The transcript of remarks made by Condoleezza Rice, U.S. national security adviser, at Tuesday's dedication of the Dole Institute of Politics:
To all the distinguished platform guests, particularly President Carter, Madam governor, former Senator Dole, current Senator Dole, members of Congress and other distinguished guests:
It's a great honor to join so many outstanding Americans in dedicating the Dole Institute of Politics. I want you to know that President Bush and Vice President Cheney and the many friends in the Bush administration of the Doles wanted to send their very special regards to you, Bob, and a very happy birthday, as well.
Many of you are Bob Dole's former colleagues, former rivals, fellow veterans or friends. Like Bob, many of you represent a link to the glories of our nation's recent past, and like Bob, you continue to inspire those who will lead our nation into an ever-brighter future. This institute will help to train and equip those leaders. It will be dedicated to the proposition that every generation has the potential to equal or, even surpass, the achievements of the "Greatest Generation." Although heaven knows that will be hard, and it will bear the name and bring the spirit of one of the Greatest Generation's highest achievers: Robert Dole.
Being here is a special honor for me, because I've long admired Bob Dole's leadership on foreign policy issues and his appreciation of America's vital role in the world. In fact, I got my first taste of presidential politics working for Bob Dole. Not in 1996, but in that little primary affair in 1988, when many of my current colleagues in the White House were working for a different candidate who ran that year. Now, this is a fact about my resume that is not very well-known, least of all to Bob Dole, because 15 years ago I was a very junior adviser, and I doubt very seriously that he read those heartfelt memos that I wrote to him.
Nonetheless, in the years since, I've come to know Bob Dole well. I am proud to call him a friend and a neighbor. He and Elizabeth live in the same building as I do in Washington, the Watergate. We even attend the same church. They are good neighbors and good friends.
Of course, to really know someone, you have to see them in their element, and for Bob Dole, that means Kansas. Throughout a long career in Washington, Bob never forgot who sent him there. In Bob's advocacy, on behalf of the good people of this great state, you always heard the Kansas in him. It's not just in how he speaks, but in what he says. You hear, in Bob's voice, the plain-spoken, common-sense values that define the American character. You hear a man who was never petty, who was sometimes skeptical, but never cynical, someone who always took his responsibilities seriously, but never took himself seriously, and most of all, you hear in Bob someone who is decent and modest and fair. You hear the voice of the heartland, also someone with a big heart. In short, you hear the voice of America itself.
Bob has given himself more to America than most will ever do, and America is grateful. In war and in peace, in good times and in bad, Bob Dole has rendered his service, his body and his soul to a cause larger than himself: The cause of freedom.
During World War II, he served with honor and valor, and with a keen appreciation of America's special role. As he described it later, it was a mission unique in human history, and uniquely American in its idealism: to influence without conquest and to hold democratic ideals in sacred trust while many people waited in captivity.
Today, America leads a similar mission in the war on global terror. Once again, we are called to defend not just our people, but the universal values of freedom, and once again, we are liberating others from totalitarian dictators and murderous ideologies.
There are many differences between the battle for the Po Valley in Italy, and the battles of Afghanistan and Iraq. There is one overarching similarity. Those battles today, as those battles in the past, are being fought with skill and bravery by people like Bob Dole, who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, so that future generations may live in liberty.
It is instructive that Bob chose to name this the Dole Institute of Politics. Not the institute of governmental affairs or national leadership or strategic study. It is the Institute of Politics, because for Senator Dole, politics is not a bad word. It means for him what it did for ancient Greeks: It means "of citizens or the state." It means, for him, people coming together to solve their common problems and common challenges, and that is surely nothing to be ashamed of. As Bob Dole might say: "Bob Dole thinks politics is an honorable profession, and we should quit apologizing for it."
Through his years in the Senate, Bob Dole was a master of politics, a giant equal to any in our nation's history in crafting and passing legislation. Politics is sometimes called the art of the possible, but you always knew when Bob Dole practiced politics, there was also the possibility of art.
The Dole Institute will celebrate that art. It will sculpt the leaders willing to carry forward Bob Dole's legacy. Today, America needs entities like the Dole Institute. One national leader put it this way: "The moral challenges of our times still demand conviction and courage and character. They still require young men and women with faith in our process. They still demand idealists captured by the honor and adventure of service. They still demand citizens who accept responsibility and who defy cynicism, affirming American faith and renewing her hope."
That leader was Bob Dole, receiving the Medal of Freedom six years ago, and those words will echo down through the ages to all those who dare to carry freedom's torch. Bob, on behalf of myself, the nation and a grateful people, thank you, and happy birthday.