President Biden praised former Sen. Bob Dole on Sunday as “an American statesman like few in our history,” after the longtime lawmaker died at age 98.
“Bob was a man to be admired by Americans,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “He had an unerring sense of integrity and honor. May God bless him, and may our nation draw upon his legacy of decency, dignity, good humor, and patriotism for all time.”
A decorated World War II veteran, Mr. Dole served alongside Mr. Biden in the Senate from 1973 to 1996, when the Kansas Republican became the GOP’s presidential nominee. He lost in the general election to President Bill Clinton.
“Bob was … a war hero and among the greatest of the Greatest Generation,” the president said. “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. But I am grateful for the times we shared, and for the friendship Jill and I and our family have built with Liddy and the entire Dole family.”
The president said although he and Mr. Dole often disagreed, “he never hesitated to work with me or other Democrats when it mattered most.”
“He and Ted Kennedy came together to turn Bob’s lifelong cause into the Americans with Disabilities Act — granting tens of millions of Americans lives of greater dignity,” Mr. Biden said. “On the Social Security Commission, he led a bipartisan effort with [Democratic Sen.] Pat Moynihan to ensure that every American could grow old with their basic dignity intact.”
After his inauguration this year, Mr. Biden said one of his first conversations outside the White House was with Bob and Elizabeth Dole at their home in Washington.
“Bob had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer, and I was were there to offer the same support, love and encouragement that they showed me and Jill when our son Beau battled cancer, and that the Doles have shown us over the half-century we’ve been friends,” Mr. Biden said. “I saw in his eyes the same light, bravery and determination I’ve seen so many times before.”
He also praised Mr. Dole for creating the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program that provided school meals and food for nursing mothers and young children.
“It saved the lives of countless young people who would otherwise have died in infancy — and brought dignity to tens of millions of families at home and abroad,” Mr. Biden said. “This work, for Bob, was about more than passing laws. It was written on his heart.”