AllPolitics - Candidates


[Bob and Robin]

Bob Dole married Phyllis Holden in June 1948 and divorced her in 1972. The couple had one child, Robin, on October 15, 1954. Dole then married Elizabeth Hanford (born July 29, 1936) on December 6, 1975.

Bob Dole met Phyllis at a veterans hospital in Battle Creek, Mich., where she was an occupational therapist (though she's quick to point out Dole was never one of her patients). Phyllis helped Dole in his college classes by occasionally taking notes for him and by writing tests for him when his professors would not give him the exams orally.

Phyllis also helped in his early campaigns. Dole had his only child, Robin, with Phyllis after they had thought adoption would be the only way for them to conceive a child. But Dole never discussed politics or his ambitions with Phyllis and worked late every night, even weekends. The marriage was falling apart. Phyllis and Bob Dole ate dinner together twice (Christmas and Easter) in the last year of their marriage, when Dole crisscrossed the nation for the RNC. In 1971 Dole abruptly told his wife, "I want out."

Phyllis Holden has since remarried. Once to rancher Lon Buzick (who died in 1977) and again to a retired school principal, Ben Macey. She now goes by Phyllis Macey and still lives in Kansas. Phyllis Macey says she supports her ex-huband for president in 1996, telling the Boston Globe in January 1996, "I think he would be a lot better than the one we have."

[Robin Dole]

Dole's daughter Robin grew up in Kansas and Washington D.C. She attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) and took a degree in psychology. After college, Robin Dole worked as a secretary for a year, then as a lobbyist for an oil company before being hired in 1981 to lobby for a real estate company, Century 21. In addition to lobbying duties at Century 21, Robin Dole managed the Political Action Committee, which gave $3,000 to Senator Dole in the 1991-92 cycle (she claims not to have discussed business with her father.)

Robin Dole left her post at Century 21 in December 1995 to help out on her father's campaign, though she has no official title other than "daughter of the candidate." Robin Dole lives in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Dole met Elizabeth Hanford in 1972 when she lobbied him to add a consumer plank to the 1972 Republican platform. The New Yorker reported in January 1996 that the meeting was arranged by Elizabeth's boss and mentor at the time, Virginia Knauer -- the woman in charge of Nixon's Consumer Affairs office. They married in 1975, creating one of Washington's most famous "power couples."

[Doles' Wedding]

Elizabeth was born in Salisbury, N.C., on July 29, 1936, to a wealthy wholesale florist. Elizabeth (self-nicknamed "Liddy" at the age of two), unlike Bob Dole, had a comfortable childhood, complete with a summer house and ballet lessons.

Elizabeth Dole (who prefers the press NOT refer to her as Liddy) graduated with honors from Duke University in 1958. She did post-graduate work at Oxford in 1959, then received a master's degree in education (1960) and law degree from Harvard (1965).

She moved to Washington to work for LBJ's Great Society in 1966, focusing on issues concerning the handicapped. In 1967 she worked for a law firm representing poor clients. In 1968 she switched her party affiliation from Democrat to independent and took a job in the Nixon White House as executive director of the President's Committee for Consumer Interests. Nixon then appointed Mrs. Dole to a seven-year term on the nonpartisan Federal Trade Commission. In 1975, before marrying Bob Dole, Mrs. Dole switched her party registration one more time, becoming a Republican. [Elizabeth Dole]

Few men or women have matched Elizabeth Dole's success in Washington. She has served as secretary for two federal departments (Transportation 1983-87, and Labor 1989-90) under two presidents (Reagan and Bush). She worked in the White House as a consumer affairs adviser by the age of 33 -- a record Bob Dole jokes that he can't match. Since 1991 Elizabeth Dole has held the high profile job of president of the American Red Cross. In 1988 a Gallup Poll listed her as one of World's 10 Most Admired Women, but it didn't help her husband's presidential campaign that year.

Elizabeth Dole reportedly has a warm relationship with Bob Dole's first wife, Phyllis. In 1986 Elizabeth Dole told Cosmopolitan, "Phyllis told me one time if I ever ran for office, she would be my campaign manager, that would really be interesting." [The Doles]

In 1988 (as would happen for Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1992), many questioned whether Elizabeth Dole would be content in a traditional, ceremonial role as first lady. She shied away from any suggestions that she would be her husband's co-president, but few doubted Transportation Secretary Dole would indeed transform the role of first lady. Early in the 1996 presidential campaign, there was talk of Elizabeth Dole lobbying Senator Dole on issues important to the Red Cross (funding for disaster aid, for instance) and on Oct. 30, 1995, she took a leave of absence from the Red Cross to work on her husband's campaign. Though she has no official title, she has kept a high profile, often filling in for her husband where he is unable to attend.

Mrs. Dole has said if Bob Dole is elected, she will rejoin the Red Cross, making her the first first lady to hold a job outside the White House.

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