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Bob Dole knew A LOT about Rhode Island politics

The former senate leader paid close attention to Rhode Island politics over the years, including once playing bocce with a promising young Republican mayor named Vincent A. Cianci

US Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole addresses a campaign rally at the Calcot cotton marketing coop in Bakersfield, California,J. DAVID AKE/AFP via Getty Images

Happy Monday! I’m Dan McGowan and it was so nice to see The Dunk rocking during the PC/URI game on Saturday. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

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Fully vaccinated: 769,093 (of about 1.1 million residents)

New cases: 959 (on Friday)

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Currently hospitalized: 162

Total deaths: 2,941

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Leading off

If you get a chance today, make sure you take some time to read an obituary or two for Bob Dole, the former senate leader and 1996 Republican presidential nominee who was a major player in American politics for much of the second half of the 20th century.


What you might not remember about Dole is that the Kansas Republican had a close friendship with former Rhode Island governor and senator John Chafee, and even made several visits to the state to support Republicans over the years.

A quick search of Dole’s archives that are housed at the University of Kansas show Dole paid close attention to Rhode Island politics over the years, including once playing bocce with a promising young Republican mayor named Vincent A. Cianci Jr. Dole also appeared at a Republican fundraiser at Rhode Island College in 1972, delivering a speech touting then-president Richard Nixon’s bid for re-election. But it was his relationship with Chafee that kept Dole returning to Rhode Island over the years.

In 1989, he traveled to the state to rally support for Chafee and other prominent Republicans, like then- representative Claudine Schneider, who was gearing up for a run for senate against Democrat Claiborne Pell.


”Rhode Island may be small in size, but I see big things in the future for Claudine Schneider,” Dole said in his prepared remarks.

An extensive document prepared ahead of Dole’s visit included the unfortunate reminder that “Rhode Island has always been a great state for scandal” along with the correction pronunciations of the names of other well-known Rhode Island politicians like then-representative Ronald Machtley (“MAKE-LEE”) and then-Cranston mayor Michael Traficante (“TRAF-FA-CANT-EE”).

Dole returned to Rhode Island four years later for another John Chafee fundraiser, where he praised the success of Republicans in statewide races and recognized the senator’s son, Warwick mayor Lincoln Chafee. “With a good Republican name like that, it’s no wonder he ended up politics,” Dole said at the time.

Dole’s speech in 1993 also noted the key role John Chafee would play in the health care debate, and mentioned that the two had recently discussed the issue in a meeting with first lady Hillary Clinton (she sent this thank you note to Dole after that meeting).

During his speech, Dole made sure to include a light-hearted jab at the notoriously long-winded president, Bill Clinton, who had just delivered his first message before a joint session of Congress.

”I have to admit that I got a bit worried during the president’s speech on Wednesday whether or not I’d make it here this evening,” Dole said. “As the president approached the one-hour mark, I thought that if he got his second wind, he’d keep speaking all the way through the weekend.”


The Globe in Rhode Island

⚓ A patient being transported home by a state medical transportation subcontractor died after a crash, and the state is citing “illegal activity and policy violations” in the incident. Read more.

⚓ It’s been a long time coming, but a lifelong dream of former “Bachelor” reality show franchise contestant Jared Haibon came to fruition Saturday with the grand opening of Audrey’s, billed as a coffee house by day, wine bar by night. Read more.

⚓ It looks like Block Island is going to have a new senator. Read more.

⚓ The North Kingstown School Department has agreed to give a lawyer for three former student-athletes all records, videos, computer files, and documents related to former high school basketball coach Aaron Thomas within 45 days. Read more.

⚓ This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Shey Rivera Ríos, who will present a virtual iteration of “Fire Flowers and a Time Machine” (Flores de Fuego y una Máquina del Tiempo) with the Wilbury Theatre Group starting Dec. 16. E-mail Alexa Gagosz with suggestions for this weekly interview.  Read more.

Here’s more Globe Rhode Island coverage.

Also in the Globe

⚓ After three straight governors with close ties to Massachusetts’ private sector, business leaders wonder if they’ll still have a friend in the corner office on Beacon Hill. Read more.

⚓ Like a poker player drawing nothing but rags, DraftKings chief executive Jason Robins has faced a run of bad luck this year that’s cut his company’s stock price in half since March. Read more.


⚓ Tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup between the Patriots and the Bills is going to draw Super Bowl-like television ratings in New England. Read more.

Our journalism relies on support from readers like you. Please help us continue our mission with a subscription to the Globe. Here’s a special deal for Rhode Island.

What’s on tap today

E-mail events to us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ The board for the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation meets at 5 p.m. Here’s the agenda.

⚓ The Special Commission on Reapportionment (redistricting) meets at Smithfield High School at 6 p.m.

⚓ Warren’s Charter Review Commission meets at 7 p.m. Here’s the agenda.

My previous column

I asked the six Democratic candidates for governor to offer some advice to President Joe Biden. They mostly talked about themselves.

If you missed the column, you can read it here. And all of my columns are on our Rhode Island Commentary page.

Rhode Island Report podcast

I talked to CCRI President Meghan Hughes about her new role as chair of the board for the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerece. Listen to all of our podcasts here.

Boston Globe App

You can get alerts about Rhode Island news on the Globe’s app (iOS and Android). Just tap the gear icon, then “Edit Alert Settings,” and choose Rhode Island.

Thanks for reading. Send comments and suggestions to Dan.McGowan@Globe.com, or follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan. See you tomorrow.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him @danmcgowan.