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Robert Strauss, former Democratic Party chair, dies at 95

By CNN Political Unit
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Thu March 20, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Robert Strauss dies at 95, his law firm says
  • He led the Democratic Party's resurgence in the mid-1970s
  • Strauss was an ambassador to the former Soviet Union and Russia

(CNN) -- Robert Strauss, a prominent Democratic figure who led the party at a crucial time and advised presidents, died on Wednesday, his law firm said. He was 95.

Strauss took over as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during a tumultuous period following George McGovern's landslide loss to Richard Nixon in 1972, and saw it through Jimmy Carter's election in 1976.

He went on to serve as a special trade representative and Mideast envoy under Carter.

And under President George H.W. Bush, a Republican, Strauss was ambassador to the former Soviet Union, just before its collapse, and then to Russia.

President Barack Obama saluted Strauss.

"Bob was one of the greatest leaders the Democratic Party ever had, yet presidents of both parties relied on his advice, his instincts, and his passion for public service -- not to mention his well-honed sense of humor," he said in a White House statement. "Bob was truly one of a kind, and our thoughts are with his children, his family, and his friends too numerous to count."

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CNN's Dana Davidsen and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

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