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Mitt Romney, You're No Bob Dole

President Ronald Reagan with Sen. Robert Dole in the White House press room in December 1987.

Photograph by Dirck Halstead/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

President Ronald Reagan with Sen. Robert Dole in the White House press room in December 1987.

By the way, I spoke to President Reagan this afternoon, and I made him a promise that we would win one more for the Gipper. Are you ready? (APPLAUSE)

CROWD: Dole-Kemp! Dole-Kemp! Dole-Kemp! Dole-Kemp! …

But if there’s anyone who has mistakenly attached themselves to our party in the belief that we are not open to citizens of every race and religion, then let me remind you, tonight this hall belongs to the Party of Lincoln. And the exits, which are clearly marked, are for you to walk out of as I stand this ground without compromise. …
—Robert J.S. Dole, excerpts from the text of a speech to the Republican National Convention, 15 August 1996.

During the Great Depression, which hit Kansas very hard, the Dole family moved into the basement of their home and rented out the rest of the house.
—Bob Dole, Wikipedia.

After the sanitized and consulted speeches, after the outright contrivance of #GOP2012, do yourself a bipartisan favor and read all, all, of the senator’s 1996 speech.

I have the vaguest memory, 16 years ago, that Bob Dole did not mail it in. But that would be expected as the astringent child of Russell, Kansas, had a history, from dirt-poor prairie, to Italy-and-North, to a Washington of compromise, of simply understanding America … all of America.

This August, there is not an Abraham Lincoln, Edmund Burke, Edward Brooke, or Olympia Snowe in sight.

The Tampa “EXITs” are unclearly marked. Only the political action committees are “standing their ground.”

I will attempt to hang on each and every word from Governor Romney.

It is the senator’s 89th year. I’m no Bob Dole; you are no Bob Dole; and Mitt Romney, you’re no Bob Dole. Discuss.

Keene hosts Bloomberg Surveillance 7-10 a.m. ET on 1130 AM in the New York metro area and nationally on SiriusXM 113.

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