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    Clinton Honors Dole With Medal Of Freedom

    Clinton awards medal

    WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 17) -- In a ceremony both touching and funny, President Bill Clinton today honored his rival of last year, former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for Dole's service in World War II and Congress. (320K AIFF or WAV sound) (1MB QuickTime movie)

    Clinton, who put aside the acrimony of last year's presidential campaign, praised Dole for his service in the war, when he was gravely injured, and for his later legislative work.

    "His recuperation was long and uncertain, yet Senator Dole turned adversity to advantage and pain to public service," Clinton said. As a senator, Clinton noted, Dole worked on issues affecting farmers and disabled people and helped with Social Security reform.

    Dole was clearly touched by the award, but nevertheless he began his remarks with a joke.

    Dole

    "I, Robert J. Dole, do solemnly swear..." he said, as laughter erupted in the room. (320K AIFF or WAV sound)

    "Sorry, wrong speech," Dole said. "But I had a dream that I would be here this week, receiving something from the president, but I thought it would be the front door key."

    Turning serious, Dole said no one can claim to be equal to the nation's highest civilian award, "but I will cherish it as long as I live." (96K AIFF or WAV sound) Clinton and Dole

    Dole praised American ideals of hope and public service, saying, "At every stage of my life, I've been a witness to the greatness of this country." Dole said he has seen the United States overcome economic depression, segregation and communism, "turning back mortal threats to human freedom."

    When he came to Congress, Dole said, he felt "part of something great and noble" and said he has seen politics elevated by courage into history, with landmark legislation on civil rights and equal access for disabled people.

    "No one who took part in those honorable causes can doubt that public service, at its best, is noble," Dole said.


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