15 Days: Dole flip-flops on key issues

DAY 15

On this day in 1999, Elizabeth Dole, then registered as a Kansan, ended her bid for the presidency. Several years later she would find herself running for Senate in North Carolina, changing her stance on issues such as gun control, Family Medical Leave Act and trade with China. As a Kansan she was out of touch with North Carolina, too, traveling to the state just days after Hurricane Floyd to raise money. Both as a presidential candidate and as an absentee senator, Dole has worked against the best interests of North Carolina’s hardworking families and consistently putting politics over people.


1999: Dole Supported Gun Control Measures. In 1999 Dole supported several gun control measures including closing the gun show loophole, a three day waiting period for background checks, and mandatory trigger locks. She also called for banning assault weapons and mandatory background checks. [Newsweek, 5/31/99; Plain Dealer, 7/13/99; Associated Press, 5/15/99; Charleston Post and Courier, 7/29/99; Associated Press, 5/25/01]

Dole’s Support For Gun Control “From the Heart.” In 1999, Time noted, “First the majority of Senate Republicans voted against requiring mandatory background checks at gun shows. They then voted for it. Elizabeth Dole applauded herself for her move advocating controls two weeks ago. ‘These events demonstrate why it's so important to speak from the heart, take consistent stands and then have the courage to follow them through,’ she said.” [Time, 5/31/99]

2001: Dole “Changed Positions” On Gun Control Issues. In 2001, Dole shifted her position on gun control and became a strong proponent of the Second Amendment. The Raleigh News and Observer noted, “Dole has shifted her whole tone with regard to gun control, and changed positions on such issues as laws allowing the carrying of concealed weapons and the ban on assault weapons.” [Raleigh News and Observer, 11/20/01]

Dole Said She Was “Strong Proponent” Of Gun Rights. According to the Greensboro News and Record, “Dole rebutted criticism that her conservative credentials were suspect and stressed she opposed abortion and was a ‘strong proponent’ of gun rights. ‘The record is clear,’ she said…” [Greensboro News and Record, 10/22/01]


1999: Dole “Questioned” FMLA As Presidential Candidate. The Charlotte Observer reported that Dole “appeared to question [FMLA] as late as 1999. Running for president, she said programs such as the Family and Medical Leave Act were not a ‘one size fits all’ solution.” In addition, “she said the act has ‘proven itself’ and should be expanded to allow workers time off for a child’s education.” [Charlotte Observer, 9/25/02]

2002: Dole Said Family And Medical Leave Act Was “A Huge Success.”
Responding to the 2002 attacks on Dole for opposing the Family and Medical Leave Act, Dole spokeswoman Mary Brown Brewer said, “Thirteen years ago, she was looking at a hypothetical law, and she felt it was too prescriptive for small businesses. But it’s been a huge success.” [Durham Herald-Sun, 10/6/02]


1999: Dole Wanted To Open China To American Trade. Elizabeth Dole said she supported opening China to American trade and supported giving China membership in the World Trade Organization during her presidential campaign in 1999. Dole said her approach would benefit U.S. manufacturing interests and farmers by vastly expanding export markets. [Associated Press, 9/27/99; Manchester Union Leader, 8/17/99]

2003: Dole Blamed China For North Carolina Trade Woes. In October 2003, Dole said that many of the state’s manufacturing problems can be traced to China and its undervaluing of its currency. Dole told members of the N.C. league of Municipalities, “Many of NC’s economic woes related to manufacturing can be summed up in one word. And I know you know what it is: China.” Dole went on to say she introduced legislation that would slap a 27.5% tariff on all Chinese imports. About this bill, Dole said, “Many see this as protectionist, but I disagree. It is a targeted response to a specific problem: China is cheating on its agreements.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 10/14/03]


1999: Avoiding The Tough Questions. In her 1999 presidential bid, Elizabeth Dole often avoided answering questions on tough issues such as abortion. Newsweek reported that Dole cancelled a TV-network interview when she learned that she would be “grilled on details of” her position on abortion. [Newsweek, 5/22/99]

2008: “Dole Shuns The Stump” & Refused To Be Interviewed. A March 2008 article in the Charlotte Observer was titled, “Confident Dole Shuns The Stump.” The article said, “Elizabeth Dole hasn't scheduled a single public stump speech in the past week - even though she has been on break from her work in Congress…Dole spent the past week of the Easter congressional recess raising money.” While Dole refused to be interviewed, Dole’s spokesperson said the campaign was focused on building a strong foundation. [Charlotte Observer, 3/28/08]


Hurricane Floyd Devastated Eastern North Carolina. Hurricane Floyd devastated North Carolina with 51 deaths, 56,000 homes damaged, 10,000 people housed in temporary shelters, over 1,500 people rescued from flooded areas and over 500,000 customers without electricity at some points. [NOAA, Climate Watch, 3/2/00]

September 16, 1999: Hurricane Floyd Hit North Carolina. Hurricane Floyd swept ashore near Cape Fear on the morning of September 16, 1999, pounding the North Carolina coast with 110-mph winds and an 11-foot wall of water. Floyd struck the shore about 25 miles south of Wilmington, North Carolina, where the storm already had dumped more than 14 inches of rain. [NOAA, Preliminary Report – Hurricane Floyd, 11/18/99]

“Thousands Rescued After Floyd,” Helicopters Rescued 1,500 From Trees And Rooftops Along North Carolina Coast. According to the Associated Press, emergency workers in boats and “Marines in helicopters swarmed” into North Carolina’s coastal plain September 17, 1999 to rescue “more than 1,500 people from roofs and trees” after the torrential rains of Hurricane Floyd. Another 800 people were saved in New Jersey. [Associated Press, 9/18/99]

September 21, 1999: Elizabeth Dole Hauled In $100,000 In Two North Carolina Fundraisers.
According to the Raleigh News and Observer, candidate Elizabeth Dole hauled in $100,000 for her presidential campaign in the North Carolina Triad at the home of Barry and Toni Frahm in the Greensboro Area and later at the home of Chip and Carol Holden in Winston-Salem, about 120 people attended, with sponsors paying $1,000 and others contributing $250 a person. [Raleigh News and Observer, 9/23/99; Winston-Salem Journal, 9/22/99]

Greensboro Fundraiser Was “Sumptuous, Caviar-Nibbling Affair.”
Dole’s fundraiser was a “sumptuous, caviar-nibbling affair in the Sedgefield home of Barry and Toni Frahm,” accentuated by live piano music and a bartender in the bedroom, and was the first of two Piedmont fundraisers for Dole, according to the Greensboro News and Record. [Greensboro News and Record, 9/22/99]

Tipper Gore Cancelled North Carolina Fundraisers To Avoid Conflict With Relief Fundraising. Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore, postponed her fundraiser to avoid any conflicts with efforts to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Floyd. The fundraiser for Gore had been scheduled for the same Tuesday in Raleigh that Dole held her fundraisers. [Raleigh News and Observer, 9/23/99]

September 22, 1999: Dole Held Appearances In Massachusetts And NYC Day After North Carolina Fundraisers, Joked About When She Was Going To Get Dry Cleaning Done. On September 22, 1999, the day after holding fundraising events in North Carolina, Dole held appearances in Massachusetts and New York City. Dole finished her day with a $50,000 fund-raiser at a Fifth Avenue penthouse. Dole planned to be on the road 12 out of 14 days doing events. “You wonder if these schedulers ever think about when you need to stop and do the dry cleaning,” she joked. [Greensboro News and Record, 9/22/99]

Meanwhile, In North Carolina, The Cleanup Was Just Beginning.
Under the headline “Misery In North Carolina,” the Associated Press reported on September 22, 1999 that the North Carolina ground was “too soggy to bury the dead.” The Associated Press went on to state, “Dead hogs and chickens bob along with kitchen chairs and coffins in the filthy floodwaters… it could be weeks before some places dry out.” [Associated Press, 9/22/99]

2002: Dole Referred To Hurricane Floyd And Hurricane Fran As Examples Of Disasters The Red Cross Handles.
Dole refers to Hurricane Floyd and Fran as examples of the disaster relief work that the Red Cross does, despite the fact that Dole had left the Red Cross by the time Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina, and was on a leave campaigning for her husband when Hurricane Fran hit the state just a few years earlier. Dole was quoted in the Winston-Salem Journal as saying, “The Red Cross handles about 60,000 disasters a year. Some are large, like Hurricane Floyd, Hurricane Fran. But others are smaller disasters that don't garner any press attention, and therefore, no one knows, no one gives.” [Winston-Salem Journal, 7/30/02]

---Disclosure: I am Kay Hagan's Online Communications Director---