You are here

Pelosi Remarks at Senator Bob Dole’s 90th Birthday Celebration

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at a ceremony celebrating the public service and 90th birthday of Senator Bob Dole.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

“Thank you very much, [Senator] Pat [Roberts].  It is an honor to join you, Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, my colleague Whip Hoyer, and each and every one of you.  What an honor for all of us to be in this room on the occasion of the 90th birthday of Leader Robert Dole.  It is a special honor, of course, to be here with [Senator] Elizabeth Dole, who, in her own right, brought leadership to our country and great happiness to Senator Dole. 

[Applause]

“As we all know, this evening we come together to celebrate, to really celebrate and wish a very happy 90th birthday to Senator Dole, a leader of principle, a public servant of accomplishment and achievement, an American hero with a sense of humor.  Bob Dole has always taken our nation's challenges seriously, but as the Speaker said, even when he did not take himself seriously, sort of like [Senator] Pat Roberts. 

[Laughter]

“Is it a Kansas trait?”

Senator Roberts.  It's in the water.

Leader Pelosi.  It's in the water.

[Laughter]

“We all know that we – and be confident that Senator Dole had the best interest of our country at heart in every issue that he addressed.  Even if we were not in agreement, we knew that he was a great patriot.  He sought common ground where he could.  He stood his ground where he could not.  The source of pride to many of us here in the House that Senator Dole began his career in Congress in the House of Representatives.  It was here in the people’s House, where he gained recognition as a leader we could trust.  That was it: Bob Dole, a leader we could trust.  It was here, in the House, where he joined leaders of both parties to expand and protect the civil rights of all Americans in the 1960s.  It was in the House where he honed his skills that made him an effective leader in the Congress, in the United States Senate; that led him to join a progressive like Senator George McGovern to expand eligibility for food stamps or work with leaders of all stripes to enact the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.  Thank you Senator Dole.  I know [Whip] Steny [Hoyer]…

[Applause]

“It was in both chambers where he fought each day for his fellow veterans – from the Greatest Generation of World War II to the 9/11 generation.  He proved a willing partner to Democrats and Republicans alike as long as he believed [it meant] progress for his beloved state of Kansas and success for his beloved United States of America. 

“In dedicating the World War II Memorial in 2004, Senator Dole paid tribute to the ‘moral courage…that inspires Americans in every generation to lay down their lives for people they will never meet, for ideals that make life itself worth living.’  His words may have been meant to describe others, but it truly described his own life and contribution.  A boy from Russell, Kansas, a Second Lieutenant sent to fight aboard, Bob Dole had the courage to be willing to lay down his life on behalf of America, our people, and our values. 

“Ever since, in every office, in every post, in every arena, whether in the public sector or as a private citizen, Bob Dole has dedicated his life to the ideal, that strengthen our nation, that define the character of our country.  Senator Dole, may we [all] continue to take inspiration from your life, your legacy, and your leadership.  Your birth 90 years ago, that’s a blessing; God blessed America with your birth.  Your life has been a blessing to our country ever since.  Happy Birthday, Senator Dole.”