Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.)

U.S. Senator (since 1976)

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Why He Matters

It's a sign of Lugar's clout that his 2007 speech on Iraq (delivered to an almost empty Senate chamber) generated front-page headlines and some serious soul-searching on the way forward in the war there.

The veteran senator is a foreign-policy giant who has dedicated himself to reducing the number of weapons of mass destruction around the world and promoting democracy in Latin America and Africa. He helped convince his fellow Republicans that a new course was needed in Iraq in 2007 and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2000 for his work on nuclear issues.

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Today in History

Today is Friday, April 4, the 94th day of 2014. There are 271 days left in the year.

Obama gives Richard Lugar the Medal of Freedom

Lugar lost his Senate seat in part because of his closeness to Obama.


The United States and Europe need a new rulebook for Russia

(Efrem Lukatsky / AP)

The United States and Europe must provide unwavering support to Ukraine.


Republican Sen. Richard Lugar

(Charles Harrity / AP)

A look at the career of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana.

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At a Glance

  • Career History: Indianapolis mayor (1968 to 1975); Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners (1964 to 1967)
  • Birthday: April 4, 1932
  • Hometown: Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Alma Mater: Denison University, B.A., 1954; Oxford University, M.A., 1956
  • Spouse: Charlene
  • Religion: Methodist
  • State Offices: Evansville, (812) 465-6313; Fort Wayne, (260) 422-1505; Indianapolis, (317) 226-5555; Valparaiso, (219) 548-8035

Path to Power

Lugar was born in Indianapolis on April 4, 1932. He was plagued by ear infections and allergies, and spent much of his childhood indoors reading biographies and publishing a family newspaper. In high school, his father taught him and his brothers how to farm and would pay his sons 10 cents an hour to work the family fields during the summer. In time, Lugar and his two siblings saved enough money to buy an acre of wheat, only to see their crop wiped out by a flood the next harvest season.

The Eagle Scout graduated first in his high school class and from Denison University in Ohio. At Denison, he was also co-president of the student government with his future wife Charlene Smeltzer. After graduation, Lugar attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. There he studied politics, philosophy, and economics.

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The Issues

Describing Lugar's voting record, fellow politicians say this: Lugar votes with his heart. While the Indiana senator tends to vote with Republicans the majority of the time (in the 111th Congress, he voted with his party about 80 percent of the time), he is not afraid to oppose his party.

For instance, Lugar supported embryonic stem-cell research, raising auto-mileage standards, and increasing the minimum wage. And though he is from one of America's industrial and agricultural strongholds, he supports free-trade bills like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and opposes most farm subsidies.

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The Network

Lugar and Vice President Joseph R. Biden worked closely together when Biden was head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Lugar served as its ranking member. The two worked together on drafting Iraq legislation and figuring out how to address problems in Afghanistan.

Lugar has worked closely with former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn (Ga.). The pair collaborated on nuclear non-proliferation legislation.

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