“I was all over the lot” said Bob Dole of his support for various candidates in the midterm elections last week.
The former Senate Republican leader and 1996 GOP presidential nominee was explaining why he backed insurgent Florida Senate hopeful Charles Crist. Along with his support for Delaware GOP nominee Christine O’Donnell, the 88-year-old Dole talked politics with HUMAN EVENTS as he was driving home after ten months at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C .
We sought out Dole earlier in the week after getting reports from Florida that he had been featured in robocalls urging support for Gov. Crist, who ran as an independent in the Senate race won by conservative GOPer Marco Rubio.
“Yeah, I made a recording for Charlie and gave him a donation,” Dole told us, adding that he sent his check to Crist “when Charlie was still running as a Republican.”
But the former senator quickly added that “I never mentioned Rubio’s name. Charlie had supported me [for the presidential nomination] in the ’96 campaign. Marco did a lot for me in the Cuban community, but Charlie and I had a longstanding relationship, and with me, friendship trumps all.”
Dole also pointed out that he had talked to Crist after the governor decided to run as an independent about how he would vote for control of the Senate if elected.
“I told Charlie that a Republican Senate was important to me,” he recalled, “and he made it pretty clear he would vote with Republicans to organize the Senate if elected.”
Dole went on to tell us that he had given “as much as I could to Republican candidates, to [Texas ] Sen. [John] Cornyn’s committee [the National Republican Senatorial Committee], and I was all over the lot in my contributions.
“I gave the maximum [$2,300] to Christine O’Donnell,” Dole said, referring to the conservative GOP Senate nominee in Delaware who lost to Democrat Chris Coons, “and I sent out a press release supporting her. I didn’t like the way the liberal media was going after her.”
Dole also volunteered that he had “called O’Donnell’s headquarters three times asking if there was anything else I could do for her, but I never got a call back.”
Despite ten months in the hospital (“You can’t do a lot there”), the former senator, who has been both a presidential and vice presidential nominee of his party, demonstrated that he was following the political scene closely. Dole was particularly interested in the ten House races that were still undecided and in the unclear results in the race for governor of Connecticut. Republican nominee Tom Foley, former U.S. ambassador to Ireland, is also a friend of Dole’s “who raised a lot of money for me from Connecticut when I ran for President.”
As he arrived at his home at the Watergate complex, Dole expressed hope that—with twice as many Democrats as Republicans up for election to the Senate in 2012—the GOP would finally take back control of the chamber in which he served for 28 years.