Ohio's Senator Metzenbaum plans to retire in 1994

June 30, 1993|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, a self-made millionaire who's spent half a century crusading for working people and social justice, says he'll retire from the Senate when his third term ends in 1994.

"My regrets are few, my memories are treasured, my health is great, and my love for the battle is undiminished," Mr. Metzenbaum, 76, said yesterday on the Senate floor. "I have acquired sufficient wisdom to realize that ain't a bad way to go out."

Earlier in the day, Senate Democrats gave Mr. Metzenbaum two ovations during their caucus, and President Clinton phoned him.

"I don't remember the specifics," Mr. Metzenbaum said of Mr. Clinton's phone call. "He just indicated his regrets that I was leaving, but he was thankful for my support."

Mr. Metzenbaum's wife, Shirley, looked on fondly from the Senate Gallery, occasionally wiping a tear away with a white handkerchief as her husband announced his retirement. She was a big reason he decided not to seek a fourth term, Mr. Metzenbaum said.

"I love my job in the Senate, but I love other things in my life more," Mr. Metzenbaum said. "Foremost, I am blessed to be married almost 47 years to a woman I adore, and for whom my love has continued to grow. Shirley has been a full partner in my life, my confidante, my conscience and my closest friend."

Mr. Metzenbaum said that after half a century in government and politics, sometimes mixed with business, he wants to spend more time with her and their four daughters and their families, including seven grandchildren.

Mr. Metzenbaum had barely sat down before other senators, many of whom he'd battled with over the past 17 years, jumped up to praise the politician sometimes known as "Headline Howard" and "Senator No," references to his penchant for publicity and blocking legislation.

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