It isn’t Bob Dole’s Senate anymore.
The wheelchair-bound, 89-year-old former Senate majority leader, GOP presidential nominee and World War II veteran was escorted onto the floor Tuesday by his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., to rally support for the United Nations disabilities treaty.
Last week, he was being treated at the Walter Reed National Medical Military Center. This week, he was trying to buttonhole colleagues to support an initiative to extend the rights granted to Americans under the Americans with Disabilities Act to citizens of the world.
Dole was gravely injured during World War II when his right arm was shattered in battle, and he has been a longtime advocate for the rights of the disabled, particularly veterans.
One by one, Senators of both parties approached the frail national leader, with former colleagues gently resting their hands on his shoulder or reaching out to his left hand, briefly clasping the man who once presided over the chamber with a mix of wit, tactical guile and ruthlessness.
Then, one by one, after Dole was wheeled off the floor, most Republicans voted against the measure.Of 47 current Republican members of the Senate (there will be 45 in January), only 11 served with Dole before he left the Senate in mid-1996. And only seven of the eleven will be back next year.
- Lugar (defeated in primary)
- Hutchison (retiring)
- Snowe (retiring)
- Kyl (retiring)