(CNN) - Former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole said Wednesday night that current White House hopeful John McCain has a temper - but added the Arizona senator “can control it.”
Dole told CNN’s Larry King that his former Senate colleague “does have a… I guess you could say temper. But I always sort of rationalized that because the poor guy had been locked up” in a tiny cell for six years. But McCain, he said, “can control it. It's not a problem anymore.”
Dole, a former Senate Majority Leader, told King that the 2008 presidential campaign was historic because it featured “two very unusual candidates - the first serious black candidate for president and the first serious woman candidate” and because, for the first time since John Kennedy was elected, a senator will become commander-in-chief.
Dole, a long-time Kansas senator, ran for president in 1988 and in 1996, when he was the GOP nominee.
He said Wednesday that one of McCain’s potential fall opponents, Barack Obama, had “sort of become the pied piper of American politics - a great speaker. He draws huge crowds.” Dole also said that if Obama is the nominee, age could become an issue in the campaign.
If his White House bid is successful, McCain would be the oldest candidate elected to his first term.
Dole told King that Hillary Clinton can “play the experience card, but on the other hand I think Obama would say it’s not so much somebody’s experience, it’s your judgment that counts. It’s not who picks up the phone, it’s what you do say when you pick it up.’’
He also predicted that the Democratic race “is going to get pretty rough and tumble in the next 30, 40, 50 days."
– CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand