It was billed as a nostalgic homecoming tour, a sentimental chance to thank the people he represented for nearly four decades in the U.S. House and Senate. But during the high-profile three-day swing he is making through Kansas, Bob Dole consistently has criticized President Obama, congressional Democrats, and his own party.
The Kansas City Star
reported that the 90-year-old Republican characterized Obama as a "nice man" who "lacks strong leadership skills" and bears some of the blame for legislative gridlock.
"He hasn’t gotten acquainted with enough of Congress — both parties," Dole said. "It has always been my experience that you ought to know the players and know who to work with to get it done."
Dole also singled out Obama for not doing more to help Ukraine protect itself from Russian influence as it edges closer to civil war.
"The president keeps saying there are going to be consequences, but there are never any consequences," Dole said. "There are a lot of things we could do. We could give the poor Ukrainians some weapons."
At packed events Tuesday, he lamented the demise of Democratic dealmakers like the late New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, with whom he negotiated entitlement reform. He castigated Washington politicians in general for allowing the debt to spiral so high ("Seventeen trillion? I don’t know what that is") and for failing to reform Social Security.
What the GOP needs, he added, is a presidential nominee who has positive and specific platform.
"We can’t be against everything," he warned. "We’ve got to have a forward-looking program, whether it’s immigration, or foreign policy, or education."
Though he has been in poor health for several years, Dole is hoping to make stops in each of the state’s 105 counties before his trip ends Wednesday night.
reported that when he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Bill Clinton for president in 1996 at the age of 73, Democrats derided him as a relic. Clinton taunted that Dole wanted to "build a bridge to the past."
"Nearly two decades later, Dole is having the last laugh," Politico said of his comments about Obama. "At each event, he also delivers a consistent message: Washington is broken, the parties need to learn to compromise again, and, for heaven’s sake, things really did work better back in his day."
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