Barry Goldwater

  • Born: January 1, 1909
  • Died: May 29, 1998
  • Location: Paradise Valley, Arizona

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Barry Goldwater

Former Senator and presidential hopeful dies at 89

Barry Goldwater, the man who helped to re-shape the U-S Republican party, has died at the age of 89.

The former Senator died on Friday at his home in Phoenix, Arizona.

He was viewed by many as a tough-talking cowboy, who did not lose his rough edges despite a 30-year career in the U-S Senate and a failed attempt to become president.

He will be remembered as the outspoken icon of conservatism.

Barry Goldwater was a colourful character who held a seat in the Senate for 30 years. In 1964, Goldwater was soundly defeated as the Republican nominee for the presidency. But his campaign helped start the re-shaping of the Republican party.

Goldwater had won the 1964 nomination after a bruising convention fight -- and lost the presidency in an equally bloody campaign against Lyndon Johnson. Democrats portrayed Goldwater as a nuclear war-monger, and
someone who might destroy Social Security.

Despite three decades of Washington politics, the former Senator never lost his rough edges. His language was sometimes coarse -- but he was seldom misunderstood. He once called former President, Richard Nixon, "the world's biggest liar."

And when Ronald Reagan said he didn't know about the diversion of Iranian arms money to Nicaraguan rebels, Goldwater said he was "either a liar or incompetent."

A pilot in the Army Air Corps in World War II, Goldwater continued to fly until his health no longer allowed it.

On Friday in Washington, President Bill Clinton said Goldwater was unique. "A few moments ago, Senator Barry Goldwater passed away at the age of 89. He was truly an American original. I never really knew anyone like him. As all of you know we were in different parties and often different philosophies, but in the last several years he was uncommonly kind to me and to Hillary and I had occassions to visit with him and every time I met him, from the first time back when I was a senior in college to the last time just a couple of years ago - I had the impression that he was a great patriot, and a truly fine human being."

Goldwater suffered a stroke in 1996, and in September 1997, his family said Goldwater was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. In recent months, he made no public appearances.

A family spokeswoman says a public memorial is expected to be held next Tuesday or Wednesday.


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Barry Goldwater
Senator Barry M. Goldwater
Senate Republican leaders in a 1960 photo
Sandra Day O'Connor flanked by Senator Goldwater, Atty General William French Smith, and Senators Strom Thurmond and Dennis Deconcini, 1981
Barry Goldwater and Sandra Day O'Connor at her confirmation hearings, 1981
Former Senator Barry Goldwater with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1996

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Barry Goldwater Jr. at his family home