March 6th, 2008
11:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Dole: McCain has a temper, but it's not a problem


Watch portions of Larry King's interview with Bob Dole.

(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

Filed under: Bob Dole
soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. DT

    Nice way to spin your headline, CNN.

    I get real sick of sensationalist journalism like this. It's beneath your news organization. On behalf of people who believe in unbiased journalism, I'm ashamed of you.

    March 6, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  2. Dusacre

    John McCain has a temper and he is turning 72 years old. Most 72 years old cannot drive a car but the republican want us to elect a 72 years old man to lead the most powerful country in the world. A man who sings bomb bomb bomb Iran. Can America go for a third war with a very weak dollar and an economy that is getting worst?

    March 6, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  3. Jim T

    Bob Dole, helping out his Republican team. You gotta love the guy.

    March 6, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. andrew of california

    Dear Curious: same thing happened to me... I made two comments this morning. One said something like "awaiting moderation" and was not published. No wonder there are no comments that raise serious questions in any of this process this time. You can't mention Clinton history or mental disorders of certain candidates.

    March 6, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. Republican

    I'll vote for Obama over McCain, but I will vote for McCain over Clinton.

    March 6, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Chris, Denver CO

    Please, nobody vote for McCain. You've already saddled me with 8 years of Bush– haven't I suffered enough?

    March 6, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    Dole and Mckain have a kinship as they both will have been sacrificed to the electoral food chain by their own party.

    The big time Republican financial support will not be forthcoming in this election. As bad as the mess Dubya is leaving the next President, it can only get worse. The Repubs will save their dollars for 4 more years when their chances will be much better.

    March 6, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. CJ

    Why do you bother to report junk like this? So what if he has a temper. Most of us do. I am growing to loathe the news media for articles of this nature. What's your point? You WANT to instill riots don't you. You are destroying our country more than anything else.

    March 6, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. Ricky Marlin, New Orleans, LA

    It was nice of Dole to say Hillary is the first serious woman candidate for president, considering his wife ran for prez in republican primaries.

    But we all know it will be centuries before Republicans allow a black or female to be the nominee.

    March 6, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. Clinton for President!

    Not so fast Dole.

    The judgment argument will be flawed. Obama now has to deal with his "boneheaded" judgment that shaped his relationship with Tony Rezko.

    Hillary '08

    March 6, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Bubba

    So vote for the angriest old white man who's done time in prison to ever run for the office of president, because his inner rage is partly under control? Does he still publicly acknowledge his distaste for Americans of Asian descent by calling them 'gooks?' Sure, probably he won't invade Mexico or bomb Seattle, much. He could be our second president with Alzheimer's disease, what a milestone.

    March 6, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. Charlotte

    Who cares what Dole has to say.

    March 6, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Uncle Sam

    By his own admission, John McCain, like the rest of us, has his flaws. But if all I knew about John McCain was that, as a POW enduring torture, he was willing to forego his own freedom out of regard for his fellow US captives, that would be enough.

    March 6, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. anon

    Check out these mean-spirited comments on this topic:

    "Just another Loser go back in your hole!!!!"
    "Dole is old and senile."
    "mccain is a hot head...this angry old man."
    "Go do your ads for Viagra!"
    "Then we all better be ready to duck and cover when he has a PTSD episode."

    Wonder what would be said if McCain and Dole were not veterans who both overcame very adverse affects of their wars.

    Both are honorable men with respected bi-partisan senate records. In today's nearly 100% partisan congress, we could use more men more like McCain and Dole.
    Check out Clinton and Obama's partisan voting records.

    Partisan politics makes people mean and closed minded. Just read the comments on the ticker.

    March 6, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. AJ

    Your coverage is laughable. Just dont cover politics, unless you can become unbias, until then stick to covering global warming and other liberal jargan.

    March 6, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. Dennis

    Interesting interview he gave. I expected it to be much more partisan.

    March 6, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. sandy

    I have no problem with someone having a temper, but what does scare me about McCain is his singing. Remember bah bah bah,bomb,bomb,Iran. Now this is scary. And, he sang it with a smile on his face. I DO NOT want another 4 or 8 years of another Bush, and that is exactly what we will get. He voted 95% of the time in favor of Bush's brillant ideas. This should tell the American people something. And, oh yea, I sit everyday watching Hillary and her goons trying to figure out a way to illegally take the nomination away from Obama and make it look legal. If this happens, sit back and watch the fireworks in this country, and rightfully so. This will make the 60's look calm. Wake up America

    March 6, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. rr

    I can hardly wait to see McCain attack Obama! If Obama is crying now that he's defending himself against a woman, think how he will react against a man!! HA, HA Obama is too soft to be a President! He wants to hold hands with everyone and sing peace songs and believes there are not terrorist. According to him, the mention of future terrorist attacks are "scare tactics". Look what's going on in New York that "scare tactics"?

    March 6, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  19. Lilarose in Oregon

    I just asked bloggers a question about why not just have a national primary election and choose by popular vote. Whoever gets the most votes will win. Pretty simple. Any kid would think so.

    CNN hasn't put it on this blog–yet.

    They pick and choose whose comments are posted. That is censorship, isn't it?

    It was a good question. One that CNN should be asking anyway. One of Anderson's or Larry King's or Cafferty's questions.

    March 6, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  20. Anissa

    Sorry, this is actually a comment for the headline below this one on the ticker, but you can't comment on that article so I'm commenting on this one so hopefully someone reads it. The headline "Clinton leads Obama is Texas caucuses count" is wrong. Your article actually says that Obama is leading Clinton by about ten points. I don't think it's a conspiracy or anything...someone's probably just tired. 🙂 But you should probably fix that?


    March 6, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. Thom

    For those who would like to learn about another candidate's temper, try reading the book: "Unlimited Access – An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House." The author is Gary Aldrich.

    March 6, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. JD

    My comment was deleted too That's because I questioned McCain's mental fitness. I did so in a very concise and respectful manner and I have a copy of the text for other to see.

    Free Speech...?

    March 6, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  23. Pat

    Please change the headline 'Clinton leads Obama in Texas caucuses count' and the content that read the opposite (Obama leads). You got the headline wrong.

    March 6, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. Voltaire

    McCain–Dole 08! The ultimate geriatric ticket!

    March 6, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. Franklin

    Mr. Dole's statement "...or the first time since John Kennedy was elected, a senator will become commander-in-chief." vaguely implies that all Presidents since JFK have been Governors. This is simply not so.

    LBJ served in both houses. As did Richard Nixon

    Gerald Ford was a Congressman.

    I believe Mr Dole was stating a "currently serving Senator", but not very succinctly.

    March 6, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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