POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Dole Wanders Chicago At Lunch Hour
CHICAGO (AP) _ Faith O’Gorman took one look at Bob Dole in his Brooks Brothers suit Thursday and knew exactly what to do.
``Come in and buy your wife something,″ O’Gorman said, coaxing the Republican presidential hopeful to interrupt a lunch-hour stroll through downtown Chicago. ``You look like you can afford it.″
So in Dole went, pausing briefly to glance at the boutique’s shoe collection before better judgment prevailed. ``I might go wrong with the shoes and have to bring them back,″ Dole said as he moved on to the purses.
``I think she needs one,″ Dole said of his wife, Elizabeth. ``I bought her last one.″
While Dole looked over several black leather purses, O’Gorman pulled a white one off the shelf and modeled it for the Kansas senator. He nodded his approval, but said, ``I don’t think she’d use the white one, though.″
So Dole settled for a black envelope style purse with a shoulder strap, after getting O’Gorman’s assurance that there was plenty of room inside. ``She pushes a lot of stuff in there,″ Dole said of his wife.
The price? $64.90, marked down from $128. Dole aide Mike Glassner actually paid for the bag on his credit card, $70.58 with tax.
The boutique was Dole’s second shopping stop during his walk down Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.
First came a drop by a sporting goods store, where Dole got a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey and a Bulls cap with ``Bound 4 Glory″ embroidered across the front. Asked if he would have a ``clean sweep″ in the election like the Bulls did in their playoff series with the Orlando Magic, Dole nodded in agreement, then lowered his expectations somewhat.
``Maybe 49 out of 50″ states, he said with a laugh.
Dole tried to pay for his souvenirs but was told by store manager Sharon Starcevich, ``Your money is no good here.″
The stroll was part of the Dole campaign’s effort to get their candidate into more direct contact with voters, and the senator was clearly having a ball.
He greeted dozens of people as he strolled past shops and offices, including several fellow Kansans, a half dozen tourists from England, one from Germany, and a family from Canada.
``He is a great senator,″ said Dave Ream after shaking Dole’s hand. ``But I’m going to vote for Clinton.″
Marlena Renner of Cleveland, Ohio, however, said she and husband Dave were firmly in Dole’s camp.
``We believe in conservative ideals and we believe in a man of character who stands by his principles,″ she said.
Sculptor Joe Vaca was one of several Californians Dole encountered on his walk, and he thrust a bronze elephant _ the Republican Party’s symbol _ into Dole’s hand.
``I can’t take that _ you could make some money on it,″ Dole protested.
``It’s a gift,″ Vaca insisted, telling Dole he had ``thousands″ more like it back home. So it went into Dole’s shopping bag.
Vaca, for the record, said he was an independent voter and undecided about the presidential race.
Dole also encountered ``Grandma Zoe,″ a street person who makes money by asking passersby to make a donation in return for pulling a slip of paper from a basket. Dole tapped aide Glassner for another buck and pulled out this guidance: ``Take a break from the routine and take in a good movie over the weekend.″
``Can’t beat that,″ Dole said.
Dole’s campaigning in California on Wednesday included a visit to the San Diego Convention Center, and it was abundantly clear that the candidate was less than thrilled with the small confines of the hall in which he will accept the GOP presidential nomination.
If there were any doubt, Dole erased it Thursday when he encountered a San Diego woman on his Chicago walk and told her of his visit to the hall.
``Very low ceilings there,″ Dole said. ``We’re going to have very small balloons.″