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May 3, 2009 at 8:43 AM

Jack Kemp: 1935-2009

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Was saddened today to see that former Vice-Presidential candidate Jack Kemp had died of cancer at age 73. I got to meet Kemp in 1996, a few weeks before he was named as Bob Dole’s running mate in that year’s election. His son, Jimmy, was a quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes CFL team I was covering.
Kemp senior and I had a brief discussion in the stands about his son and his own football days as a quarterback with the Buffalo Bills and in the CFL. His other son, Jeff Kemp, was a more-accomplished QB than Jimmy was, with the Seahawks at one time.
Jimmy Kemp was one of my favorites to talk to on that team, though he was always a backup at best. I asked him one day what he had learned best from his dad, after years spent attending political functions and sitting at dinner with world leaders. And he told me one thing his father had told him once that sticks with me to this day.
“Be a leader.”
It hasn’t always worked out that way, as many can tell you.
But at the worst of times, it’s something I try to remember.
Photo Credit: Sports Ilustrated

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