GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton and former Sen. Bob Dole, once political rivals, came together Wednesday night to raise money for historically black Bennett College.
Dole, a Republican who left his post as Senate majority leader to challenge Clinton as the Democrat sought a second term in 1996, is chairman of a multimillion-dollar fund-raising campaign for Bennett, a school for women.
His work for the school is "an opportunity to help somebody up the ladder," Dole said.
Clinton, whom Dole invited to attend, said of Dole: "He does this because he believes it's the right thing to do."
Clinton's connection to the college comes through Johnnetta Cole, its president, who served on his transition team after he was first elected to the White House in 1992.
The school of 570 students is trying to raise $50 million to fund scholarships, faculty recruitment and improvements on campus. Since Cole took over as president in 2002, Bennett has overcome a multimillion-dollar deficit, gotten off academic probation and increased its enrollment.
Clinton and Dole both are married to U.S. senators — Dole to Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., and Clinton to Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.
Dole repeatedly noted that each table had cards to fill out to donate money to Bennett, adding that he would give his card to his wife.
"Senators don't make money, they cost money," Clinton said.
"I know a few that make money," Dole responded.
In front of a packed room of more than 700 people, the two also discussed higher education and bipartisanship. But much of the evening consisted of lighthearted banter.
When Cole asked the two if they thought the nation was ready for a woman to live in what she called "a big, white house," Dole responded, "I want to define big house. Out in the Midwest, it's something else."
"That's where you spent eight years trying to send me," Clinton quipped.
On the Net: Bennett College: www.bennett.edu