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Warren Rudman: 5 Facts About the Last Bipartisan Hero

Most of the obituaries for former Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H., who died yesterday at age 82 at a Washington hospital, focus on his prescient efforts back in the 1980s to rein in the federal deficit, when it merely numbered in the hundreds of billions of dollars. He was coauthor of the two pieces of mid-1980s legislation, generally lumped together and called the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings act, that established deficit reduction targets from 1985 to 1990 and mandated painful across-the-board budget cuts if Congress and the president couldn’t agree on what needed to be trimmed. (If that sounds like the granddaddy of the “fiscal cliff” that the government currently is facing, it was.)

Rudman was indeed a deficit hawk¬†– a fiscal prophet who warned, long before it was fashionable, that the government was spending beyond its means. But he was remarkable in plenty other ways as well. The flinty, blunt New Englander was one the last of what today is a virtually extinct species on Capitol Hill: a bipartisan moderate who was more concerned about making government work properly than in scoring political points, who worked willingly with the other side and wasn’t afraid to take on his own party if need be. Here are five facts worth knowing about a great American:


Here’s a clip of Rudman grilling a witness in the Iran-Contra hearings in the late 1980s: