Dole in Kansas Lauds Eisenhower as `Patriot Who Lived Heroically'

By Jon Sawyer Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau Chief | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 1, 1996 | Go to article overview

Dole in Kansas Lauds Eisenhower as `Patriot Who Lived Heroically'


Jon Sawyer Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau Chief, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The frenzied speculation surrounding Bob Dole's choice of a running mate eclipsed one of the more affecting moments of his long political career - his poignant tribute Friday to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose modest roots paralleled those of Dole and who rose to become the only Kansan ever elected president.

Calling Eisenhower his "political and military hero," Dole said he had been among those "in a rain-drenched crowd" in Abilene when Eisenhower announced his own bid for the presidency in June 1952.

Dole, 73, ran the risk of underscoring his own age - as a man already 28 years old during Eisenhower's first campaign.

Dole and his advisers were clearly counting on something else - his evocation of himself that day as "a young veteran, scarred by war, looking to find his place in postwar America."

He wrapped himself in the mantle of Eisenhower's probity and character, telling an outdoor crowd of several hundred that it was in Abilene that Eisenhower first learned "the code of the West: that a man's word is his bond; that a man's neighbors are always ready to lend a helping hand in time of hardship; and that no one advances except through his own hard work and determination."

On the stage with Dole were Eisenhower's grandson, David, and David Eisenhower's wife, Julie Nixon Eisenhower. Dole noted that the federal government had achieved a balanced budget only four times in the last half-century.

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