October 27, 2002 - The Fayetteville Observer: Senate Candidate Elizabeth Dole spent summers interning at Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 10 October 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: October 27, 2002 - The Fayetteville Observer: Senate Candidate Elizabeth Dole spent summers interning at Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, October 28, 2002 - 8:22 pm: Edit Post

Senate Candidate Elizabeth Dole spent summers interning at Peace Corps

Read and comment on this profile of Senate candidate Elizabeth Dole from the Fayetteville Observer that mentions that in the early 1960's she spent summers interning at Peace Corps Headquarters. If elected she would join West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller who also worked at Peace Corps Headquarters in the 1960's. Read the story at:

Dole's path paved with ambition*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Dole's path paved with ambition

By Scott Mooneyham
The Associated Press

SALISBURY - Elizabeth Dole is no small-town girl who suddenly awoke one day to find herself among Washington's elite.

From an upbringing that emphasized self-improvement at an early age to her penchant for ceaseless organizing, the Salisbury native seemed to prepare from the start for the life near the top of the political food chain.

After four decades in Washington serving in the administrations of four presidents, Dole came home to North Carolina last year to seek the U.S. Senate seat being given up by Republican Jesse Helms.

Dole admits that her drive toward a political life began early.

"My first elected office was in the bird club in the third grade," she said in a recent interview.

Still, girls growing up in the small Southern towns in the 1940s and 1950s didn't exactly dream of becoming presidential appointees, much less winning the office itself.

Dole, at the time, was no different.

She practiced the piano and took ballet lessons. She entered essay contests and attended debutante balls.

She was born into a well-to-do family; her father owned and operated a florist wholesale business. Although Dole was a straight-A student and went to Duke University, her mother expected that she would eventually do what many Southern women did after college - come back home, teach school and marry.

Instead, she went to Harvard in 1959 to work on a master's degree in education.

Dole studied political science at Duke and was voted student body president for the women's East Campus. But it was at Harvard where her longtime interest in politics took off.

She spent summers interning for Democratic Sen. B. Everett Jordan of North Carolina and at the Peace Corps.

"My summers, I enjoyed doing things. The Washington scene, I think it was all a learning experience, no question," Dole said. "All my recollections are of very happy summers."

Pursuing law

During the school year, she worked part-time as a secretary at Harvard Law School. Encouraged by her bosses there, she decided to pursue a law degree. Her mother, who is now 101 and still lives in Salisbury, literally became sick when told of her daughter's decision.

Dole was one of 24 women in a class of 550 that entered the law school in 1962. She earned her degree in 1965 and soon eased into the federal bureaucracy and Washington life.

"I was active all the way through school in that area (politics)," she said. "Just gradually, this interest in public policy took hold. There was no defining moment. It just sort of evolved over the years."

Dole began her career as a Democrat, working in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in President Johnson's administration. Later, she moved to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, beginning her long passion for consumer issues.

Between those jobs and overlapping them, Dole practiced some law representing the poor in night court. She likes to tell the story of defending a man charged with annoying or teasing a zoo animal for petting a lion at the National Zoo. He was let off after Dole argued that the lion couldn't testify that it was actually annoyed.

Dole made the transition to the Nixon White House in 1969, changing her party affiliation to independent and working for new White House consumer chief Virginia Knauer.

Knauer made Dole her chief deputy and protege, and the two began a friendship that continues today.

The relationship put Dole on the path to a succession of powerful positions - a six-year stint on the Federal Trade Commission, two years as a public liaison for President Reagan, then his transportation secretary and two years as secretary of labor under the elder President Bush. In those roles, Dole would have a hand in initiatives such as putting air bags in cars, mandatory-seat-belt laws, prohibitions against teenage school-bus drivers, and putting a third brake light on the backs of cars.

But at first, after four years in the Nixon White House, Dole was hesitant to leave for the FTC, Knauer recalled recently.

"I told her I thought it was time to be No. 1, and not my No. 2," Knauer said. "Now she jokes about that and says her mentor - that was me - threw her out."

Meeting her match

Knauer also played another pivotal role in Dole's life, introducing her to Kansas Sen. Bob Dole in 1972.

Dole had dated congressmen, diplomats and business chiefs. She hadn't settled on any of them.

"She had a great many admirers, but she wasn't taking any of them seriously," Knauer said. "I analyzed them a little more closely and decided that none of them had a sense of humor."

Knauer decided the recently divorced Bob Dole, known for his wit, might fit the bill. The consumer office was working on an issue that he was involved with, and Knauer, in a meeting with the senator, adeptly handed off the explanation to her deputy.

"I said, 'She is really the one who is spearheading this.' She kind of gave me a look," Knauer said. "I had to be very careful with Elizabeth. She was one who didn't like to be pushed."

Three years later, the two married and became one of Washington's power couples. And Dole changed her party affiliation a second time, this time to Republican.

Over the next two decades, she took time off from her own career on three separate occasions to help her husband campaign for president.

It was during his 1996 campaign as the GOP nominee that Elizabeth Dole, on a 14-month break from her job as Red Cross president, became a household name. That celebrity led to her own aborted bid for president in 1999.

Friends and admirers say Dole's remarkable career is the result of her combination of relentless work ethic, intelligence, savvy and charm.

Jenna Dorn, federal transit administrator in the Bush administration and a Dole deputy at the Red Cross and Department of Labor, says Dole has a doggedness that shouldn't be underestimated.

"She is very smart, and she is very passionate. She is politically astute. She knows how to win and influence people," Dorn said. "There is no question that in every job or career choice, she gravitates to the place where she believes she can make a real difference. And she is just relentless in her pursuit of whatever issues she thinks are important."

Drawing criticism

But it's that same perfectionist streak, and an inability to accept the occasional defeat, that even Dole admits has caused problems for her.

During her presidential bid, Dole became well-known for overly scripted, uninspiring campaign appearances. Her attention to detail was at times so elaborate that she laid out her walking lines, down to the number of steps, on stage.

Dole doesn't apologize for doing her homework.

"Do you think that North Carolina wants somebody who shoots from the hip? I don't think so," she said.

Her harsher critics, though, have used those characteristics to portray her as a woman consumed by her image and her ambition.

"I think it all comes down to image. She is tremendous at image," said Judith Reitman, author of "Bad Blood: Crisis in the American Red Cross," a critical look at Dole's time at the Red Cross.

Dorn says those critics don't know or understand Elizabeth Dole.

"She did things that could have potentially hurt her image," Dorn said. "If she were a person who is unduly concerned about her image, I don't think she would have taken on half the challenges that she did."

Click on a link below for more stories on PCOL

Top Stories and Discussion on PCOL
Dodd's Amended Bill passes in SenateElection 2002:  RPCVs run for office
Peace Corps Volunteers Safe in Ivory CoastA Profile of Gaddi Vasquez
Sargent Shriver and the Politics of Life911:  A Different America
USA Freedom Corps - "paved with good intentions"PCV hostage rescued from terrorists
GAO reports on Volunteer Safety and SecurityPeace Corps out of Russia?
Help the New Peace Corps Bill pass CongressUSA Freedom Cops TIPS Program

Top Stories and Discussion on PCOL
Senior Staff Appointments at Peace Corps HeadquartersFor the Peace Corps Fallen
Senator Dodd holds Hearings on New Peace Corps LegislationThe Debate over the Peace Corps Fund
Why the Peace Corps needs a Fourth GoalThe Peace Corps 40th plus one
The Case for Peace Corps IndependenceThe Controversy over Lariam
The Peace Corps and Homeland SecurityDirector Vasquez meets with RPCVs
RPCV Congressmen support Peace Corps' autonomyPeace Corps Expansion:  The Numbers Game?
When should the Peace Corps return to Afghanistan?Peace Corps Cartoons

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines;



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.