Concord, NH - A very large crowd of dignitaries representing all three branches of government gathered today to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Warren Rudman.
Senator Rudman passed away November 19, 2012, and this ceremony was a memorial service. His family including his wife Margaret were seated in a prominent place but graciously greeted everyone before and after the service. He was remembered as a person who had a tremendous impact on the state of New Hampshire. The service was held in the main 3rd floor courtroom at the Warren Rudman Federal Courthouse.
Speakers included NH Governor Margaret Hassan, former Governor John Lynch, former Governor and current US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, US Senator Kelly Ayotte, former US Senator Gordon Humphrey, State Senator Lou D'Allesandro, Honorable Norman Stahl of the US First Circuit Court of Appeals, and retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter. The ceremony was hosted by Thomas Rath, former Attorney General of New Hampshire and good friend of Warren Rudman. Attendees were about 100 of the state's A-List from all three branches of government.
Rudman was remembered as a politician who truly loved the law and working for fairness of all citizens. One of his most memorable quotes, “The American people have a Constitutional right to be wrong” was printed in a prominent place inside the ceremony program. He was a libertarian but also a member of the Republican Party who went to Washington with the Reagan Landslide in 1980. During the ceremony an ongoing theme was how he went out of his way to be bipartisan and gained the respect and cooperation of politicians on both sides of the isle.
On the national scene, he is remembered for his budgetary and fiscal powers and the Gramm-Rudman Act. The speakers at the ceremony all agreed that Rudman was a headstrong person who knew what he wanted and how to get it. The almost unanimously agreed that first impression of Warren Rudman was a term that cannot be printed in public media but once they knew him, he was the warmest friend they knew.
He was also one of the most blunt politicians of recent times. Robert Stevenson, Rudman's press secretary, related a time in which Rudman was being interviewed by national news about the failure of an Army Viper Anti-Tank rocket to perform properly and he said “When you're in a foxhole and there's a tank approaching you, you want something that will kill it, and not just piss it off”. Almost every speaker who knew Rudman had a similar story.
Rudman's parents were Jewish immigrants from Europe. He served in the Army on the front lines during the Korean War. He was NH Attorney General from 1970 to 1976, then worked in private practice and was nominated for a cabinet post in 1978 but that nomination was put on hold without real explanation by NH Senator John Durkin and Rudman withdrew his name. Judge Norman Stahl admitted today that Rudman's decision to run for Senate was a knee-jerk reaction to Durkin's placing Rudman's nomination on hold, “I'm not going to fight him... I'm going to beat him”; and he did just that by a wide margin in the 1979 election.
Rudman is also known for his hard-line stand on fiscal issues. Senator Humphrey quoted Rudman as often saying “Blame Congress for our woes but Congress is a reflection of us. If we don't fix us, we're in trouble”, and several blunt quotes related to “us” wanting it right now and not wanting to pay for it... let our children pay. Rudman would have fit quite nicely with the current libertarian movement.