January 8th, 2011
08:54 PM ET
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.”
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.