A few days ago, I landed an exclusive interview with John N. Cole of Brunswick, Maine, who is the same age as Bob Dole. This is not the first time I've gone one-on-one with Cole as part of an effort to understand high public officials. I once wrote that John Cole, speaking as someone who had regularly snuck looks at George Bush's blue book during French exams at Yale, was willing to assure the American people that Bush was a man of solid preparation, not to speak of exceedingly legible handwriting.

Like his contemporary from Kansas, John Cole, whom I've known...

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