Dole's hometown sees their dreams evaporate, too Presidential library site was already being debated

Election 1996

November 06, 1996|By KANSAS CITY STAR

RUSSELL, Kan. -- Some thought the presidential library should be near the boyhood home, while others fancied sites near the county courthouse.

Either way, weary travelers on Interstate 70 would pull off in Russell, to visit "Bob Dole Country." They'd hear how the 43rd president of the United States grew up humble. International scholars would peruse his official papers.

This was the dream that Russell shared with Bob Dole, until it was shattered last night.

"In Russell you've got BD and AD -- Before Dole and After Dole," said Dean Banker, a Russell clothier. "We're going to miss that heartland focus around here."

Dole came home about noon yesterday and cast his vote inside First Christian Church as youngsters from Simpson Elementary School lined the curb and sidewalks chanting his name.

"OK, everybody, smile!" Dole urged the youngsters as photographers snapped away.

He then shook hands along a barricade, and later he visited his two sisters, who still live in town, and went for a slow drive down Main Street.

Twice before this year, Dole addressed the crowds, but this time there were no speeches. In 90 minutes, he was gone, and no one knew when he would return.

"He'll probably be back to sell the house, and that's about it," said Paul Ambrust, who works at the wheat gluten plant.

Pub Date: 11/06/96

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