Bob Dole, a World War II veteran, longtime senator representing Kansas and the GOP presidential nominee in 1996, died Sunday at the age of 98. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation said Dole died early Sunday morning in his sleep.
When Dole became the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, it was the high point of more than a half-century in the national spotlight as a congressman, senator, vice-presidential candidate, two-time presidential candidate, national chair of the Republican Party and longtime leader of Senate Republicans.
In this August 1, 2000, file photo, Bob Dole salutes after a speech at the Republican National Convention in the First Union Center in Philadelphia.
Originally from Russell, Kansas, Dole grew up during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. He was a star athlete in high school who planned to become a doctor, and he enlisted in the Army while at the University of Kansas.
An undated photo of Dole in the Army.
Dole was so badly injured in World War II that he nearly died twice and lost a kidney to infection. The people of Russell, Kansas, collected money in cigar box for his recovery. The wounds left him unable to use one arm.
He worried that he would wind up in a wheelchair selling pencils on the street, and as he later told "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl, his life became a living nightmare.
"They got me out of bed one day, and the bathroom door was open," said Dole. "There was a mirror on the far wall on the shaving cabinet. I couldn't believe that was Bob Dole. So I didn't look in the mirror. I still don't look in the mirror, except to shave."
This is a 1945 file photo of Sen. Bob Dole recuperating from injuries received while serving in Italy during World War II.
After serving in the Kansas state legislature, Dole was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1960. Although a Republican, he voted for the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. He won the Senate seat in 1968.
A January 5, 1971, file photo of Bob Dole.
Republican National Committee chairman
Dole was a power broker in Washington, and President Richard Nixon named him the Republican National Committee chairman in 1971.
In this April 22, 1972, file photo, Dole speaks in Chicago.
Dole with bride-to-be Elizabeth Hanford
Dole's first marriage ended in divorce in 1972. He married Elizaeth Hanford of Salisbury, North Carolina, in December 1975. She would go on to become a Reagan and Bush Cabinet member and eventually a senator herself.
Dole posed with his bride-to-be on Saturday, December 6, 1975, at a wedding breakfast in Washington.
President Gerald Ford chose Dole to be his running mate in the 1976 race, and the campaign brought out another side of Dole, a political gutfighter who accused Democrats of being warmongers. In the vice presidential debate, Walter Mondale labeled him a "hatchet man," a phrase that would follow Dole the rest of his career.
Dole, center, his mother Bina Dole, left, and President Gerald Ford appear together on the final night of the Republican National Convention in Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, August 19, 1976.
Senate Majority Leader
After Ford and Dole lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976, Dole returned to be a power broker in the Senate. He was the Republican author of the Food Stamp Act with Democrat Hubert Humphrey in 1977, and crafted bipartisan legislation with Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan to rescue Social Security.
Dole became chairman of the Senate Finance Committee under President Ronald Reagan, where he helped push through Reagan's tax cuts. He was elected majority leader after the 1984 election.
In this Nov. 28, 1984, file photo, Dole, newly chosen as Senate Majority Leader, is kissed by his wife, Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole and his daughter, Robin, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Robert Bork nomination
President Ronald Reagan's pick for the Supreme Court, Robert Bork, was blocked by Senate Democrats. The 12-day nomination hearings marked a turning point for how confirmation hearings were held.
Republican senators escort embattled Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork and his wife Mary Ellen, center, as they leave the Capitol Building, October 7, 1987.
Dole took a second run at the Republican nomination for president in 1988. He won the Iowa caucus but dropped out after losing New Hampshire and several southern states to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush. At the debate in New Hampshire, he confronted Bush and called him a liar.
In this Sunday, February 14, 1988, file photo, Republican presidential candidates, from left, Vice President George Bush, Pat Robertson, Representative Jack Kemp, Pierre "Pete" du Pont and Senator Bob Dole, pose before starting their last debate before the primary in Goffstown, New Hampshire.
Americans with Disabilities Act
While in the Senate, Dole had championed through the American with Disabilities Act, which was passed in 1990.
Dole told ABILITY Magazine that because of his own disability, he knew he "had to do something special" with his life. It "changes your whole life, not just your attitude," he said. "Prior to my injury I was a pretty good athlete, but afterwards I learned to apply myself more and made good grades for a change," he said. Dole advocated for Americans with disabilities in his maiden Senate speech on April 14, 1969 — the 24th anniversary of the day he was wounded in WWII — and continued to do so throughout his career.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark piece of civil rights legislation prohibiting discrimination based on disability, was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. Dole said he considered the act one of his proudest achievements.
Republican presidential hopeful Bob Dole addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars Texas State Convention in Dallas, Texas, Saturday, June 29, 1996.
1996 run for White House
Dole ran for the GOP nomination again in 1996, this time successfully. Dole, then 73, became the oldest first-time nominee for president at the time.
Dole announces his bid for the Republican nomination for president in Topeka, Kansas, April 10, 1995.
After winning the GOP nomination, Dole had to fight off popular incumbent President Bill Clinton.
In this photo, Republican presidential hopeful Bob Dole holds a gas nozzle and says "It's out of gas just like Bill Clinton," as he greets supporters while entering the Kentucky GOP State Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday, May 11, 1996. Kentucky Representative Harold Rogers, at left, looks on.
1996 Republican National Convention
Dole resigned from the Senate in the summer of 1996 to focus on campaigning full time. "My time to leave this office has come, and I will seek the presidency with nothing to fall back on but the judgment of the people, and nowhere to go but the White House or home," Dole said.
Dole and his wife Elizabeth wave from the podium on the floor of the Republican National Convention in San Diego, as confetti falls after Dole accepted the Republican presidential nomination.
Once a private citizen, Dole surprised even close friends by becoming a TV pitchman. He did a soft drink commercial with Britney Spears and, as a prostate cancer survivor, ads for Viagra as well.
Dole attends the unveiling of his portrait at the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, July 25, 2006.
Elizabeth Dole's turn in office
Dole didn't stay out of politics long. He helped his wife, Elizabeth, first in a bid for the White House, and then successfully in her run for the U.S. Senate from North Carolina.
And in 2016, Dole was the only former Republican nominee to back Donald Trump in the primaries.
The Doles acknowledge well-wishers during a Memorial Day ceremony, Monday, May 27, 2019, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
Congressional Gold Medal
Dole was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997, where he jokingly began to give what sounded like the oath of office for president. And in 2018, he was honored with a Congressional Gold Medal.
In this January 17, 2018 file photo, Dole smiles as he gets a kiss from his wife Elizabeth Dole.