Elizabeth Dole Goes "Oprah" at Republican National Convention

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NBC Today Show
Bryant Gumbel, Bob Faw
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NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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In a speech supporting her husband and presidential hopeful, Bob Dole, at the Republican National Convention, Elizabeth Dole steps away from the podium and takes her microphone into the crowd like a talk show host.



"Elizabeth Dole Goes "Oprah" at Republican National Convention." Bob Faw, correspondent. NBC Today Show. NBCUniversal Media. 15 Aug. 2006. NBC Learn. Web. 18 January 2015.


Bob Faw, . (Reporter), & Gumbel, B. (Anchor). (2006, August 15). Elizabeth Dole Goes "Oprah" at Republican National Convention. [Television series episode]. NBC Today Show. Retrieved from https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=2226


"Elizabeth Dole Goes "Oprah" at Republican National Convention" NBC Today Show, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 08/15/2006. Accessed Sun Jan 18 2015 from NBC Learn: https://archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=2226


Elizabeth Dole Goes "Oprah" at Republican National Convention


In keeping with the softer image that Republicans are trying hard to project at their convention, Elizabeth Dole last night did her impression of Oprah Winfrey.  And in a fashion that supporters would call heartfelt but others would call hokey, Liddy Dole sang her husband's praises to the delegates.  NBC's Bob Faw was there.

BOB FAW reporting

As her delighted husband watched from his hotel room, the wife who would be first lady strutted her stuff for Bob Dole.

Mrs. ELIZABETH DOLE: This election is about the character of the man who will lead us.

FAW: This was her show, and she was flawless, nimbly switching microphones when hers failed, deftly weaving in the family photo album and personal reminiscence, all to sell Bob Dole.

Mrs. DOLE: ...honest, trustworthy, a man of his word.  His word is his bond, and they know he has exceptional leadership skills.  And isn't that exactly what we want in the President of the United States?

FAW: The question when you come right down to it is just how important is such a performance?  And what, if anything, does it reveal about Elizabeth Dole?  That she may be little more than a dazzling performer, says presidential historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Ms. DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: She did it brilliantly, but I'm not sure that it's politics.  I think it's entertainment.  And even if it works at the moment, will we remember a word she said 10 days from now, which is the real point of it, to change people's opinions on Bob Dole?


For more on Elizabeth Dole's speech, we're joined by former Nixon speechwriter and current New York Times columnist William Safire. Good morning, Bill.

Mr. WILLIAM SAFIRE (New York Times Columnist): Good morning.

COURIC: Of course, the people here loved it, and it was certainly an extremely impressive display by Mrs. Dole last night.  How do you think it played in homes across the country?

Mr. SAFIRE: I think it worked, and that was the idea behind it.  One of the Clinton specialties is getting off the podium and getting into the crowd and working the crowd.  Working the crowd or working the fence is a great tradition in American politics.

COURIC: What do you think of Doris Kearns Goodwin saying she wasn't sure if this was politics or entertainment?

Mr. SAFIRE: We've learned now that politics and entertainment are inextricably linked.  And if you can sugarcoat the pill and get it to go down, you're in good shape.  I think the fact that she got away from that barrier, that lectern and came around it and hit, you know, hit the floor and worked the floor, any professional television person can do it. But it's not something one expects from the potential first lady, so it was a surprise.

COURIC: Will this have a lasting impact, in your view?

Mr. SAFIRE: I think--well, remember when Jacqueline Kennedy showed people the White House, and everybody was amazed that she could, you know, walk around and show--and act like an actress.  I think this will be remembered not for what she said, but the fact that she got away from the barrier of the podium and worked the crowd.