Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Elizabeth Dole: Independence and Southern Charm

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Elizabeth Dole: Independence and Southern Charm

Article excerpt

Whether Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole wins or loses in November, Elizabeth Dole expects to return to the presidency of the American Red Cross, for behind her lilting Southern accent and soft smile lies a woman every bit as independent as Hillary Rodham Clinton.

While Elizabeth Dole would be the first president's wife to work outside the White House, Hillary Clinton worked from within, supervising the health reform bill that failed in 1994.

Both women earned Ivy League law degrees, and both had successful careers distinct from their husbands - Dole in government and charity, Mrs. Clinton practicing law.

Their differences are partly a matter of style. Dole's is a more conventionally feminine manner traditionally expected in her native Salisbury, N.C. She doesn't use her maiden name, Hanford, and her manner is one of Southern warmth and soft handshakes.

"Elizabeth does have an image that's softer. I don't know that she's any less driven, or hard-working," said Debbie Walsh, acting director of the Center for the American Woman and Politics at Rutgers University. "She is someone who is quite strong and quite influential."

Dole says she does not know Mrs. Clinton well, but considers her a "gracious" person.

"I think she's a very talented person, very intelligent, very committed to doing what she thinks is right for the country," Dole said. "But I see us as very different people with very different styles. We disagree on most of the issues."

Dole does not like to be labeled ambitious, saying she tries to balance her spiritual, personal and professional lives to prevent one from ruling all the others.

"Making a positive difference for others, that's what drives me," she said. "The word ambition - it's not some driving ambition. That's just not me."

At her first convention event Monday, Elizabeth Dole joined Jack Kemp's wife, Joanne, at a San Diego school to illustrate her goal of helping replace government programs with charity and volunteer work.

They helped paint playground equipment and plant a tree at Bayview Terrace Elementary School, which was given $14,000 by the Republican National Convention Committee to finish a sun cover for a lunch area. …

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