In interviews Wednesday, former senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole said they looked forward to relaying the importance of public service to young people when they visit Kansas University this weekend.
Bob Dole said being part of a couple where both partners had large responsibilities outside the home used to be rare, but now it’s more common.
One important element of the couple’s success is maintaining a healthy interest in the other’s activities.
“You keep busy,” Dole said, but “you’re interested in what your spouse is doing.”
He also talked about the other famous senator from Russell, Kan., Arlen Specter, who announced this week that he was changing party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.
“I lost my partner,” Dole said, adding that he jokingly sent an e-mail to Specter saying he intended to take Specter’s name off the sign along Interstate 70 and replace it with pictures of the people running against him.
He also talked about Kathleen Sebelius’ ascension to secretary of health and human services this week — a move that he supported.
“I would say she’s probably got the toughest job in Washington coming up,” he said, referencing the Obama administration’s plans for a new health care policy.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Dole said that when she led the Red Cross, she had the opportunity to travel to Africa, and she found the haunting images of starvation on television affecting actual people, which had a profound impact on her.
She hoped to inspire young people to find their own passions.
“I’d encourage them to find that sense of mission and purpose,” she said.
She said that the Doles usually tried to keep Sundays as a couple day for church and visiting with family and friends.
The 2009 Dole Lecture featuring both former senators in an interview with Bill Lacy, Dole Institute director, is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Lied Center. Free tickets are available by calling the Lied Center at 864-2787.