Taking his presidential campaign to a key battleground state, Republican nominee-in-waiting Bob Dole used a Memorial Day trip to New Jersey to honor military veterans and to underscore the need for U.S. military might.
“We are the only country with the potential and resources to provide the leadership and to keep the world free,” Dole said at a solemn ceremony at a war memorial in this northern New Jersey town of 72,000. “And that’s a heavy responsibility.”
Under gray skies and surrounded by waving American flags, the wounded World War II veteran avoided the obvious political comparisons with President Clinton’s lack of military service. He placed a wreath at the memorial, then stepped back and saluted with his good left hand.
Later, asked about the contrast between his and Clinton’s records, Dole told reporters: “I go to services every Memorial Day. But I can’t change his record, and he can’t change my record. These are facts. I’m proud to have served my country.”
Dole received a warm welcome from the more than 2,000 Clifton residents at the memorial observance and a downtown parade that preceded it. The town leans Republican in presidential voting.
“I’m proud to have Bob Dole running for president. He’d be a great hero in the White House,” said Don Wagda, a 20-year-old who carried a sign that read: “Bob Dole: A true American hero.”
But another parade watcher, Elaine Adler-Amrani, said she worried that Dole is “too old … President is a tough job.” She said she probably would vote for Clinton as “the lesser of two evils.”