TOPICS > Politics

Robin Dole Speaking About her Father Robert Dole at the RNC

August 14, 1996 at 12:00 AM EDT


ROBIN DOLE:  Thank you very much.And thank you for what you are about to do: nominate my father for President of the United States of America.I think he just might accept.

My Dad taught me not to take myself too seriously. Which is good advice.But it is my great privilege to be his daughter.So tonight — I hope Dad will forgive me if I overlook what he said… so I can tell you who he is.

My Dad is a public man in a world where everyone feels qualified to offer opinions on the character of public men.But “I” am Bob Dole’s only child.I have a private window I can open for you.And if I do… perhaps you, too, will see the man I’ll always love best.

When I close my eyes and call up the memories of my childhood, I feel the rock of my Dad’s love, his steadiness and the absolute certainty that he would always be there.When I got lost at the amusement park, he found me.When I was scared on the roller coaster, he was behind me yelling:”Yippee!”When I thought he was lost after we got off, I found him around the corner buying tickets for a family of strangers.He’d found the children crying because they couldn’t afford to ride.By example, more than words, I learned how to give of myself freely, and to be grateful to those who give to me.

Like so many American girls of my generation, my Dad taught me how to ride a bike… and how to get up again without tears after skinning my knee.He taught me to face down my math homework with determination and confidence.And without any visible signs of panic… he taught me to drive.He could teach me these things and much more because first he taught me to trust… and be worthy of trust, in return.I could learn them because of a belief in myself that was born in his unwavering belief in me.

I’ve always thought my Dad could do anything, so as a teenager in love with Paul McCartney I asked to meet the Beatles.Of course he couldn’t deliver…But he got me to the concert.Dad was the parent who drove me and my friends on our early dates, which came in handy when my escort didn’t meet the restaurant dress code before my first Sadie Hawkins dance.I don’t think Dad ever got his tie back. But he never let me down.

As a young woman I stayed out too late…and slept too late…and occasionally broke some rules.Which is how I can confirm that my Dad is a man of discipline.But I learned from my experiences on the outside of his will one of the most important lessons of all:To hold in my heart a capacity for forgiveness.To keep first in my mind the knowledge that almost everyone deserves a second chance.My Dad taught me the importance of strength in success, and the nobility of strength in failure.and, he taught me how to love.

I wish every child could grow up as I did, with a father she knew would love her without condition, keep her safe from harm, glory in her independence and drive deep in her soul an unshakable understanding of right and wrong.

As a woman, I now work with troubled teenage girls, and my eyes have opened on a much different world.Each time they tell me one of their sad stories, I think about how lucky I am.I am the imperfect child of a great man.I want with all my heart for him to be President.But that will not elevate him in my eyes.He could stand no taller than he does now.I still see him from the perspective of his child at his knee, steadied by his sure grip on my hand.He is my father, and that is the world, to me.

Thank you, Dad, for giving me life, and teaching me how to live it with a good and open heart.You have taught me how to find happiness, and my own fulfillment.I am so proud to be your daughter.

Thank you very much.May God bless you, God bless my father, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you.