Former U.S. Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate Bob Dole stopped in Salina Tuesday afternoon. The 90-year-old former Senate majority leader, who currently is in the middle of three planned tours of his home state, was greeted by a large group of friends and well-wishers.
Dole gave a statement, before taking questions from the crowd. He brought with him some of the wit he is well-known for, telling the crowd “I don’t have any agenda, I don’t want any of your money, I just want to thank you for supporting me all of these years”.
Dole said he always believed that he was elected to represent all of the people. “I had a lot of Democrat friends in Kansas, my parents were Democrats” he said. He then quickly added “but they quickly became Republicans when I first ran for office”.
Dole said that there have been many changes in Washington. “Right now the party is going through a change, a split between the traditional Republicans and the conservative Republicans”. He said “there are a lot of them in Topeka and in Washington, they’re good people, but I don’t think their philosophy is in-synch with the people”. He added “the far left is the same way”.
Dole said the biggest problem in Washington is the inabilityof both sides to work together. “No one is willing to reach across the aisle and work with the other side, that’s why very little gets done” he said. He added that the problem starts at the top. “President Obama is a very nice man, but he is not a strong leader” Dole said.
The Russell native was the Republican nominee for president against Democrat incumbent Bill Clinton in 1996. Dole represented Kansas in Congress from 1960 until 1996. He will celebrate his 91s birthday in July.