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Henry Hyde, 1924-2007

By Margaret Lyons in News on Nov 29, 2007 4:53PM

2007_11_29.henryhyde.jpgLong-time Republican Congressman Henry Hyde died early this morning at Rush University Medical Center. He was 83. Hyde served 32 years in the House before retiring at the end of last session, and he was recently awarded a Medal of Freedom. He's best known for his role as the chairman of the judiciary committee during the Clinton impeachment proceedings and for the Hyde Amendment, which bans Medicaid from funding abortions except in cases of rape, incest and when a pregnant woman's life is in danger.

Hyde represented Illinois's 6th District, and according to the Trib loved "a good cigar and good food."

From the Daily Herald:

Hyde spoke out repeatedly against the early 1980s nuclear freeze movement, a position which supporters say helped break up the Soviet Union, and in favor of Lt. Col. Oliver North, who lied about illegal weapons sales during the Iran-Contra scandal.

Not that Hyde always toed the party line. He bucked his party to support an assault weapons ban, the Brady law requiring a waiting period for gun purchases, and family medical leave.

"The connecting thread is he's always trying to help families, whether it's pro-life or pro-family leave. It wasn't just a reflexive partisan approach," said former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald when Hyde retired. "He's probably been one of the most universally respected men or women in politics the last 20 years."

Obits galore: AP, Trib, Sun-Times, Daily Herald, CNN.