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Dole Portrait Unveiling

 

Bob Dole by Everett Raymond KinstlerBob Dole Portrait Unveiling Video
Bob Dole Portrait Unveiling Video (captioned)
Senator Bill Frist- Introductory Remarks
Senator George Mitchell- Introductory Remarks
Senator Warren Rudman- Introductory Remarks
Rod DeArment- Introductory Remarks
Senator Bob Dole
Senator Harry Reid- Closing Remarks

 

Senator Bill Frist- Introductory Remarks

Good afternoon. It's an honor to be here today, and it's a special honor for me to welcome back a leader whose title I share but whose service will never be rivaled.

Ten years ago, Bob Dole stepped down from the office I now hold, and he left invaluable words to all who would follow. He said, "You do not lay claim to the office you hold. It lays claim to you. Your obligation is to bring to it gifts you can of labor and honesty and then depart with grace."

To congress and to the office of majority leader, Bob Dole brought the gifts of labor and honesty. But what he also brought was an invaluable perspective. It was a perspective of a fighter. It was the mind-set of the greatest generation–the generation who fought on the battlefield, on the farm field, in factory–so America might rise.

From the humble plains of Kansas, Bob Dole learned the value of fighting one's way up in the world through hard and honest work. And from the battlefields of war, he learned that the freedoms we enjoy– the very freedoms that enable a boy from Kansas to dream big and succeed–were to be fought for at any price.

To this day, Bob Dole has never stopped fighting for the America he believed in. Ardently, he fought for a better life for all Americans–for the disadvantaged, for Americans with disabilities, for the hard-working farmer trying to raise a family. And always he has stood tall for America's veterans. For those who made the ultimate sacrifice, Bob Dole fought to ensure their sacrifice was never forgotten.

And it was that passion that paved the way to the construction of the World War II Memorial on the Mall. At the dedication to that memorial in 2004, Bob Dole said to the audience: "What we learned in the foreign fields of battle, we applied in post-war America. As a result of our democracy, though imperfect, is more nearly perfect than in the days of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt."

Bob, today I say to you, our democracy is more nearly perfect because of you. America is a better place because you've been here fighting on our side. From the battlefield to the Senate floor, thank you for fighting for America.

[applause]

 
Senator George Mitchell- Introductory Remarks

Senator Frist, Senator Reid, Senator Dole the first, Senator Dole the current, friends and family of both Senators Dole and colleagues, for six years I was privileged to serve as Senate majority leader.

Bob has been in the Senate much longer than I had, knew a lot more, and so I understood that I could learn a lot from him, as I'd learned from my immediate predecessor, Senator Robert Byrd. I told Bob that I looked forward to working with him, and we quickly agreed on a simple set of rules that would guide our relationship. We would not surprise or embarrass each other. We would try to work together in good faith whenever possible. But when we couldn't, we would say so candidly. And always we'd let the Senate decide.

For six years, we lived by those rules. There were many difficult issues, some tense times, we disagreed often on substance and on process, but we never let a harsh word pass between us, in public or in private. And this is true to this day. Never in our lifetimes has a harsh word passed between us. We believed in and we trusted each other. All of this was possible because of Bob Dole's essential integrity and his love for the Senate.

Bob's word was his bond. Never, ever did he tell me anything that was untrue. Never did he go back on his word. He was more experienced, more knowledgeable, more savvy than I was, so it would not have been unreasonable for him to spurn my offer of cooperation. But he didn't. Not because of me but because of who he was and is.

Born and raised in Russell, Kansas, he acquired early in life the tone and the values of the American Midwest. So he's always had intense loyalty to his faith, to his family, to his country. His patriotism was tested and found not wanting in the fire of the second World War. In the most direct and unforgettable way, he learned first hand the horror of war. But he also learned why some wars must be fought in the defense of freedom.

A long and painful rehabilitation gave him time to try to understand why he would forever bear the scars of war. But it also gave him time to think of how he could best serve the country he was so proud to defend. The result was a distinguished political career which is so well-known to everyone here that I won't try to recite it except to say that Bob Dole brought honor and integrity to every office he ever held.

One of Bob's many strengths is his sense of humor, his ability to defuse tension with a light comment, to find a laugh in even the most dark and difficult times. I've been the butt of many of his jokes.

[laughter]

And I can testify that he does it in such a nice way that makes even the butt laugh.

[laughter]

Our relationship was forged in many long days and nights in the Senate negotiating over the substance and the process of legislation. We usually met in my office or his. As many visitors to our offices noted at the time, his office was a bit bigger than mine. So I often was asked: How come the minority leader has a bigger office that the majority leader? I always replied that he was entitled to it because he was a leader before I was.

After I left the Senate, I joined a law firm. Two years later, we were reunited when Bob joined the same firm. This is our–second reuniting in recent years. And when I got there, I couldn't help notice that while I was tucked away in a tiny office near the attic–[laughter]–he had literally a whole floor for himself and his huge entourage. And I was really bothered when I learned that he had brought along to the law firm his little dog, Leader, and the dog had a bigger office than I had.

[laughter]

So I asked him about it. And he laughed and he said, "He's entitled to it because he was leader before you were."

[laughter]

Well, it's a real honor for me to be here today to join Bob's wife and family and friends in paying tribute to a great and a remarkable American. Bob Dole is to me a colleague, a mentor, and most importantly a friend. Congratulations, Bob. It's a pleasure to be reunited with you again, as we both hang on the wall of this great institution–hidden away in the lobby, where no one will be able to see us–an institution which means so much to both of us and to which you devoted so much of your life.

And speaking of colleagues and friends, it's now my pleasure to introduce Senator Warren Rudman of New Hampshire. Warren, Bob, and I served together in the Senate and Warren and I have worked together in several capacities since then. We served on a committee, and after exposure to Senator Rudman for a couple of months, one member of the committee said that Senator Rudman appears to have reached the age at which he's willing to say anything, regardless of the consequences.

[laughter]

I replied that actually Senator Rudman reached that point at the age of nine and the rest of us had been dealing with the consequences ever since.

[laughter]

Senator Rudman?

[applause]

 
Senator Warren Rudman- Introductory Remarks

Thank you, George. Bob, Elizabeth, and Robin, colleagues, friends and family of Bob Dole, when I was preparing for today, I thought about Bob Dole's extraordinary record in the Senate and thought of speaking about his many accomplishments. But they are a matter of record with which all of you are very familiar.

For me, when I think of my years of friendship with Bob, there are two endearing qualities that are always uppermost in my mind. First, I will forever marvel at the self-deprecating wit of this great American from the heartland. Second, I have deeply admired his dedication to the principles and values of this great country. What better way to share with you my thoughts than to do so in Bob Dole's own words?

Thus let me read to you two excerpts from his wonderful memoir, "One Soldier's Story." First, his wonderful wit, in this case, given at a most solemn occasion at one of our country's most important places.

Here are Bob's words. "Maintaining a healthy sense of humor is a key to overcoming any setback in life, even when your setbacks are extremely public. In my speech at the White House after accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Clinton just a few months after I lost the election to him, I began as though taking the oath of office. 'I, Robert J. Dole. . .' I paused as the august crowd of political leaders and members of the press immediately caught on and roared in laughter. '. . .do solemnly swear. . .' I continued, without breaking a smile to gales of laughter. I looked up as though surprised. 'Sorry, wrong speech.' The crowd roared again. 'But I had a dream. . .' The audience chuckled at my allusion to Martin Luther King Jr. '. . .that I would be here this historic week receiving something from the President. But I thought it would be the front door key to the White House.' I looked over and the President himself was doubled over with laughter." And for those of you that missed that occasion, it truly was a remarkable display of Bob Dole's humor.

Secondly, his devotion to the principles and values that George Mitchell referred to that Bob Dole holds so dear. Again, in Bob's own words. "Nearly 60 years ago, after I headed up Hill 913, I concluded my speech at the dedication ceremony of the National World War II Memorial by saying: "It is only fitting that when this memorial was opened to the public, the very first visitors were schoolchildren. For them, our war is ancient history and those who fought it are slightly ancient themselves. Yet in the end, they are the ones for whom we built this shrine and to whom we now hand the baton in the unending relay of human possibility . Certainly the heroes represented by the 4,000 gold stars of the Freedom Wall need no monument to commemorate their sacrifice. They are known to God and to their fellow soldiers, who will mourn their passing until the day of our own. In their name, we dedicate this place of meditation, and it is in their memory that I ask you to stand, if possible, and join me in a moment of silent tribute to remind us all that sometime in our life we have or may be called upon to make a sacrifice for our country to preserve liberty and freedom."

Bob, it was an extraordinary privilege to work with you in the Senate and I'm deeply honored to have had this opportunity to be with you and to speak in your behalf today.

[applause]

Now I'm pleased to introduce a longtime friend and senior staff member of Bob Dole's, Rod DeArment.

 
Rod DeArment- Introductory Remarks

Good afternoon. Shortly after I joined the Senate Finance Committee staff, where I started working for Senator Dole, he asked me to travel with him on a series of speeches on the subject of the crude oil windfall profit tax. My job was to explain the mechanics of the –of the tax. And at the first event, as Senator Dole gave introductory remarks and I launched into a review of the structure of the tax, complete with charts and a pointer. Midway through my presentation, Senator Dole slipped a note on to the podium, and I glanced down as I was Speaking and –and thought it said "more detail." So I dug in and I gave a more thorough explanation of the base prices, tertiary wells, stripper well, et cetera. When I sat down and I looked more closely at the note, I realized it said, "move faster."

[laughter]

Well, in time, I learned brevity and to read Senator Dole's handwriting better.

As I contemplated this unveiling today, I thought about all the qualities Senator Dole has that that are nearly impossible for an artist to fully capture, no matter how skillful the artist is. For example, how can an artist truly reflect Senator Dole's warm friendliness that was evident to all the staff around this Capitol, from the guards at the door he greeted each morning, to the cloakroom team, to the restaurant workers, to the staffers–some of whom are here–that sat on the back of the couches and were amused by Senator Dole's comments as he passed by?

It's hard to capture his quick wit and his spontaneous humor. Much of his humor was self-deprecating, as Senator Rudman indicated. Hundreds of times he told the story of his life about how he planned to study medicine. He went away to war, suffered a head injury and went into politics.

[laughter]

His humor was never mean, and I can tell you, his quick wit rescued me more than once from fierce cross-examination trying to defend things at the chair at the Senate Finance Committee. It's also hard to capture his boundless energy. He seemed to revel in early morning breakfasts and late-night sessions. As we approach this August recess, I recall how many August recesses Senator Dole threatened to cancel if we didn't finish a particular bill. Nearly every August recess there was that threat.

Finally, how can an artist capture Senator Dole's perseverance, tenacity and spirit? He never seemed to give up on bills he thought worthwhile. He just kept working. When a bill got hung up, his instruction always was, "work it out."

[laughter]

TEFRA in 1982 was a tribute to both Senator Dole's legislative skill and his never-say-die tenacity. Now, before I get another note from the Senator about moving faster, I would like to introduce the subject today of this grand portrait, Senator Dole.

[applause]

 
Senator Bob Dole

Thank you.

[applause]

Thank you.

[applause]

Thank you. Well, first I want to thank everybody for being here and particularly Senator Frist and Senator Reid, Senator Rudman, Senator Mitchell, my good friend Rod. And it's–you know, as Barbara Mikulski said as she walked by, "I wouldn't miss this hanging for the world."

[laughter]

And some of my colleagues have been waiting for years to nail me to the wall. So. . .

[laughter]

And I remind you of an old axiom: "Beware of what you wish for." In fact, I understand, as Senator Mitchell has indicated, that I'm to be hung in the Senate lobby–out of sight from the public but not far from where distinguished members have been known to lie down and take a nap.

So if nothing else, I'll be there to disturb your sleep.

[laughter]

I also, want to thank the artist for doing something that eluded a host of high-priced campaign consultants and spin doctors: making me look presidential.

[laughter]

Mr. Kinstler certainly made the most of what he had to work with. It calls to mind the story of Abraham Lincoln, who was running for the Senate from Illinois against Stephen A. Douglas. At one point in the campaign, Douglas called his opponent two-faced. "I leave it to you," Lincoln told the audience. "If I had two faces, do you really think I would use this one?"

[laughter]

I know that actually happened because I was in the audience. So. . .

[laughter]

Coming back to this place is more than an exercise in nostalgia. If it feels like a homecoming–and it does–it is because of two families to whom I owe so much. Elizabeth, Robin, Gloria, my sister Norma Jean, and Gladys, my sister Gloria, of all the blessings bestowed on me, none can match your love and support. I want to thank you for being here today and for being there whenever in the past.

And then there is the Senate family. And like most families, it sometimes appears dysfunctional to those outside its ranks. So doubt could be a little–no doubt it could be a little more efficient, maybe a little less verbose. But we should never forget that all the talk and all those rules are put in place to safeguard our liberties. How much better are the raised voices of debate than the dull unanimity of the cell or the grim silence o the Gulag?

Standing in this room where so much history has been made, I can't help but reflect on lawmakers who not only made me a better Senator but a better person. And some are here today. Many are here today. In both parties.. Others–too many others–are present in memory only. I think of Everett Dirksen and Hubert Humphrey and Barry Goldwater and Pat Moynihan, for starters. Each of them a patriot before he was a partisan.

But the Senate family is hardly limited to Senators. Rod, who just spoke, and Shelia Burke and Bob Lighthizer and Joyce McCluney, thank you for uncovering me today and for covering for me over the years.

[laughter]

You serve as stand-ins for hundreds of other dedicated staff members–many of whom are with us today–who made me look better than any artist could. Some of you greeted constituents or wrote press releases. Others crafted legislation or chased down missing Social Security checks or made certain that the voice of ordinary Kansans was heard in this capital city. Whatever you did, each of you has a place in the Senate's history and always a place in my heart.

When I left this building ten years ago, I said it was up to the electorate to decide my future address. And in their wisdom, they decided they'd rather see me in commercials than in the Oval Office.

[laughter]

And I have discovered that there is, indeed life after the Senate. If not like that other Senator.

So my final acknowledgment is to those to whom I owe my greatest debt: To the people of Kansas who came to my aid many, many times when I needed it and did it for many–more than 35 years. You honored me with your confidence and you entrusted me with your interests and ideals. And after today, thanks to the kindness of my colleagues, part of me will forever be joined in this–to this institution. But the greater part will be at home on the Kansas prairie, from which I draw whatever strength of character I brought to these halls.

So again, I thank you very much for being here. And may God Bless the United States Senate, and God Bless America. Thank you.

[applause]

 
Senator Harry Reid- Closing Remarks

We've all heard people, including Senator Dole, say funny things about him. But everyone in this room should understand and acknowledge that we have a rare opportunity today to stand in the presence of a great man, a man who has changed the history of this country. Think about him.

He came from Kansas, went to fight in the war, was grievously wounded in that war. Spent not days, not weeks, not months, years in a hospital with Senator Inouye–same hospital– trying to make a new life out of a life that had been changed dramatically as a result of a physical damage to their bodies as a result of that war. Fought back. Decided he'd enter government and has done that to the betterment of us all.

Bob Dole, candidate for president. Bob Dole, member of the United States Senate. Bob Dole, majority leader of the United States Senate. And he's done it with such grace and humor.

I've learned a number of things from Senator Dole. I've learned that you should try to be funny. But no one can be humorous like Senator Dole. I asked my staff, I said, "Find some things that he said were funny." And there was volumes of stuff. But none of them seemed very funny reading them because it's his delivery. It's his delivery.

He said, "As long as there's only three or four senators on the floor, the country's in good shape. It's only when you have 50 or 60 of them on the floor you have to be concerned."

[laughter]

On seniority–he invented this. It's been used by many. "I used to think that seniority was a terrible thing when I didn't have any."

[laughter]

After his 1996 campaign: "Elizabeth's back at the Red Cross and I'm walking the dog."

[laughter]

And again after that same campaign, he said,"At least Elizabeth is the President of something."

[laughter]

Senator Dole has worked with Senator Byrd, Senator Mitchell, Senator Daschle. And Senator Mitchell set the pattern, and that is, Senator Dole was a great advocate. I was there to witness his advocacy. But the thing about Senator Dole working with these three Senators that I've mentioned was that they all said things in a civil fashion to each other. And I –if I had to say in a sentence what Senator Dole has meant to me it's this. And this is a quote. "Your political opponent does not have to be your enemy." We should all remember that, those of us who serve in public office. Just because you have someone that you're opposed to, a particular piece of legislation, that person's not an enemy.

So, Senator Dole, on behalf fo the Reid Family, the Senate Family and our country, thank you very much for your service.

[laughter]

I would like to ask that Senator Dole, Elizabeth Dole come forward; Robin Dole, his daughter; Sheila Burke, who we all know; Robert Lighthizer, former staff; Joyce McCluney, former staff, please come forward.

[applause]

[inaudible conversation]

There will be a reception in S-207. Everyone's invited.

 
 
  

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