The One Issue 91-Year-Old Bob Dole Is Still Fighting for

Jul 24, 2014 2:26pm

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is making the rounds — everywhere from the plains of Kansas to the marbled halls of Capitol Hill.

Dole, who celebrated his 91st birthday this week, returned to Capitol Hill for what could be his final legislative push — ratifying an international treaty for people with disabilities.

“This is not a Republican or Democrat treaty. It’s not liberal or conservative,” Dole said at a news conference Wednesday. “As a Republican, I don’t want to see a headline saying ‘Republicans vote against disabled Americans and disabled veterans.’”

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In 2012, Dole sat on the Senate floor as he watched a vote to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities fail by just five votes. Dole recounted that moment in an interview with ABC News’ Jeff Zeleny.

“We knew we had an uphill battle, and when my Kansas senators voted against it I knew we were in trouble because one had been a co-sponsor and the other had been for it,” Dole explained. “But again the home-schoolers flooded their phones for days and I can understand why it might have altered their judgment. I don’t agree but that’s their right.”

The home-schooling movement, which helped derail the treaty two years ago, is pushing back against the measure again this year, saying it would impede their ability to home school their children.

In recent months, Dole has embarked on a thank you tour of his home state of Kansas, trying to stop in all 105 counties one last time.

“We’ve been in 63 counties. We have 42 left and I’ve had a lot of cookies and brownies and a lot of lemon bars and a lot of fun,” Dole told Zeleny.

“What are you campaigning for?” Zeleny asked.

“Nothing. That’s what I tell them, I’m just here to thank you,” Dole said.

Dole reflected on the state of the Republican Party, saying there’s a need for greater compromise between Republicans and Democrats.

“You need to compromise sometimes. You need to work across the aisle. We don’t have all the wisdom in our party and they don’t have it all in the Democratic party,” Dole said. “We just need a nominee in 2016 that has an agenda that attracts and resonates with people and that will be a big help.”

“I don’t think we’ve seen the Republican candidate yet. A lot of people want to be president. So did I, think of it!” he added.

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