Former governor and U.S. senator Dale Bumpers dies at age 90

Dale Bumpers, a former Arkansas governor and U.S. senator who earned the nickname "giant killer" for taking down incumbents, and who later gave a passionate speech defending Bill Clinton during the president's impeachment trial, has died.

See Full Article

He was 90.

Bumpers, also the attorney for the Charleston School Board in 1954 when the board voted to integrate, died Friday night in Little Rock, according to his son, Brent Bumpers. Bumpers was under hospice care and died due to natural causes and complications from a broken hip suffered in a recent fall, his son said.

Bumpers was a little-known lawyer from Charleston when he ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1970, against a field that included former Gov. Orval Faubus. After finishing second in the primary, Bumpers defeated Faubus for the Democratic nomination -- then beat two-term Republican incumbent Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller in the general election.

Four years later, Bumpers challenged and defeated incumbent Sen. J. William Fulbright in a Democratic primary, leading to the "giant killer" nickname, and would go on to win the U.S. Senate seat.

Bumpers' signature moment on the national stage came in 1999, just weeks after leaving the Senate, when he defended Clinton --who had worked for Fulbright's 1974 campaign against Bumpers -- before the U.S. Senate during Clinton's impeachment trial.

Clinton had been impeached by the House on charges of lying about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky while testifying before a grand jury in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

Bumpers called the matter a sex scandal while delivering the closing argument as the Senate considered removing Clinton from office.

Clinton "suffered a terrible moral lapse, a marital infidelity. Not a breach of the public trust, not a crime against society," Bumpers said. "H.L Mencken said one time, 'When you hear somebody say, 'This is not about the money,' it's about the money... And when you hear somebody say, 'This is not about sex,' it's about sex."'

Clinton was acquitted by the Senate.

Bumpers would later say that he didn't want to give the closing statement, but Senate leaders and Clinton called to ask him to do so.

He had been known in the Senate for his oratorical skills, as well as his opposition to amendments to the U.S. Constitution, including one that would prohibit busing of public school students.

Brent Bumpers said he believes his father would want to be remembered as both a champion of the underdog and a defender of the Constitution.

"He often listed that as among his proudest battles, he fought against many efforts to amend the Constitution. He revered it so much," Brent Bumpers said.

Bumpers also supported environmental legislation and in 1993 devised a land exchange to swap government-owned Idaho timberland for wetlands in Arkansas in which 41,000 acres of wetlands and bottomland hardwood forest were added to the White River and Cache River National Wildlife Refuges. The Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Arkansas was named in his honour in 2014.

As governor, Bumpers pressured legislators for an increase in the personal income tax in order to raise teachers' salaries and succeeded in securing free textbooks for high school students.

Bumpers was considered a potential Democratic candidate for president in 1980 and 1984, but declined to run. He would later say he believed his best chance at winning the presidency had been in 1976, when Democratic former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter won the White House.

Bumpers was also an attorney for the Charleston School Board in 1954 when the board voted to integrate, just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that outlawed segregated schools, It was the first district among the 11 former Confederate states to integrate.

"We did it because we thought it was the right thing to do," Bumpers told The Associated Press in 2007.

Bumpers is survived by his wife, Betty Bumpers, two sons and a daughter. Funeral services are pending.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Trump looks to refocus his presidency in address to Congress

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- With his first address to Congress, U.S. President Donald Trump gets an opportunity to refocus his young administration on the economic issues that helped him get elected. His allies hope it will help him move beyond the distractions and self-inflicted wounds that he's dealt with so far. Source
  • Samsung officials to be indicted on bribery charges in South Korea

    World News CBC News
    South Korean special prosecutors said they will indict Samsung's de facto chief Tuesday on bribery, embezzlement and other charges linked to a political scandal that has toppled President Park Geun-hye. The planned indictment of Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong is a huge hit for the country's most important company. Source
  • North Korean diplomats in Malaysia to get Kim Jong Nam's body

    World News CTV News
    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- A high-level North Korean delegation arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday seeking the body of leader Kim Jong Un's half brother, the victim of a nerve-agent attack that many suspect Pyongyang itself of orchestrating. Source
  • UN defends refugee vetting as Trump mulls revised entry ban

    World News CTV News
    AMMAN, Jordan -- In an office cubicle at the UN refugee agency, a Syrian woman and her three daughters took turns staring into a camera for iris scans. Their biometric registration, a first step toward possible resettlement in the West, is to be followed by interviews and background checks that can take months or even years. Source
  • South Korean prosecutors to indict Samsung's de facto chief

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- South Korean special prosecutors said they would indict Samsung's de facto chief Tuesday on bribery, embezzlement and other charges linked to a political scandal that has toppled President Park Geun-hye. Source
  • Man arrested in fatal 2016 shooting outside Guelph, Ont. motel

    Canada News CTV News
    GUELPH, Ont. -- Police in Guelph, Ont., say an arrest has been made in a shooting death at a hotel in the city on March 1, 2016. A 35-year-old hotel employee, Aly Sunderani, was shot near the front entrance of a Comfort Inn and later died of his injuries. Source
  • Police in Gatineau, Que. investigate after 2 bodies found in apartment

    Canada News CTV News
    GATINEAU, Que. -- Police in Gatineau, Que., are investigating the deaths of two people whose bodies were found in an apartment on Monday. The bodies of a man and a woman were found at about 4 p.m. Source
  • Malaysia to charge 2 women with murder in death of Kim Jong-nam

    World News CBC News
    Malaysian prosecutors will charge two women — Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam — with murder over their alleged involvement in the killing of the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader, the Southeast Asian country's attorney general said on Tuesday. Source
  • Spring is coming, but winter has 'a little bit of bite left': forecaster

    Canada News CTV News
    Despite unusually warm temperatures in parts of the country, a forecaster says bouts of late winter weather are expected for many through March, with more springlike temperatures to arrive by May. Chris Scott says The Weather Network spring forecast calls for Canadians to expect more storms before the wintry weather ends. Source
  • B.C. picks new head of treaty commission

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- The provincial government has picked a lawyer known for her work with the Musqueam First Nation to head the B.C. Treaty Commission. The provincial cabinet picked Celeste Haldane on Feb. 22, but the federal government must still approve the appointment. Source