How Bob Dole (Almost) Stole Christmas

Here’s my fun Boston Globe story about the time our Christmas card photo went horribly right.

Skye and Bob Dole, Bob Smith

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith, R, NH and former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, R, KS hold my baby daughter, Skye, for an ill-fated Christmas card photo back in 1994.


In ’96, a very Bob Dole Christmas 

Back when my wife, Marci, and I worked as news photographers in New Hampshire, it was always fun photographing the presidential candidates who swarmed the state. Senator Bob Dole was good for a laugh. So was Al Gore. During the 1996 campaign, our daughter Skye managed to insult both of them in a classic, “Kids Say the Darndest Things” way.

Marci and I thought a Christmas card photo of Skye with Bob Dole would be hilarious. What politician can resist kissing a baby?

Marci knew where Dole would be and met him with Skye and a camera. He agreed but couldn’t hold her properly due to a World War II injury. Instead, he asked another guy, Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire, to help.

As luck would have it, Skye was cranky. She burst into tears as the two senators tried to soothe her. My wife snapped off a few quick frames, then swooped back in to rescue her. The result was a frozen moment of sheer terror that echoed the views of Democrats across the country. Our Christmas card was a success!

A while later, Vice President Gore was in town, and we wanted to get another political shot for our Christmas card, this time with both our young daughters. To prepare Skye, we showed her pictures in magazines of the VP. Unfortunately, they included a shot of Gore and his wife, Tipper, dressed as Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein for Halloween. That picture scared her and she was not happy about going to see him.

Waiting behind a convention center, Marci stood with Skye and our younger daughter, Taylor. Since the Secret Service had seen Marci many times on assignment, they didn’t make her leave. The veep exited his event and walked over toward them. He made some small talk while Skye stayed hidden. Marci explained about the Frankenstein picture.

“Well, I’m not scary now, am I?” Gore asked.

“Yes, you are,” Skye replied.

We didn’t get any Christmas card photos that day, but apparently it made an impression on the VP’s staffers because Gore’s personal photographer mailed us some pictures from the encounter.

Our now-grown daughter is a big Al Gore fan to this day, provided he doesn’t engage in any Halloween cosplay.

Rodney Curtis is an author and humorist living in Michigan. This story first appeared in his first book, Spiritual Wanderer.

To see this story and more from the Boston Globe, click here.


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