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Watch the BPC short film: ‘A Sense of Common Purpose’

From their distinguished military service to their storied careers in elected office, the combined public service of Senators Howard Baker and Bob Dole totals more than a century. Both Senators exemplify the qualities of political leadership we need most, at a time when many ask if it still exists, and both continue to serve their country today by fighting for the causes they believe in with their trademark wit, style and proven ability to build consensus. BPC honored two remarkable leaders by announcing the creation of the Howard Baker and Bob Dole Leadership Fellows Program.

In the News

Dole, Baker celebrated for century of service
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports

Dole, Baker practiced lost art of compromise
By Laurie Kellman
The Associated Press

“‘I think the Senate operated more effectively then than it does today,’ said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., one of the hosts of the tribute. ‘But I don’t think it would make much to change it today. It would take a change of behavior rather than a change of rules.'” Read more here.

Dole on Baker and Baker on Dole
By Howard Baker and Bob Dole

“‘A century of service’ makes us sound even older than we are. But Bob and I are grateful for the rare opportunity we have had to help chart the course of history. And we wish our successors all the best in their turn on the great stage of leadership.” Read more here.

At 88, Bob Dole can still give one heck of a speech
By Nikki Schwab
The Washington Examiner

“‘One thing that was said tonight was true,’ said Dole, now 88, seated with a microphone in front of him. ‘Once you leave politics your approval rating goes straight up and people write you letters saying, ‘I never liked you, you so-and-so, while you were in the Senate, but now, I think you’re a pretty good guy. Please send me an autographed picture… of Elizabeth,’ he said, to huge laughs.” Read more here.

Dole, Baker toasted for embracing bipartisan politics
By Stacey Samuel

“When expectations of a bipartisan Congress seem like a bygone tradition, two men who embodied leadership often beyond party politics were honored in Washington for their combined century of service.” Read more here.


Memorable Quotes Through the Years

Howard Baker

“Listen more often than you speak.”

“If we cannot be civil to one another, and if we stop dealing with those with whom we disagree, or that we don’t like, we would soon stop functioning altogether.”

“What really makes the Senate work is an understanding of human nature, an appreciation of the hearts as well as the minds, the frailties as well as the strengths, of one’s colleagues and one’s constituents.”

“It is better to let a few important things be your legacy than to boast of a thousand bills that have no lasting significance.”

“The founders didn’t require a nation of supermen to make this government and this country work, but only honorable men and women laboring honestly and diligently and creatively in their public and private capacities.”

Bob Dole

“I do not need the presidency to make or refresh my soul. That false hope I will gladly leave to others, for greatness lies not in what office you hold, but in how honest you are. Tonight, I stand before you tested by adversity, made sensitive by hardship, a fighter by principle, and the most optimistic man in America.”
– Republican convention acceptance speech, August 1996

“His title of Leader is not just a job title – it’s a description of the man.”
– President Reagan, describing Bob Dole

“Conservatives believe in the economic and social benefits that come with competition. Life is a contest, with rewards in proportion to the risks taken. But to be valid, the contest must be open to all equally, and the same set of rules must be applied to everybody. Until 1964, the plain truth was that millions of Americans were prevented from developing God-given talents because of restrictions imposed by manmade laws. In denying our heritage, we were endangering our prosperity.”
– Bob Dole on his support of the 1964 Civil Rights and the 1965 Voting Rights Act

View more photos from the careers of Howard Baker and Bob Dole