As gap closes, Dole returns fire at Hagan

GREENSBORO - The famous "Dole Stroll" took a decidedly different turn last week.

Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole is known for her Oprah-like strolls during speeches to past Republican National Conventions. But Dole skipped last week's GOP convention in Minnesota, opting instead for a stroll around the shop floor of Advanced Direct, a small Greensboro direct-mail firm where she picked up the endorsement of a small-business group. The clickety-clack of mailing machines replaced the cheering throngs of delegates.

That's because this summer has been a wake-up call for Dole.

One of the best-known women in American politics, Dole is in an unexpectedly competitive race with Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan.

Dole was in North Carolina last week to campaign, and she began some counterpunching with TV ads and mailings attacking Hagan's record. Dole is trying to change the chemistry of the race.

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