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GOP stalwart Hyde dies at 83

The staunch abortion foe led impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.

Associated Press
Published November 30, 2007


WASHINGTON - Former Rep. Henry Hyde, an Illinois Republican who steered the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton and was a hero of the antiabortion movement, died Thursday (Nov. 29, 2007).

Rep. Hyde, 83, who underwent open-heart surgery in July, was hospitalized for persistent renal failure related to his cardiac condition and suffered an arrhythmia, said Mary Ann Schultz, a spokeswoman for Rush University Medical Center.

Rep. Hyde retired from Congress at the end of the last session. This month, President Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio said in a statement: "In his respect for the institutional integrity of the House of Representatives, Henry took second place to no one."

The white-maned Rep. Hyde was genuinely liked by opponents for his wit, charm and fairness. But he could also infuriate them with his positions on controversial issues.

He made a name for himself in 1976 by attaching an amendment to a spending bill banning the use of federal funds to carry out abortions. What came to be known as the Hyde Amendment has since become a fixture in the annual debate over federal spending and has served as an important marker for those seeking to discourage abortions.

Rep. Hyde was also a leader in passing the ban on so-called "partial-birth" abortions, the first federal restriction on a specific abortion procedure.

As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, he led House efforts in 1998 to impeach Clinton for allegedly lying about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and in 1999 was the chief House manager in the unsuccessful bid to win a Senate conviction.

Rep. Hyde saw his own reputation tarnished in the process when an online magazine revealed that he'd had his own affair with a married woman some 30 years before. Rep. Hyde, in his early 40s at the time of the affair, called it a "youthful indiscretion."

[Last modified November 30, 2007, 01:37:45]

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