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Biden and congressional leaders pay tribute to late Senator Bob Dole at the US Capitol

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By Kate Sullivan, CNN

President Joe Biden and top congressional leaders on Thursday in honor of the late Republican Senator Bob Dole of Kansas at a congressional memorial service when Dole was in state at the United States Capitol.

“We are meeting here at the very heart of American democracy – the Capitol of the United States of America – to receive a hero of that democracy for the last time,” Biden said.

Dole, who announced in February that he was being treated for terminal lung cancer, died on Sunday. Republican and Democratic Party leaders gathered on Thursday to pay tribute to the longtime lawmaker, veteran, and life service to the country.

Biden, who noted that he served with Dole for 25 years in the Senate, described Kansan as a “giant in our history.”

“And that’s no exaggeration,” Biden continued. “It’s true. Of intelligence and grace, of principle and perseverance, of courage and faith.”

The president pointed to his own working relationship and friendship with Dole as an example of how lawmakers from different parties with opposing views should work towards common goals.

Biden said he and Dole disagree on a number of things, “but not any fundamental thing. We still find a way to work together.”

Biden quotes by Dole Opinion section on The Washington Post published the day after his death, read: “I cannot pretend that I am not a staunch fighter for my party, but I have always served my country best when I did it first and foremost as an American.”

“When we prioritize party principles and humanity over personal heritage, we achieve more as a nation,” stated Dole’s op-ed. “By leading with mutual trust, we become America at its best: a beacon of hope, a source of comfort in crisis, a shield against those who threaten freedom.”

“May we follow his timeless wisdom and truth and reach a consensus on the fundamental fundamentals on which we all agree,” Biden said.

The president described Dole as having “great intelligence” and laughed as he recalled the late senator’s reason for a vote.

“They asked him why in the name of God he voted to continue funding Amtrak. He said because if he didn’t, Biden would stay overnight and cause more trouble. I go to work every day. True story. He is the decisive voter,” Biden said.

Biden rides an Amtrak nearly every day as he travels from Wilmington, Delaware, to Washington while he serves in the Senate.

Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi all paid homage to Dole, praising his public service and character.

“A wounded soldier who spent decades carrying veterans and disabled Americans on his shoulders – Bob is the last of the greatest generation to run for president, but he has never been stuck in the middle of nowhere. past. His roots are ingrained, but he’s always aiming for new horizons,” said McConnell.

“To pay tribute to Senator Bob Dole is to honor the man who redefined and enhanced what it means to serve his country,” Schumer said. By the age of 21, Bob had given more than most of us give in life, and he lived on for the next 77 years.”

Pelosi added: “As I stand here and see his casket on the catafalque built for Lincoln with the flag on it, I’m sure many of you here would agree, it’s hard to think. Who is more deserving of a flag over his coffin because of his great patriotism for our country.”

Dole served 27 years as a U.S. senator from Kansas and was the majority leader in the Senate twice. He ran unsuccessfully for president with Bill Clinton in 1996 as the Republican candidate. It was his third presidential run. Dole also served as executive partner to President Gerald Ford in 1976 after Nelson Rockefeller refused to continue as vice president.

Dole is a World War II veteran who enlisted in 1942 at the age of 19 and was seriously injured while trying to carry a soldier to safety. He will spend 39 grueling months in and out of the hospital, recovering from near-fatal injuries that left his right arm permanently disabled and his left arm barely functional. . Dole, who has campaigned for the nation’s veterans throughout her career, has twice received Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars with a bunch of oak leaves for her service in World War I. two.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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DUSTIN JONES

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