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Former VP nominee, GOP Rep. Jack Kemp has cancer

January 7, 2009 |  3:44 pm

Former Republican running mates in 1996 ex-Rep. Jack Kemp and ex-Sen. Bob Dole

Former Buffalo Bills quarterback, New York Republican representative, secretary of Housing and Urban Development and vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp has cancer, his office disclosed today.

The 73-year-old Kemp, who served nine House terms, was Sen. Bob Dole's running mate on the 1996 Republican ticket forged in San Diego. Before that he was in the Cabinet of President George H.W. Bush as HUD secretary. And he had his own unsuccessful campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in 1988 against the same Bush.

A West Los Angeles native and graduate of celebrity-strewn Fairfax High School, until last year Kemp was probably the most famous politician to attend Occidental College. No longer.

Now, Barack Obama is. The president-elect is four inches taller than Kemp, but did not play quarterback, safety, punter and place kicker on the football team.

Kemp's 13-year football career involved the National Football League, the Canadian Football League and the defunct American Football League, where Kemp was an all-star for seven of the league's 10 years and played in five of its championship games.

Kemp is known fondly among Republicans for leaving Friday or Saturday meetings early to fly off to games of either of his sons, Jeff and Jimmy, both of whom also became pro quarterbacks.

Kemp's office said he would continue his consulting and charitable work but did not disclose what type of cancer he has, apparently pending further tests.

"His multitudes of friends are praying for the best," Dole told the Associated Press.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Football card for all-star quarterback Jack Kemp of the Buffalo Bills

Photo: Cliff Schiappa / Associated Press

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