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Warren Rudman: Blunt, Egotistical, Unflappable and Tenacious"

By       Message Kurt F. Stone     Permalink
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Warren Rudman and his sisters grew up in Nashua, where he still resides. Growing up in relative affluence, Warren became "a bit of a hell"'raiser, at least by [my] father's standards." His interests tended more toward fishing and baseball than toward school. He was also "handy with [my] fists . . . thanks to schoolyard encounters with anti"'Semitism." [New Hampshire was the last of the 13 colonies to grant political equality to Jews.]


Sensing that his son needed to learn discipline, Edward sent him off to Valley Forge Military School in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The younger Rudman excelled at Valley Forge, becoming both a champion debater and a fine boxer.


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In 1948, Warren Rudman entered Syracuse University "where I continued to box, race stock cars on weekends, served in the ROTC, and became engaged to a tall, brilliant young woman named Shirley Wahl, whom I met on the debate team." Warren married Shirley shortly after his graduation in 1952, and then shipped out for Korea as a second lieutenant in the United States Army.


Rudman graduated "with a wad of transcripts and a blank piece of paper." Syracuse refused to issue his diploma until he paid $18 for a school yearbook. Rudman refused to pay, claiming that the school catalogue had listed no such requirement. Shortly before leaving for Korea, Rudman wrote his alma mater requesting his diploma. Syracuse again refused until he paid the $18.

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Rudman spent the next two years in the infantry, serving in Korea as a member of the third platoon of K Company, Third Battalion, 38th Regiment of the Second Division. While there he saw action in three of that conflict's bloodiest battles: the Kumsong salient, Heartbreak Ridge, and Bloody Ridge.

Mustered out a captain in 1954 with the Bronze Star, three Battle Stars, and a Presidential Citation, Rudman once again petitioned Syracuse for his diploma; once again they demanded he pay the $18. Twenty"'six years later, upon his election to the United States Senate, Rudman received a letter from Syracuse explaining that "there had obviously been a mix"'up," and that the diploma was in the mail. Senator Rudman not only refused to accept it; he repeatedly turned down their later offer of an honorary degree. As Rudman explained, "[Syracuse] wouldn't give me the one I earned. I certainly don't want the one I didn't earn."


Following his return from the war, Rudman went to work for Old Colony. In 1956 he entered the night law school at Boston College, making the 90"'mile round trip three or four days a week after a full day's work. Graduating in 1960, Rudman continued working for his father while building up a legal practice with Morris Stein, an old family friend. It was only when his father and uncle sold Old Colony in 1964 that Warren Rudman [by then thirty-four and the father of three children -- Laura, Alan, and Deborah] began practicing law full"'time. Over the next several years, he built up a lucrative practice, working with the Nashua firm of Stein, Rudman and Gormley. During these years, Warren and Shirley Rudman also learned to fly -- a passion that has remained a constant in the Senator's life.


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In 1967, Walter Peterson Jr. [1922- ], the then-Republican Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, asked Rudman, whom he had known since childhood, to be his finance chairman in the upcoming gubernatorial campaign. With Rudman's help, Peterson defeated Meldrim Thompson [1912-2001], Chair of the Orford [Grafton County] School Board. Once elected, Governor Peterson appointed Rudman his chief of staff. In 1970, Peterson named Rudman state attorney general. Rudman quickly went about the task of assembling what he deemed "a first"'rate staff." The new attorney general handpicked a young Harvard Law graduate to be his assistant. He name was David Souter who, through Rudman's tireless efforts, would one day sit on the United States Supreme Court.


In his six years as attorney general [1970-76], Warren Rudman "created a consumer protection division, fought successfully against the legalization of gambling . . . [and] joined Francis X. Bellotti, the attorney general of Massachusetts, in filing suit in federal district court seeking to postpone construction of the Seabrook nuclear power plant." In 1975, Rudman was elected president of the National Association of Attorneys General.

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Kurt Stone is a rabbi, writer, lecturer, political activist, professor, actor, and medical ethicist. A true "Hollywood brat" (born and raised in the film industry), Kurt was educated at the University of California, the Eagleton Institute of (more...)

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