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Former NH senator Rudman dies at 82

Rudman

– Colleagues knew former Sen. Warren B. Rudman for his abrupt manner, but they trusted his expertise.

On one matter in particular, though, he wished people would have listened to him: that the U.S. was vulnerable to a major terrorist attack.

Rudman, who also co-authored a groundbreaking budget-balancing law and championed ethics, died just before midnight Monday at a Washington, D.C., hospital of complications from lymphoma, said Bob Stevenson, a longtime friend and spokesman.

President Obama pointed to Rudman’s early advocacy for fiscal responsibility in mourning the passing of “one of our country’s great public servants.”

“And as we work together to address the fiscal challenges of our time, leaders on both sides of the aisle would be well served to follow Warren’s example of common-sense bipartisanship,” Obama said in a statement Tuesday.

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 best known from his Senate years as co-sponsor of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings budget-cutting law.

He left the Senate in 1993, saying 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.”

In 2001, before the 9/11 attacks, he co-authored a report on national security with former Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado that said a major terrorist attack on American soil was likely within 25 years.

It was revived after the Sept. 11 attacks, and one suggestion, forming Homeland Security, was adopted. Six years later, Rudman said the sprawling department wasn’t functioning well and the country would be hit again.

“It is not a question, I’m sorry to tell you, of ‘if.’ It’s a question of ‘when,’ ” Rudman said.

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