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Great Political Wit

Great Political Wit by Robert Dole
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Famous for his delectably dry humor, Senator Bob Dole brings us the ultimate bipartisan book: some of his favorite witticisms, hilarious remarks, and wry observations of the great political figures of this century.

Bob Dole's political career may not have taken him to the White House, but he did pick up some great stories along the way. In this delightful collection, the longtime United States senator shares his favorite anecdotes, witticisms, and reminiscences.

From the campaign trail to the Oval Office, from smoked-filled rooms to the chambers of the Capitol, Bob Dole surveys a century of political wit. There are bon mots from Calvin Coolidge, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, John F.  Kennedy, and a host of other political figures. Bob Dole introduces each section with mirthful moments from his own experience, displaying the gift for wry humor that has made him such a favorite guest on late-night talk shows.

A jovial--and completely bipartisan--compendium, Great Political Wit is a connoisseur's selection of political repartee at its best.

Great Political Wit will have readers rolling on both sides of the aisle.


Bob Dole is recognized as one of the nation's most prominent political figures of the twentieth century. Known for his effectiveness as a consensus builder in his thirty-five years in Congress, Senator Dole was the longest-serving Republican leader in Senate history. He was also chairman of the Republican National Committee, the 1976 Republican nominee for vice president, and the 1996 Republican nominee for president. He is currently serving as the chairman of the World War II Memorial campaign and as chairman of the International Commission on Missing Persons in Bosnia. Wounded in World War II, Senator Dole was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. He is married to Elizabeth Hanford Dole, president of the American Red Cross, and lives in Washington, D.C.


From the Hardcover edition.
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group; September 1999
99 pages; ISBN 9780385500265
Download in secure PDF format
Title: Great Political Wit
Author: Robert Dole
 
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Excerpt
ROOTS

On numerous occasions, Lyndon Johnson repeated this remark about two kinds of speeches: "The Mother Hubbard speech, which, like the garment, covers everything but touches nothing; and the French bathing suit speech, which covers only the essential points."

CAMPAIGNING

Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy remembers, "I ran for the Senate at a very young age, and one of the issues used by the opponents was that I had never worked a day in my life. One day I was going through one of the factories in my state to meet the workers. And I will never forget the fellow who came up to me, shook my hand, and said: 'Mr. Kennedy, I understand that you have never worked a day in your life. Let me tell you, you haven't missed a thing.'"

THE PRESIDENCY

In a letter to his sister in 1947, Truman wrote: "All the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway."

Maine Republican Senator Margaret Chase Smith was once asked by a constituent, "What would you do if you woke up one morning and found yourself in the White House?" Smith replied, "I would go to the President's wife and apologize, and then leave at once."

THE VICE-PRESIDENCY

Dan Quayle was fond of quoting his fellow Hoosier, Vice-President Thomas Marshall, who liked to tell of the two brothers, one of whom went away to sea, and the other became Vice-President--and neither was ever heard of again.

THE WHITE HOUSE

While instructing her secretary upon settling into the White House in 1961, Jacqueline Kennedy said: "The one thing I do not want to be called is First Lady. It sounds like a saddle horse."

ALL IN THE FAMILY

Eleanor Roosevelt once left the White House to visit a prison in Baltimore. Her departure was so early in the morning that she decided not to disturb her husband. Shortly after he got up, he contacted Mrs. Roosevelt's secretary to ask where his wife was. She replied, "She's in prison, Mr. President."

"I'm not surprised," replied FDR, "but what for?"

   THE MEDIA

The White House birth of puppies to Millie, George and Barbara Bush's beloved springer spaniel (and best-selling author) led President Bush to gloat, "The puppies are sleeping on the Washington Post and New York Times. It's the first time in history these papers have been used to prevent leaks."

GOVERNING

When Will Hays took Will Rogers to the White House to meet President Harding, Rogers said, "Mr. President, I would like to tell you all the latest political jokes."

"You don't have to," Harding rejoined. "I appointed them."

THE ECONOMY

Phil Gramm and I have had our occasional differences, but we do share a love for one-liners. One of the times I thought "I wish I had said that," was when Phil said, "Balancing the budget is like going to heaven. Everybody wants to do it, but nobody wants to make the trip."

RELIGION

When Edward Everett Hale served as Chaplain of the Senate, he was asked, "Do you pray for the Senators, Dr. Hale?"

"No," he said, "I look at the Senators and pray for the country."

POLITICS AS USUAL

Leave it to the inimitable Alice Roosevelt Longworth to offer the ultimate insider's assessment of scandals surrounding the Nixon Administration. In the words of Princess Alice, "I will remember Watergate as good, unclean fun."

FREE ADVICE

Told that familiarity breeds contempt, Churchill responded, "I would like to remind you that without a degree of familiarity we could not breed anything."

RETIREMENT

In 1930 former President Calvin Coolidge filled out a membership form from the Washington Press Club. At the place marked "Occupation," he wrote in "retired."  Then he skipped down a line to the section marked "Comments." Coolidge thought for a moment before writing, "and glad of it."


From the Hardcover edition.