Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Mosbacher Dies at 82

Robert Mosbacher Sr., who raised money for the presidential campaigns of his close friend, George H.W. Bush, and helped develop the North American Free Trade Agreement during three years as U.S. Commerce Secretary, has died. He was 82.

Mosbacher died in Houston died Sunday of pancreatic cancer, former President Bush said in a statement.

"Barbara and I feel a profound sense of personal grief over the death of our dear friend Bob Mosbacher, a close friend of some 50 years who helped us, and guided us, and lifted us up in so many different ways," Bush said.

A Texas oilman like Bush, Mosbacher became an important figure in Republican politics, raising money for the party’s presidential candidates for four decades, Bloomberg reports.

Mosbacher, who was born in New York, moved to Texas after college, founded the energy company bearing his name and became a highly regarded figure in the GOP.

Beginning with Gerald Ford, Mosbacher managed national fundraising for five different Republican presidential campaigns, including that of U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the Chronicle said.

Mosbacher raised campaign funds for the elder Bush's House and Senate races, guided his successful presidential bid and included him in profitable business deals.

President Bush responded to the news of his friend's death in a prepared statement, UPI informs.

The next year, he moved to Houston and built a highly successful oil and gas company that would have interests in U.S. and international markets.

Mosbacher got into politics in the early 1960s, raising money for various Republican candidates in southeast Texas and also managing then-Vice President Richard Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign in Harris County, which includes Houston.

Mosbacher was married four times, including to Georgette Mosbacher, a flashy socialite and cosmetics entrepreneur whose animated personality and red hair made her a popular subject of gossip columnists when the couple was in Washington. The couple divorced in 1998, Baltimore Sun informs.

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