January 8th, 2011
08:54 PM ET

Bob Dole in the hospital

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole was in and out of Walter Reed Army Medical Center earlier this week because of an elevated temperature, but the former lawmaker disclosed Saturday that he has now been admitted to the hospital yet again after the fever returned.

In a written statement obtained by CNN, the 87-year-old Dole revealed that he was admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Tuesday because of the initial fever.

“I was examined, treated and discharged Friday when everything looked clear,” Dole said in the statement released by Alston & Bird, the law firm where he serves as special counsel. “After a recurrence of a fever I decided to stop by the George Washington University Hospital nearby then return to Walter Reed Friday evening for further examination.”

Dole added, “Overall I feel good today and I am grateful for the tremendous care I have received and continue to receive at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.”

The former Senator spent about 10 months last year at Walter Reed recuperating from knee surgery. His stay was extended because of multiple bouts with pneumonia while he recuperated from the double knee replacement surgery.

After being badly wounded in battle during World War II, Dole was left with a paralyzed right arm and other major injuries. But he battled all the way back to have one of the most illustrious careers in American political history, known for his wisecracking nature and many bipartisan legislative victories in the House and Senate.

He was the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1976 and lost multiple bids of his own for the White House, including as the 1996 presidential nominee.

After leaving politics, Dole used his sense of humor to rake in some big dollars as a TV pitchman, filming a popular commercial for the sexual enhancement drug Viagra as well as a Pepsi commercial with pop star Britney Spears.

But Dole has also spent countless hours greeting fellow members of the Greatest Generation at The National World War Two Memorial in Washington, continuing a lifelong commitment to promoting the service of military veterans. He served as co-chair of a 2007 presidential commission that investigated shoddy conditions at Walter Reed for some military veterans returning from battle in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In a long 2010 interview with CNN, however, Dole had nothing but praise for the medial attention he received in the hospital’s VIP wing during the physical therapy for his knees. And he used that well-documented sense of humor to cheer up some of the young veterans who were rehabilitating beside him at Walter Reed.

“He’s a very funny guy, so he keeps everybody around him laughing and in good spirits,” said Air Force Sgt. Christopher Curtis, 32, who was in dire shape after his CV-22 Osprey crashed in Afghanistan last April.

At the time, Dole said he sympathized with Curtis and some of the other young vets returning from Afghanistan and Iraq because it reminded him of the terrible shape he found himself in back in 1945. “I couldn’t move, I was in a body cast,” Dole recalled. “That’s all behind me, but it does give you pause. I think about, ‘Jiminy – was I ever in as bad a shape as Chris.”

For his part, Curtis said recovering alongside the former Senator inspired him “knowing that I’m going through what [Dole] went through.”

When Curtis told Dole that he voted for him in the losing 1996 campaign against then-President Bill Clinton, the former candidate deadpanned, “I finally found somebody that voted for me.”

In the interview with CNN, Dole added that he never dwells on how close he came to be electing president.

“You’ve got to move on, you know life’s short,” Dole said. “You’ve got to keep pushing and realize we live in a great country. One chapter ends and another chapter starts. You keep going.”

–CNN’s Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

Topics: Uncategorized

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. bspurloc

    to super glue the pen back to his hand?

    January 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  2. Martiniano

    A wounded war hero. I don't agree with his politics but I thank him for his service to America and hope he is well soon or, if it is to be, that he passes peacefully.

    January 8, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  3. flzp300

    woww im sorry for him

    January 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  4. Steve M

    Hang in there senator! The world needs more lighthearted folk who know how to laugh! God be with you!

    January 8, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  5. John

    Get well soon Bob!

    January 8, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  6. John Compton

    He is a classic patriot and gentleman. We need more of him in Congress.

    January 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  7. Chris in ATL

    Here's hoping for a full and speedy recovery!

    January 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
  8. Aduck

    Is it Bieber fever?

    January 8, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  9. str8whtguy

    I've always been a liberal Democrat, always will be, voted for Clinton in 1996. I still say that Bob Dole is a true American hero (and a funny one at that), one whose politics I happen to disagree with. Get well soon, Bob!

    January 8, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  10. Darci McEneny~Ingraham

    Sending many get-well wishes and our thoughts to Bob Dole. ...As my son Courtland is celebrating his 15th Birthday, we always think about his 1st real words as a baby in 1996, and those amazing 1st words being "Bob Dole" repeated over and over again. People were always so astonished to hear this from a 9 month young infant! My son then went on to amaze all with his incredible, factual knowledge of American History and U.S. Presidents, as only a pre-schooler, ... an inspiration from those 1st special and memorable, repetitive words saying, Senator Bob Dole! ... A true inspiration to a little boy who's aspiration and dream was then, and still is now, to pursue a career like that of Senator Bob Dole. With all our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery, and with my son Courtland's Birthday Wish for a special "Get Well Wish" to the very inspirational Bob Dole. God Bless, Darci and Courtland of Guilderland, N.Y.

    January 9, 2011 at 12:41 am |
  11. PK

    Get 100% well soon, Sir! 🙂

    January 9, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  12. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Get well Mr Dole! You were one of the last of the mohicans of the GOP! You were an ABRAHAM LINCOLN REPUBLICAN. I really don't belive that there are many of you left now! I don't know what kind of folks are up there claiming to be part of the GRAND OLD PARTY now! However, best wishes and get well soon!

    January 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm |