Senator Lloyd Bentsen

May 24th, 2006 by

Texas Senator in Houston. He was 85.

Bentsen flew combat missions as a B-24 pilot during World War II, earning the . In 1970, Bentsen ousted incumbent Senator and future President , and was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1976, 1982, and 1988.

In 1988, Bentsen was chosen by Massachusetts Governor as his Democratic running mate for the 1988 presidential race. It was during this race–during the televised Vice Presidential debate against Republican , specifically–that Bentsen delivered one of the best put-downs in American political history (from chickenhawkdown at YouTube):

This is a three minute clip that has poorer audio but gives more context to the remark (via jraan at YouTube):

Though Dukakis lost that election, Bentsen continued to serve in the US Senate until 1993, when he resigned to become Secretary of the Treasury under President from 1993 to 1994.

Also watch this Real Video AP clip of Bentsen’s  life and career via the .

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