man. when he made his farewell address to the senate earlier that summer of 1996, i watched that in real time on c-span and
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i remember at the age of 19, thinking, that is one of the greatest speeches i've ever seen a politician give. two years after he left office, after he lost the presidency, he came to speak where i was going to school and spoke to the student body at kent state, which at that time was unheard of for a republican to come to a college or university that was so historically known for its antiwar, anti-republican activities from 1970. but i want to say that i really have a lot of respect for bob dole, i always did. i did not agree with him, but even at a young age i had a lot of respect for him. i told my mom and dad yesterday, i feel like another part of my youth died yesterday because, like i said, that was my first presidential election, and even though i did not vote for him, that was part of my early voting
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experiences -- i'm choking up now -- the clinton/dole campaign and i feel like jack kemp is gone now, ross perot, bob dole -- my gosh, 1976, jimmy carter is the only one left. and that cannot be because jerry ford is gone, we are all getting older, but these people should not be forgotten. and i really think that democrats and republicans can take a lesson from these people like bob dole, who -- host: do you remember how he was received by the students when he came to speak during that time, do you remember? caller: i was part of the college democrats at the time, and i remember the college democrats were respectful, they saw the speech and they did not heckle or anything. but it was a different time, too . for me, for the people i was
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with, we were there to see him, paying homage to him for his 50 years of service to the country. because we respected it. we did not agree with it, but we respected it. that is what is lacking today. in 25 or 30 years, it is not that long ago in the grand scheme of history, but it does seem a long time ago today, that, you know, we were respectful, at least those i was with. i cannot speak for anybody else, but for me, it was one of those things that -- i put bob dole as one of the great republicans of all time. >> mr. president, thank you for having me here today. i'm so honored to be here to


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