(CNN) – Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole argued that some of the men among the younger generation of potential GOP presidential candidates aren't quite ready to take on the White House.
"A number of the younger members, first-termers like Rand Paul, (Marco) Rubio and that extreme-right-wing guy – Ted Cruz? All running for president now," he said in an interview this week with The Wichita Eagle. "I don't think they've got enough experience yet."
The former Republican senator from Kansas and 1996 GOP presidential nominee - who also served as a U.S. congressman as well as the GOP vice presidential nominee in 1976 - is returning to his roots this week for a nine-county tour around Kansas.
At meet-and-greet events and public discussions, the 90-year-old is sharing stories and taking questions from his former constituents.
Cruz made headlines last month for publicly criticizing Dole, as well as other failed GOP presidential nominees like John McCain and Mitt Romney. The Texas Republican said they were "good" and "decent men" but he suggested that they lacked principle and stood "for nothing," which was why they lost.
Dole told CNN at the time that "Senator Cruz needs to check the record before passing judgment."
As the former politician and World War II veteran travels around Kansas, he's emphasizing a message of bipartisanship.
"I always tried when I was the (Senate Republican Leader) leader for 10 years to of course work with my Republicans but also reach out to my friends on the other side. I found out you get more done if you sometimes have to compromise," he said Monday at an event in Olathe, Kansas.
In the interview with The Wichita Eagle, Dole joked that his "main concern about (the 2016) elections is that, well, I just hope I'm still around to vote then."
"If not ... I plan to vote absentee," he added, saying he has "no idea how they get the ballots back from up there…But I will check it out. And send it back special delivery."
CNN's Ashley Killough, Steve Brusk and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.