Michel, GOP leader skilled at deal-making, dies at age 93

Former US representative Robert Michel speaks as he introduces Representative Ray LaHood, R-IL, as LaHood appears before the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on his nomination to be Transportation Secretary January 21, 2009 at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A former aide says former House Republican leader Bob Michel has died at age 93.

Michel was an affable Illinois congressman who served as leader of the GOP House minority for 14 years. His skill at seeking compromise with the Democrats was critical in helping Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush pursue their agendas during their presidential terms.

Michel served 19 terms in the minority and retired one election too soon to be part of the Republican House majority that swept to power in 1994.

He stood on the sidelines as an ebullient Newt Gingrich of Georgia took the role of House speaker. Gingrich praised Michel that day, but had considered him too pliable and conciliatory with the Democrats.