Carl Albert

Died Febraury 4, 2000

Ex-Speaker Carl Albert Dies at 91

By Martin Weil

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, February 6, 2000; Page A01

Carl Albert, 91, the Oklahoma Democrat who as speaker of the House of Representatives provided what was regarded as cautious, centrist leadership during some of the most turbulent times in American history--the years of Vietnam and Watergate--died Friday night at a hospital in McAlester, Okla.

Albert's health had long been precarious. He underwent triple-bypass surgery 15 years ago, after heart attacks in 1966 and 1981, and he had been treated for cancer in the 1980s.

After serving as majority leader from 1962 to 1971, Albert held the speaker's post from 1971 until he retired in 1977. At two delicate moments in the nation's history, Albert, who had lifted himself from rural poverty, found himself first in line of succession for the presidency.

As a legislator and leader, he was seen as amiable and studious, a moderate, upright figure schooled in the workings of the House and the interests of its members. Considered a liberal on domestic issues--on aid to the poor in particular--he was also considered a supporter of the foreign and military policies of presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.

"I very much dislike doctrinaire liberals--they want to own your minds," he once said. "And I don't like reactionary conservatives. I like to face issues in terms of conditions and not in terms of someone's inborn political philosophy."

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