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USA: WASHINGTON: BOB DOLE SAYS FAREWELL TO SENATE UPDATE

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USA: WASHINGTON: BOB DOLE SAYS FAREWELL TO SENATE UPDATE
English/Nat

An emotional Bob Dole said farewell to the U-S Senate Tuesday to concentrate full-time on his presidential campaign.

The Republican candidate and Senate Majority leader received a standing ovation from his fellow senators and a special resolution was passed naming the balcony of the office of the Senate majority leader after him.

It was a place he used so much the balcony became known as "the Dole beach."

Majority leader and Republican Presidential Candidate Bob Dole bid farewell to the US Senate on Tuesday.

He is leaving  Congress after 35 years to concentrate his full energies on the race for the White House.

A standing ovation greeted Bob Dole as he arrived to give his farewell speech.

A special resolution was passed naming the balcony of the office of the Senate majority leader after him.

He quipped that the sign should be in clearly visible to potential voters.

SOUNDBITE:
I appreciate very  much the resolution just passed - Will it be in big letters or in neon...
SUPER CAPTION: Bob Dole, Republican Presidential Candidate

Then it got more serious.

Choked with emotion he especially thanked his family for all the support given over the years.

SOUNDBITE:
If all of us were leaving this year and I'm only one, I know we would have the same thoughts and the same emotions. If we could all go out and shake hands with all the people who are responsible for us being here, it would take a long, long time. You begin with your family, you obviously begin with your parents, your brothers, your sisters and you think about all the support they provided and all the good things that happened.
SUPER CAPTION: Bob Dole, Republican Presidential Candidate

It was Bob Dole's last day as majority leader, a position he has held for 11 years, longer than anyone in history.

SOUNDBITE:
But the Bible tells us for everything there is a season, and I think my season in the Senate was about to come to an end. But the new season before me makes this moment far less the closing of one chapter, than  the opening of another. 
SUPER CAPTION: Bob Dole, Republican Presidential Candidate

House Speaker and  Dole's Republican colleague, Newt Gingrich watched from the gallery.

Dole spoke with optimism about the future.

SOUNDBITE:
And like everybody here, I'm an optimist. I believe our best tomorrow's are yet to be lived. So I again thank you, God bless America. And God bless the United States Senate.
SUPER CAPTION: Bob Dole, Republican Presidential Candidate

After his speech he was joined on the steps of the Congress by a large crowd of well-wishers.

Dole took one long last trip down the steps, stopping to shake hands and even kiss his fans. 

By the time he got to the bottom, he was looking every inch the Presidential candidate, taking an impromptu walk over to sections of the crowd who hadn't already caught a glimpse of him.

It was the sort of reception he'll be wanting more of if he is to catch up with President Clinton in the polls.


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