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Monday, 28 October, 2002, 16:52 GMT
Elizabeth Dole: Feisty campaigner
Elizabeth and Bob Dole
Elizabeth has been in the shadow of her husband Bob

Elizabeth Dole is a feisty campaigner with a solid record of public office behind her as she follows the veteran Southern conservative Jesse Helms into the Senate for North Carolina.

She is a more moderate conservative than Mr Helms, though it would be hard not to be.

The wife of former senator and presidential candidate Robert Dole, she prefers to run in her own right.

Her at times brisk image is softened by the familiarity of her nickname Liddy.

Swept aside

The race for the Senate was in fact second best for this woman of achievement and ambition.

She contested for the highest office in the land when she put herself forward for the Republican presidential nomination against George Bush and many others in 1999.

She was swept aside by the Bush machine and dropped out early on. Her campaign manager Ari Fleischer was taken on by the Bush team and is now White House spokesman.


Her most prominent position was as head of the American Red Cross

Elizabeth Dole describes herself as the "first viable woman candidate from a major political party" and she made some impact, especially among young women voters in that campaign but never connected to the people in general.

Reporters recall her attending a farm fair in Des Moines, Iowa, in high heeled shoes.

It seemed to sum up her campaign - smart, well organised but not very popular.

Yet she has had a career with which many would be satisfied. She served five presidents.

Ronal Reagan (stills)
Elizabth Dole has served five presidents including Ronald Reagan
She was in President Reagan's cabinet as Secretary of Transportation and said that one of her legacies was the strip of lighting on the floors of aircraft to lead passengers to the exits.

She was also in President Bush senior's cabinet as Secretary of Labor.

Her most prominent position was as head of the American Red Cross, with 32,000 paid employees and more than a million volunteers.

The American Red Cross is not just called out for disasters. It is responsible for the blood supply in the United States and she led a modernisation of the system. Of her competence there is no doubt.

Inevitably though, Elizabeth Dole fell somewhat under the shadow of her husband Bob, a plain-speaking war hero with a penchant for publicity.

The 2002 mid-terms gave her the chance to match him.


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