'It Was Almost Automatic': Bob Dole Recalls Saluting Rival-Turned-Friend Bush 41's Casket
1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole recalled saluting friend and fellow World War II veteran George H.W. Bush one final time while the 41st commander-in-chief's body lay in state in the Capitol.
Dole, who served as the Senate Republican leader representing Kansas during Bush's presidency, said he came to the rotunda to "say goodbye" like everyone else who had traveled to Washington to give Bush a proper sendoff.
He said he wheeled into Capitol and an aide helped him stand in front of Bush's body.
"They stood me up, and it was almost automatic," Dole, 95, said of the iconic image of him saluting the casket.
"My left hand came up to my forehead without even being... planned," said Dole, who lost use of his right arm from an artillery attack during the war.
Host Charles Payne noted that Dole was initially a political rival to Bush, having sparred often during his run against him in the 1988 Republican primary.
"When he was president, I was the Republican leader in the Senate. We got things done because we worked with our Democratic colleagues. Most of the things we passed were bipartisan," Dole said of his and Bush's decision to unite as a powerful political team.
Dole credited Bush with championing the bipartisan Americans With Disabilities Act.
After Bush lost his reelection bid in 1992 to Bill Clinton, Dole partnered with running mate Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) in a similarly unsuccessful bid against the Arkansas Democrat in 1996.
Payne asked Dole what advice he would give the current Congress to work in a more bipartisan way.
"I wish I knew," he said. "[If I did,] I'd call up Mitch McConnell. They're not there now by a long shot," Dole said.
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