Pres. Obama, other lawmakers react to Sen. Specter's death

Veteran Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania discusses his switch to the Democratic Party at the White House with President Barack Obama, left, in Washington, Wednesday, April 29, 2009. Specter said "I think that I can be of assistance to you, Mr. President. ... There are a lot of big issues we're tackling now that I've been deeply involved in." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
October 14, 2012 9:10:57 PM PDT
Reaction poured into Action News regarding the death of Senator Arlen Specter from President Obama to fellow local lawmakers.

President Barack Obama:
"Arlen Specter was always a fighter. From his days stamping out corruption as a prosecutor in Philadelphia to his three decades of service in the Senate, Arlen was fiercely independent ? never putting party or ideology ahead of the people he was chosen to serve.

He brought that same toughness and determination to his personal struggles, using his own story to inspire others. When he announced that his cancer had returned in 2005, Arlen said, "I have beaten a brain tumor, bypass heart surgery and many tough political opponents and I'm going to beat this, too."

Arlen fought that battle for seven more years with the same resolve he used to fight for stem-cell research funding, veterans health, and countless other issues that will continue to change lives for years to come. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Joan and the rest of the Specter family."

Vice President Joe Biden
"Arlen Specter was a great senator who lived his life the way he died, with dignity and courage. He was my friend and I admired him a great deal. For over three decades, I watched his political courage accomplish great feats and was awed by his physical courage to never give up. Arlen never walked away from his principles and was at his best when they were challenged."

Former President George W. Bush:
"Arlen Specter loved our country and served it with integrity for three decades in the United States Senate. Laura and I appreciate his contributions to America and are grateful for his many years of public service."

Mayor Michael A. Nutter:
"Senator Arlen Specter was a great man and a great public servant. He served this City as District Attorney and as United States Senator from Pennsylvania for many, many years. He cared about people, gave voice to the voiceless, and stood up for everyday Philadelphians, Pennsylvanians and Americans at every opportunity.

I certainly enjoyed a very warm, personal and professional relationship with him during my time as a member of City Council, and even more importantly, as Mayor of our great City. His door and resources were always open and available to virtually any request I made on behalf of the City.

He displayed gutsy, bold, strategic leadership on any number of issues, and most recently, he demonstrated strong support for healthcare reform and President Obama's economic recovery plan. We will all miss the voice and leadership of Senator Arlen Specter. May God bless him, his wife Joan, and his family."

Former Gov. Ed Rendell:
"He was a mentor, colleague and a political institution, and on a personal level, he was my first boss. Sen. Spector did more for the people of Pennsylvania over his more than 30 year career with the possible exception of Benjamin Franklin. He was a champion for veterans across our state and beyond, and will be deeply missed."

Former Gov. Tom Ridge:
"He generated a lot of support and a lot of dissent, but he was unafraid to be held accountable.... At the end of the day, he was one relentless, unapologetic fighter. Republicans and Democrats may not like how he voted, but they certainly had to respect his mindset."

U.S. Senator Bob Casey:
"I am deeply saddened to learn that my friend Arlen Specter has passed away. I had the honor and privilege of working with him in the U.S. Senate on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania.

Arlen was a statesman and a problem solver who was able to work with Democrats and Republicans in the best interest of our Commonwealth and our Country. Arlen fought cancer courageously and his enduring legacy of support for the National Institutes of Health will help countless Americans as they battle cancer and other ailments.

My thoughts and prayers are with Joan, Shanin, Stephen and his entire family."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
"Sen. Specter was a man of moderation; he was always passionate, but always easy to work with. I followed him through his previous illnesses, during the course of which he displayed great physical strength and great strength of character. Throughout his life, Sen. Specter fought and won many battles, but this was one he could not win. America is better today because of Arlen Specter."

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey:
"A man of sharp intelligence and dogged determination, Sen. Specter dedicated his life to public service and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. His impact on our state and public policy will not be forgotten. My wife Kris and I send our thoughts and prayers to Joan and the entire Specter family."

U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan:
"I'm deeply saddened by the loss of Senator Specter. He made tremendous and long-lived contributions to Pennsylvania and to our nation. He distinguished himself by leading on criminal justice issues, foreign affairs, and most especially, fighting for advances in health care research.

Senator Specter attacked problems and sought to find consensus for solutions. He cared deeply about his constituents and understood their concerns. He had a brilliant mind and required that those he entrusted be equally engaged in the issues he took on."

Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick:
"The passing of Arlen Specter represents a loss to the people of Pennsylvania he represented for three decades in the United States Senate and to the country he served so diligently throughout his career.

In the history of our Commonwealth, few men have had such an impact on the lives of so many, from the constituents he served, to the careers he started, to his wife Joan, his sons Shanin and Steve, and his four granddaughters.

A man who put his constituents and his principles ahead of party loyalty and never one to give up without a fight, Arlen Specter will forever serve as an example to future generations as a true public servant.

Having worked with Arlen on issues ranging from judicial nominees to bringing the National Veterans Cemetery to Bucks County, I know firsthand that he was a fierce advocate for his beliefs and his constituents.

My thoughts and prayers are with Senator Specter's family and friends in these difficult times."

Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn:
"Senator Arlen Specter was a true Pennsylvania institution whose record of fighting for our Commonwealth is unmatched. Senator Specter's contributions to Pennsylvania and the United States will leave a lasting legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Specter's family during this difficult time."


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