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Bob Dole Calls on Republican Party to Close for Repairs

May 26 (Bloomberg) -- Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole called the current gridlock in Congress unreal and chided his fellow Republicans for not getting more done.

“They ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says closed for repairs until New Year’s Day next year and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas,” Dole, who left Congress in 1996, said today on “Fox News Sunday.”

Congress has been hamstrung by increasingly partisan battles over topics such as reducing the deficit and expanding health care. Only 16 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, according to a May 2-7 Gallup survey. Dole, who represented Kansas in the U.S. House and then the Senate for 35 years, called himself a mainstream conservative Republican, and said he doubted if he or former President Ronald Reagan could make it in today’s Republican party.

Dole also chided President Barack Obama, a Democrat, saying he lacks communication skills with his own party, as well as with Republicans, and is on the road too much.

“I’m not a critic of the president, but I think one mistake he’s made was not getting together more with Congress earlier on, in his first administration,” Dole said. When asked if the Senate is broken, he replied, “well, it’s bent really badly.”

Dole, 89, was the Republican nominee in the 1996 U.S. presidential election, which he lost to Democrat Bill Clinton.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Armour in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at

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