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Former Sen. Hugh Scott, 93, dies


WASHINGTON -- Hugh Scott, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania who served in Congress for 34 years, the last seven of them as Senate minority leader, died Thursday in a retirement home in suburban Falls Church, Va.

He was 93.

The cause of death was cardiac arrest, said his secretary.

The most trying episode of Mr. Scott's tenure as minority leader was the Watergate scandal and the ensuing resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, whom he supported almost until the end.

In December 1973, for instance, as the White House cover-up of the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex the year before began to unravel, Mr. Scott urged Mr. Nixon to make public extensive audiotapes of Oval Office conversations, convinced that the tapes would clear the president of wrongdoing. Mr. Nixon resisted, however, and the tapes' subsequent disclosure, by court order, confirmed a cover-up.

Finally, on Aug. 7, 1974, with Mr. Nixon's impeachment at hand and his conviction in the Senate all but certain, Mr. Scott, along with Sen. Barry Goldwater and Rep. John Rhodes, the House Republican leader, went to the White House to tell the president that his administration could not be saved.

Mr. Nixon announced his resignation the next day.

Mr. Scott was elected minority leader in September 1969 in a tight three-way race, the first moderate Republican to achieve the party's Senate leadership since World War II.

He maintained good relations with Republican conservatives throughout his tenure, saying at one point, "I will continue to deny that I am a liberal."

Nevertheless, he opposed Mr. Nixon's Supreme Court nomination of Judge Clement Haynsworth Jr. and the administration's efforts to modify the Voting Rights Act.

Hugh Doggett Scott Jr. was born on Nov. 11, 1900, in Fredericksburg, Va., on an estate once belonging to George Washington.

He received a bachelor's degree from Randolph Macon College and a law degree from the University of Virginia. After moving to Philadelphia, he became an assistant district attorney there in 1926.

In 1940, he was elected to Congress from Reading, Pa., and, with an interruption for wartime duty as a lieutenant in the Navy, ++ served in the House a total of eight terms.

He also served briefly, in 1948-1949, as Republican national chairman, a reward from Thomas Dewey for having helped Mr. Dewey wrap up the party's 1948 presidential nomination.

Mr. Scott won election to the Senate in 1958 and remained there until his retirement in 1977.

Mr. Scott is survived by a daughter, Marian Scott Concannon. His wife of 63 years, the former Marian Huntington Chase, died in 1987.

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