Sen. Dole salutes the late President Bush, his former opponent

In a touching tribute, Sen. Bob Dole rose out of his wheelchair with assistance to salute his former political rival, President George H.W. Bush, Tuesday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. (Paul Morse/Office of George H.W. Bush)

WASHINGTON — Former Sen. Bob Dole, who lost the Republican nomination for president to George H.W. Bush in 1988, rose out of his wheelchair to salute his former opponent and fellow veteran Tuesday afternoon in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Sen. Dole joined politicians, Capitol Hill staffers and others who came to the Rotunda to pay their respects to the 41st president as he lies in state. Bush died Friday at 94.

Dole, who is 95, was accompanied by a man who helped the former senator from Kansas to his feet. After standing, Dole saluted the former commander-in-chief, a World War II veteran like Dole. Bush is the last president who was a World War II veteran.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush retweeted an Axios tweet about Dole’s touching tribute to Bush’s father. Jeb Bush wrote, “Just incredible. Thank you Senator Dole.”

Then-Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole and then-President George H.W. Bush dined together March 18, 1992. They are holding a medallion that honors veterans from Pottawatomie County, Kansas. (Robert J. Dole Archive and Special Collections)

Dole was the Senate minority leader during Bush’s single term (Jan. 20, 1989-Jan. 20, 1993). Despite the bitter race, the two reconciled and were able to work together, Dole told CNN this week in an interview in which he praised Bush’s effectiveness at bringing together both sides of aisle.

Dole won the GOP presidential nomination in 1996 and but lost to Bill Clinton in the general election. The former senator had resigned in 1996 during the campaign and did not seek public office again.

Bush’s body has been lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda since a brief ceremony attended by most members of Congress as well as relatives of the former president Monday evening. Members of the public have been filing past to pay their respects and may continue to do until 6 a.m. Wednesday. Bush’s state funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Washington National Cathedral.

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