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  06 Dec 2021, 12:13

Tributes pour in for late veteran US lawmaker Bob Dole

   WASHINGTON, Dec 6, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - Tributes poured in and flags were
lowered to half-staff in honor of veteran US lawmaker and World War II hero
Bob Dole, who died in his sleep on Sunday aged 98.

  President Joe Biden led a chorus of political tributes to Dole and his 35-
year career in Congress, paying respect to "an American statesman like few in
our history."

  He was "a war hero and among the greatest of the Greatest Generation,"
Biden said in his statement. "And to me, he was also a friend whom I could
look to for trusted guidance, or a humorous line at just the right moment to
settle frayed nerves. I will miss my friend."

  A conservative Republican who campaigned for reining in government, Dole
also had a pragmatic streak and sponsored bipartisan legislation during his
tenure at the US Capitol.

  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered flags flown at half-staff at the
building in his honor, while Biden mandated the same for the White House,
federal grounds and military posts through Thursday.

  Calling Dole "a man of his word," Pelosi said the United States had lost "a
towering leader who embodied courage and excellence in public service."

  Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying
he joined "the nation in mourning Bob Dole, our good friend and a bona fide
American hero."

  "Whatever their politics, anyone who saw Bob Dole in action had to admire
his character and his profound patriotism," he added.

  No details were initially provided, but the longtime senator had disclosed
in February that he was being treated for stage four lung cancer.

  In a statement, his family offered thanks "for the outpouring of love over
the last year."

  It added: "America has lost one of its heroes; our family has lost its
rock. We will smile as we recall his gifted sense of humor. We will take
comfort from the extraordinary moments of our lifetimes together."

  - 'Country over party' -

  Dole, born in 1923 in Kansas, was elected to the US Senate in 1968 and was
re-elected in 1974, 1980, 1986 and 1992, serving both as Senate majority and
minority leader over the years.

  In 1976, Dole was tapped by Gerald Ford to be his vice presidential
candidate, but the Republican ticket lost to Democrats Jimmy Carter and
Walter Mondale.

  Twenty years later, Dole lost the White House race to Democrat Bill
Clinton.

  "When I think of the greatest generation, I think of Senator Bob Dole -- a
man who dedicated his life to serving our country. Rest In Peace, my friend,"
tweeted Senator Mitt Romney, also a former Republican presidential candidate.

  Former president Donald Trump said in a statement that Dole was "an
American war hero and true patriot for our Nation. He served the Great State
of Kansas with honor and the Republican Party was made stronger by his
service."

  Trump's predecessor Barack Obama said on Twitter that Dole was "a war hero,
a political leader, and a statesman" whose generation placed "country over
party."

  On Twitter, former House speaker Newt Gingrich called Dole "a unique
American figure whose courage, dedication, endurance and patriotism made him
worthy of study and emulation."

  - 'Courage on the battlefield -

  Dole has long been praised for his military service. He enlisted as an
officer in the US Army and in April 1945 was grievously wounded in the back
and right arm by machine gun fire during fighting against German troops in
Italy.

  He was hospitalized for more than three years, and the wounds left him with
a shriveled right arm that ended his childhood hopes of being an athlete or a
doctor.

  Dole "made life better for generations of Americans -- past and present,"
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.

  Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders also sent condolences, saying, "Bob Dole
served his country with courage on the battlefield, and with dignity in the
Senate."

  Social media tributes recalled how he insisted on standing, held up by an
aide, to salute the casket of former president George H.W. Bush -- who also
served in World War II -- at his funeral in 2018.

  Dole is survived by his daughter Robin, and his second wife, Elizabeth
Dole, who herself had a distinguished political career, serving as US
secretary of transportation, secretary of labor and senator from North
Carolina.

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