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Dole Falls Off Stage At Rally, Bounces Back

September 19, 1996 GMT

CHICO, Calif. (AP) _ Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole fell off a stage at a campaign rally Wednesday after a frail railing gave way, but he wasn’t hurt. ``I just went over the top,″ he joked.

Dole, 73, was on stage leaning over the decorative railing to shake hands with supporters before his speech when the frail, decorative railing gave way and the candidate fell more than three feet to the ground on his war-injured right side. His fall was broken in part by photographers.

``I thought they were nailed down,″ Dole said later of the stage railings ``They obviously weren’t ... I think I brushed my eye with my hand.″

Campaign spokesman Nelson Warfield said Dole was largely unhurt. ``He has a little bit of blood in his left eye. He might have broken a blood vessel. But he feels great,″ said Warfield.

Indeed, on his campaign plane later, Dole came back to view the photographs of the fall, which could be viewed on laptop computers.

``I’m feeling fine but I want to see your little slide show,″ Dole said to the photographers. He shouted ``Yikes!″ when he saw the photo of himself being helped up by Secret Service agents.

Upon viewing the first photo of him going over the railing, Dole equipped, ``My hair stayed all right _ enough hair spray.″

Dole, who has no use of his right arm as a result of a World War II injury, joked about the accident in his speech. ``I think I just earned my third Purple Heart going over the rail. I guess you could say I took a spill for Chico. I just went over the top.″

Dole does not travel with a doctor. On the plane later, Dole said he would ``probably have somebody look at it (the eye)″ at his next stop.

Asked if he would see a doctor, he said, ``I don’t think I need to.″

Asked if the fall meant he’s had a bad campaign day? Dole said, ``No. I got up didn’t I?″