Dole urges supporters to keep up 'good fight' In concession speech, he thanks wife, Kemp, expresses pride in GOP

Election 19966

November 06, 1996

Excerpts from Bob Dole's concession speech:

I was just thinking on the way downstairs, I was thinking on the way down the elevator tomorrow will be the first time in my life I don't have anything to do. But I wanted to come down and thank all of you. You've done a great job. And I'm very proud of [Senate Majority Leader] Trent [Lott]. We're going to keep the Senate. We're going to keep the House.

Let me say that I talked to President Clinton. We had a good visit. I congratulated him. I've said repeatedly in this campaign that the president was my opponent, not my enemy. And I wish him well and I pledge my support in whatever advances the cause of a better America, because that's what the race was about in the first place, a better America as we go into the next century.

And I'm very proud also of my teammate, Jack Kemp. And I want to thank not only Jack, but his wife, Joanne, who did an outstanding job, and all the Kemp family for the work they did in this campaign. And obviously, I want to thank two outstanding women -- my daughter, Robin, who did a great job, and of course, my wife, Elizabeth, who's traveled this country from one end to the other. In fact, they, they've both been with me in this, in this 96-hour marathon. And we had a great time.

At 3 this morning, I guess it was, we were in Independence, Mo. And I never saw so many people in one place, so excited about the Republican Party. And let me say a special word, let me say a special word to all the young Americans and the young people who have been involved in my campaign.

You have been, you've been a constant source of inspiration for Elizabeth and myself. And I would say to the young people and all the others involved, it's a lot more fun winning. It hurts to lose an election. But stay involved and keep fighting the good fight because you are the ones who will make the 21st century the next American century.

I don't want anybody to pass out here, but I also want to thank all the media who traveled with me on the plane. They were there every day, every night, every day and every night as we flew around this country.

And as I look around tonight, and I came in I saw a lot of very special people who have been helping me for the last 10, 15, 20, 25 years, and I say thank you for all you've done. Because I know that because of your support, I am still the most optimistic man in America.

It's been a long time since I entered politics way back in 1951, and a lot of things have happened since that time. But some things never change. A few days after I took my seat in the state legislature, a reporter asked me what I had on my agenda, and I said, "Well, I'm going to sit back and watch for a few days, and then I'll stand up for what I think is right." And any of you who want to know what my plans may be in the future, I'm going to sit back for a few days, and then I'm going to start standing up for what I think is right for America.

So I leave y'all tonight with a full heart and a fervent prayer that we'll meet again often in this land, where miracles are always happening. Thank you very much, and God bless America!

Dole glance

Robert Joseph Dole

Born: July 22, 1923.

Education: Studied at University of Kansas and University of Arizona. Received bachelor's and law degrees from Washburn University in Topeka, Kan.

Military: Army, 1943-1945. Wounded in Italy during World War II.

Experience: Kansas Legislature, 1951. Russell County prosecutor, 1953-1961. House, 1961-1969. Senate, 1969-1996. Majority and minority leader, 1984-1996. Chairman, Republican National Committee, 1971-1973. Republican vice presidential candidate 1976.

Family: Married to Elizabeth Hanford Dole. One daughter, Robin, by previous marriage.

Pub Date: 11/06/96

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