Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole on Sunday called John McCain his “hero.”
Image: Bob Dole and John McCain
“There wasn’t anything to criticize. The guy was honest, he was a man of integrity and he spoke his mind and if you didn’t agree with him, that was OK with him,” Dole told CNN’s Ana Cabrera during a phone interview. “But he wanted to make his position clear that he would vote for measures that were good for America, period.”
McCain, 81, died Saturday after a year-long battle with brain cancer.
Many lawmakers remembered McCain for his willingness to reach across the aisle and break with his own party, even if it hurt the GOP’s plans.
Last year, he cast the deciding vote against a bill that would have repealed Democrats’ signature health care law. Strolling in to the chamber after 1 a.m., his face still scarred from surgery following a cancer diagnosis, the former Arizona Republican raised his right hand, paused and flashed a determined thumbs-down, drawing gasps.
“He was the complete package,” added Dole.
“We were so honored to have John McCain in the senate and part of our team. He’s a great guy and a good friend and an icon.
“He [McCain] was a man who loved his family, loved Cindy, his wife, and he loved the people he worked with, his staff. There was never any doubt about John McCain’s honesty or integrity. You didn’t have to agree with him, but you would listen to him, because he made a lot of sense.”
McCain nominated Dole for president in 1996, and considered him a friend and a mentor.
Dole said McCain would sometimes have a temper, but that it was to be expected.
“He had courage, of course, demonstrated when he was a prisoner of war, but he was also a very bright, very smart man and senator. And, now, sometimes John would get a little angry, and somebody would complain to me as the leader and I would just simply say, ‘If you were locked up in a cage for five years, you might lose your temper now and then, too.’”