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Former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas has transformed himself in...

August 24, 2004

Former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas has transformed himself in recent years from the Republican Party's nastiest hatchet man to a cuddly, clever and beloved elder statesman. His terrible wounds from World War II have been an important part of this transformation, making him a visible symbol of the sacrifices of America's Greatest Generation.

Why would Dole put that makeover in jeopardy -- and tarnish his own heroism and sacrifice -- by starting a grotesque game of wound one-upmanship on behalf of George W. Bush, who never suffered anything worse during his (intermittent) service in the Texas Air National Guard than a hangover?

John Kerry "never bled," and his wounds in Vietnam were only "superficial," Dole declared Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition." Not good enough! You call those wounds? Why lemme tell you, young fella....

So give this round to the GOP. Next, the Democrats can be represented by former Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, who lost three limbs in Vietnam, and lost a Senate race to a Republican who questioned his patriotism.

Two parties can play this game. But who on Earth would want to?

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