Former US senator, presidential candidate Bob Dole lies in state in Capitol

The casket of former US senator Bob Dole arrives at the US Capitol in Washington. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - A casket bearing the remains of former US Senator Bob Dole, a three-time Republican presidential candidate and decorated World War II veteran, was placed in the Capitol's Rotunda on Thursday (Dec 9) as dignitaries gathered there for a memorial service.

Dole served a combined 36 years in the House of Representatives and Senate and was receiving a tribute similar to those afforded US presidents upon their deaths.

President Joe Biden was on hand to deliver remarks.

Dole's wife Elizabeth, also a former senator, stood at the top of the Capitol's East Front steps as a military honour guard carried his flag-draped casket up the steep incline to be placed in the building's storied Rotunda for the memorial service.

Members of Congress and other invited guests paid their respects to Dole, who represented Kansas in the House of Representatives for eight years and then in the Senate from 1969-1996, including two stints as majority leader.

He died in his sleep on Sunday at age 98 after a lung cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

Dole was awarded two Purple Hearts from the US military during World War II for wounds suffered in combat.

He sought the presidency three times and was his party's nominee in 1996, when he lost to Democratic president Bill Clinton. He was also president Gerald Ford's running mate in the 1976 election won by Democrat Jimmy Carter.

Dole's body will lie in state until Friday morning. He is the 33rd person to receive that honour.

US President Joe Biden and former US Senator Elizabeth Dole, Bob Dole's widow, sit near her husband's casket at the US Capitol. PHOTO: REUTERS
A guest reviews the programme for former Senator Bob Dole as he lies in state at the US Capitol. PHOTO: NYTIMES

No public viewing will take place because of the Covid-19 pandemic, although invited guests were present.

Dole's funeral will be held on Friday at the Washington National Cathedral.

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