Warren Rudman entered the United States Senate a few weeks before fellow Republican Ronald Reagan was to be sworn in as America's fortieth President. Rudman served two six-year terms and could easily have won reelection in 1992. Instead, he decided to call it quits, departing the Senate just as George H.W. Bush was about to leave the White House.
During those twelve years of Republican rule, Rudman could be found at the epicenter of most of that era's most dramatic, divisive, and contentious issues -- and was often at odds with the administration.
During his first term in the Senate, the New Hampshire Republican successfully took on the powerful American Medical Association, "co"'fathered" the much maligned Gramm"'Rudman"'Hollings deficit reduction act [which he himself called "A bad idea whose time has come"], and co"'chaired the Senate's investigation of the messy "Iran"'Contra" scandal.
[N.B.: This political scandal, which came to light in 1987, was the result of earlier events during the Reagan Administration in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran, and then illegally used the proceeds to continue funding the Sandinista rebels -- "Contras" -- in Nicaragua. Much of the documentation regarding the scandal was found to have been destroyed or withheld by the administration. President Reagan, who initially denied on national television that the alleged activities never occurred, eventually took full responsibility, admitting that "What began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages."]
During his second term, Rudman played a pivotal role in the Ethics Committee investigation of the so"'called "Keating Five," in which the Senate had to go through the delicate procedure of policing its own.
[N.B.: This financial scandal involved five United States Senators -- Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, John Glenn, Donald Riegel and John McCain -- who were accused of improperly aiding Charles B. Keating, chair of the failed Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which was target of a federal investigation. Of the five accused senators, only Glenn and McCain were subsequently reelected.]
Throughout these two highly charged, widely publicized episodes, Rudman retained the respect of both his Senate colleagues and the voters of New Hampshire. During his twelve"'year Senate career, Warren Rudman maintained a reputation for being blunt, egotistical, independent, unflappable and pugnacious.
And despite being one of his party's acknowledged "stars" -- columnist Marianne Means called him the "unexpected star of that huge GOP freshman class swept into office with President Reagan" -- Warren Rudman never truly became a creature of Washington society. As he once explained, "To go to a White House dinner and to sit next to someone who I don't know and who is there because they are a friend of Mrs. Bush, or a famous movie star or someone who gave eight trillion dollars to the Republican Party is not my idea of fun."