Dan Rostenkowski, congressman downed by scandal, dies at 82

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As Ways and Means chairman, he handled the job in old-school fashion, once telling an interviewer that those who crossed him legislatively “should not expect any largesse, so to speak, from me.”

But he believed in compromise and expressed dismay at the partisanship that descended on Capitol Hill after he left.

“We looked at politics as compromise,” he recalled. “We were going to work together. We were going to get something done. We were Democrats and Republicans, but we were also legislators. Politics is war today. Everybody wants to fight. Nobody wants to give in.”

“As much as people criticize the back room, the dark room or the cigar or smoke-filled room, you get things done when you’re not acting,” he said.

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