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November 20, 2012

Former US Sen. Warren Rudman dies at age 82

CONCORD, N.H. — Former Sen. Warren B. Rudman was known for his abrupt, no-nonsense manner and for freely giving advice during his 82 years.

New Hampshire Congressman Charlie Bass didn’t serve with him, but looked up to Rudman, who died Monday.

“He’d say, ‘Vote the tough way,’ and he’d say, ‘Don’t let people push you around,’” Bass recalled. “‘If you know what’s right, vote the way that’s right, and if you’re forceful and persuasive and sure of yourself, people will support you even if they don’t agree with you.’”

Rudman, who co-authored a ground-breaking budget balancing law, championed ethics and led a commission that predicted the danger of terrorist attacks years before 9/11, died just before midnight Monday at a Washington, D.C., hospital from complications of lymphoma, said Bob Stevenson, a longtime friend and spokesman.

Stevenson acknowledged Rudman could be abrupt, but his peers respected him because he did his homework and was true to his word.

“He was a bulldog in the Senate. He set the standard for independence,” he said.

The feisty New Hampshire Republican went to the Senate in 1981 with a reputation as a tough prosecutor, and was called on by Senate leaders and presidents of both parties to tackle tough assignments.

He is perhaps most well-known from his Senate years as co-sponsor of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings budget-cutting law. He left the Senate in 1993, frustrated that the law never reached its potential because Congress and presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush played politics instead of insisting on spending cuts.

“People are willing to risk their lives for their country in times of war,” he said at the time. “They ought to be able to risk an election in a time of economic trouble.”

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