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Former Presidents Bush, Clinton help celebrate Bob and Elizabeth Dole's birthdays

The former presidents were joined by former Cabinet members and a surprise guest in wishing a happy 97th and 84th birthday to Bob and Elizabeth Dole, respectively.
/ Source: TODAY

Happy birthday to Bob and Elizabeth Dole!

Savannah Guthrie has enlisted the help of two former presidents and other luminaries for a special birthday celebration for her good friends and two beloved Americans who have dedicated their lives to public service.

Bob Dole, a retired congressman from Kansas and former Republican presidential candidate, and Elizabeth Dole, a former Cabinet member and U.S. senator, received heartwarming virtual birthday wishes from former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton as well as a surprise guest from outside the political realm.

"Oh, my word, I am just absolutely overwhelmed," Elizabeth told Savannah. "To hear from so many precious friends. And such beautiful messages!"

Bob turned 97 on July 22, while Elizabeth celebrated her 84th birthday on July 29, marking their latest milestones together in a 45-year marriage.

It didn't take long for the couple to flash their trademark sense of humor when Savannah asked how they've been faring during quarantine for the last five months.

"One night we were listening to this beautiful song, 'The Way You Look Tonight,' and he interrupted and said 'Well, I don't know about tonight!" Elizabeth said.

Bob is a World War II veteran whose political career began in 1950 and included running for president in 1996 against Clinton, who offered his birthday wishes on Thursday night.

"I'm glad to add my voice to the many thousands of people who wish you that," Clinton said. "And thank you for setting examples of working in good faith in finding common ground."

Elizabeth served in several presidential administrations, including serving as secretary of labor under the late George H.W. Bush, whose son sent her and Bob birthday wishes.

"Two great Americans, two wonderful people, and two great friends," George W. Bush said.

Two of the younger Bush's Cabinet members, former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, also expressed their birthday wishes along with current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

"Mr. Leader you are a person of great integrity and deep dignity and extraordinary courage," Pelosi said. "Elizabeth, you are an angel, and everybody knows that, too. You are both American heroes."

The Doles also received kind words from a group of people they consider to be the real heroes — military veterans and their caregivers.

Elizabeth created the Hidden Heroes campaign in 2016 to raise awareness of issues military caregivers routinely face, inspire organizations and citizens to support the caregivers in their own communities, and establish a national registry that helps connect caregivers to resources and support.

"Thank you for everything you have done for the veterans and caregivers,'' Roxanna Delgado, the caregiver for wounded veteran Victor Medina, said in her message. "Your legacy is one to be admired."

After a quick mixology class on Bob's favorite cocktail, the cosmopolitan, the couple got a surprise from none other than legendary singer and actress Barbra Streisand.

"Well, I must be the most unlikely guest at your virtual birthday party, Bob," Streisand said. "We have had a couple of phone conversations where we have talked about the country's problems, and you were so sweet to tell me my music helped you during a recent recovery. And I wish you and Elizabeth a very happy birthday."

Once they took in all the heartwarming birthday wishes, the Doles had a message of their own.

"We draw energy from the warmth of your friendship, from your support and love," Elizabeth said. "And let's just keep giving that to each other during these incredibly challenging times."