Former United States Senator (1969-1996)
TAPS Honorary Chairman
Robert Joseph Dole was born in Russell, Kan., in 1923. He was educated at the University of Kansas and Washburn University of Topeka before leaving college to join the military in World War II. He was severely wounded in Italy and left the military with a handicapped right arm. After returning, Dole graduated from college and law school magna cum laude.
In 1950, Dole was elected as a Republican representative to the Kansas state legislature. His two-year term was followed by four two-year terms as the prosecuting attorney of Russell County. In 1960, he won a seat as a Kansas representative to the Congress of the United States, serving from 1961 to 1969.
Dole ran on the Republican ticket for U.S. senator in 1968 and won easily. His aggressive partisan support of President Richard Nixon earned him the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee in 1971. By early 1973, however, he was at odds with Nixon's staff, and he resigned from the chairmanship. He married Elizabeth Hanford, who was then a member of the Federal Trade Commission, in 1975.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford asked Dole to be his vice-presidential running mate. The team was narrowly defeated. After an unsuccessful bid for the presidential nomination in 1980, he was elected to a third term as senator. He took over as the Senate majority leader in 1985, becoming minority leader in 1987 when the Republicans lost control of the Senate. Dole made another bid for his party's nomination to the presidency in 1988 but was defeated by George Bush. He was reelected as senator in 1992 and continued as minority leader of the Senate. In 1995, after the Republicans gained control of the Senate, Dole again was chosen as majority leader. In February 1995 Dole announced his intention to run for president in 1996. Dole resigned his Senate seat in June 1996 to devote his time exclusively to his presidential campaign. He was defeated, however, by incumbent President Bill Clinton.
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