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Stan Collender on Republican Attack Dog Robert Dole

Robert Dole never outgrew his role as Nixon's henchman. Here's Stan Collender:

Hey, Scott. Bob Dole Did the Same Thing to Me: As far as I know, Scott McClellan and I only have one thing in common: Bob Dole has attacked us both. Dole’s attack on McClellan occurred last week when he sent an e-mail to the former White House press secretary to express his unhappiness about his tell-all book. Dole, a Kansas Republican who served as Senate Majority Leader, never said anything in the book was wrong. He simply implied that, because of his character, McClellan¹s opinion wasn¹t worth reading.

Dole’s attack on me occurred three weeks shy of 15 years ago. As you might suspect, it had to do with the federal budget. As was the case last week, he didn¹t dispute the substance of what I said. It was 1993, and the Senate was debating the budget resolution, which was based on the first Clinton budget. I had been quoted the day before in the Philadelphia Inquirer saying the economic forecast in that budget was the most honest in more than a decade. Coming after a series of budgets that had economic outlooks derisively named “Rosy Scenario” (and that was the most polite name used), this was actually a pretty easy call....

Around lunchtime the next day, Dole came to the Senate floor and went after me by name... he never disputed anything I had said or even tried to argue that it was incorrect. Instead, and again as he did in his e-mail to McClellan, he attacked me personally. He implied that my opinion wasn¹t worth anything because I had worked for three Democratic House Members. Somehow that made what I was saying incorrect or not credible even though by that time I hadn’t worked for anyone on Capital Hill for more than a decade.... He subsequently did an interview with another paragon of bipartisanship -- Rush Limbaugh -- and repeated his comments about me.

About a month or so after he attacked me on the Senate floor, I saw Dole being interviewed live on television and I called the studio to ask that he call me. Much to his credit, Dole returned the call. He didn’t apologize for what he had done but did say that I shouldn’t take it personally. He said my quote in the Inquirer was being used too effectively for it to be ignored and that he had wanted to limit the damage during the budget resolution debate by hurting my credibility. He then suggested I stop by his office for coffee....

Dole... [on] McClellan last week... used the same tactic on him that was used on me 15 years ago. Dole wasn’t disputing the substance of anything McClellan was saying, but he obviously felt the need to reduce the credibility of the person saying it because it was perceived to be damaging....

I still have a framed copy of the page from the Congressional Record with Dole’s attack on me hanging in my office. I smile whenever I look at it.

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