Okla's Coburn leaves mark as tireless budget hawk

By By SEAN MURPHY

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A political maverick nicknamed "Dr. No" for his favorite vote, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn was more than a bomb-thrower during his decade in the U.S. Senate.

The obstetrician from Muskogee also has earned a reputation as a statesman willing to reach across the aisle to come up with solutions to the nation's budget woes.

The 65-year-old's announcement late Thursday that he is stepping down from his seat at the end of the year amid another battle with cancer signals the departure of a major political player in Washington.

Coburn wanted to be known as a true citizen-legislator, and he frequently clashed with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. But he also managed to elevate the dialogue on issues such as pork-barrel spending and government waste.

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