Dole Bids Senate Farewell

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Bob Dole ended 27 years in the Senate with a fond tribute to the institution, to his sometimes "bumpy ride" and to the colleagues who influenced him along the way. Alternately choked with emotion and nostalgic, Dole also regailed his Senate colleagues with amusing recollections. Describing the town meetings he had attended across America, Dole said that he saw a lot of differences among people, and that those differences are healthy. Then he turned to his colleagues in the Senate and said: "I have never seen such a healthy bunch in my whole life." The chamber roared with laughter. This was Dole at his best: relaxed, confident in his environment, non-partisan and at times philosophical. He praised the Senate as a lively institution for debate, where a senator's word is his bond. He recalled his proudest legislative achievements, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Food Stamp program, which he rescued with the help of Senator George McGovern, his bipartisan work to save Social Security from bankruptcy and his support of the measure that established Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday. All these instances stressed cooperation that often transcended politics. And as Dole paid tribute to the Senate, the Senate paid a tribute to Dole, the longest serving Republican majority leader. The balcony adjacent to Dole's office, unofficially known as "Dole's beach" for the amount of time he spent there, will now be officially known as "The Robert J. Dole Balcony." Thanking his colleagues for the tribute and the sign that will memorialize him there, Dole asked: "Will it be in big letters or neon?" -->