Bob Graham, longtime US senator and 2-term Florida governor, dies


Bob Graham, a former US senator and two-term Democratic governor who was one of Florida’s most popular politicians, has died. He was 87.

“We are deeply saddened to report the passing of a visionary leader, dedicated public servant, and even more importantly, a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather,” his family said in a statement posted by his daughter Tuesday.

“Bob Graham devoted his life to the betterment of the world around him,” the statement continued.

Graham spent nearly four decades in public service representing Florida, first serving in the state legislature and then in the governor’s mansion before going to Washington as a US senator.

His tenure as a three-term senator included chairing the Senate Intelligence Committee and co-leading the congressional investigation into the September 11 terrorist attacks. He was a primary author of parts of the 2001 Patriot Act that dealt with improving the sharing of intelligence between US domestic and foreign intelligence agencies.

He emerged as a harsh critic of George W. Bush on Iraq, arguing that the Republican president was not doing enough for homeland security and was wrongly focused on that war, which he had instigated, instead of on al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, and had voted in 2002 against authorizing military force against Iraq.

While in Congress, he sported ties with images of Florida and maintained a meticulous diary of his daily activities.

As a Democrat who hadn’t lost an election in the pivotal swing state of Florida, Graham was considered a few times as a running mate to Democrats Bill Clinton and Al Gore. And his appearance as an adulterous husband in a Jimmy Buffett music video for “Who’s the Blonde Stranger” may have cost him the chance to be on the 1998 Democratic ticket with Michael Dukakis, according to Time magazine.

The video’s content wasn’t the issue, Graham explained to the magazine.

“They were concerned I hadn’t listed any payment on my financial-disclosure form,” Graham said. “But Jimmy never paid me a dime.”

Graham sought the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination to face off against Bush, but bowed out of the race that year feeling that his campaign lacked sufficient funds and organization to catch up to the other nine Democratic candidates.

He also blamed his late entry into the race, due in part to having to undergo heart surgery to replace a deteriorating valve.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.

Read the full article here