What people are saying about life, death of Arlen Specter
October 15, 2012 4:00 AM
Susan Walsh/Associated Press
Arlen Specter walks down the hall of the Dirksen Senate office building in 2009.
Compiled by Molly Born
"Jill and I are deeply saddened. 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."
-- Vice President Joe Biden
"For more than five decades, Arlen Specter lived a life devoted to public service on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania and the United States. Pennsylvania has lost a political figure whose career stretched from Philadelphia's City Hall to the chambers of the U.S. Senate."
-- Gov. Tom Corbett
"I thought that Arlen Specter was a very effective U.S. senator. He was articulate, he was dynamic, he was industrious, and he did what a U.S. senator is supposed to do for his state. ... I have lost a friend ... and on the JFK [assassination theory], I've lost an intelligent adversary."
-- Dr. Cyril Wecht, forensic pathologist who vehemently disagreed with Mr. Specter's one-shooter theory
"He was a mentor, colleague and a political institution, and on a personal level, he was my first boss. Sen. Specter 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. Ed Rendell, who served as an assistant prosecutor when Mr. Specter was Philadelphia's district attorney
"Arlen Specter was quick to reach across party and ideological lines and to put the needs of Americans above partisanship. He was measured in his views and worked seamlessly with both Republicans and Democrats. Sen. Specter was a supporter of both business and labor and an authority on foreign relations, but more than anything, he was a champion of Pennsylvania."
-- Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald
"Sen. Specter will be remembered for a lot things: a prosecutor and legal expert, an independent-minded legislator, a champion for cancer and other medical research, and a fixture in Pennsylvania and U.S. politics for over three decades. We are a better Commonwealth and nation because of his service."
-- U.S. Rep. Mark S. Critz, D-Johnstown
"Serving with Senator Specter for more than a decade, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that he was a fighter, and his commitment to public service was admirable. Karen and I extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to the entire Specter family as they mourn their loss."
-- Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.
"Today, Saundy and I join Pennsylvanians in mourning the loss of a dedicated public servant. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sen. Specter's family and friends at this difficult time."
-- Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith
"Sen. Specter exemplified public service at its best, always working with Democrats and Republicans to do what he thought was best for our country. Pennsylvanians and all Americans were fortunate to have the senator as our representative."
-- Kathy Boockvar, Democratic House of Representatives hopeful, Pennsylvania's 8th District
"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. Sen. 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."
-- U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan, R- Delaware County, Mr. Specter's state director and senior counsel from 1991 to 1994, and his 1992 re-election campaign manager
"Sen. Arlen Specter was a true Pennsylvania institution whose record of fighting for our Commonwealth is unmatched. Sen. Specter's contributions to Pennsylvania and the United States will leave a lasting legacy."
-- Pennsylvania Democratic Party chairman Jim Burn
"The Republican Party of Pennsylvania extends its deepest sympathies to the friends and family members of former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter. Sen. Specter will always be remembered for his many years of dedicated public service."
-- Republican Party of Pennsylvania chairman Rob Gleason
"Whether it was on the local, state or national political scene, Sen. Specter helped shape history. His work and his accomplishments throughout his many years in public life have left a lasting footprint. He led a purposeful and meaningful life and contributed so much to making the lives of the citizens of Pennsylvania better."
-- Pennsylvania Rep. Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills
"A legendary figure in his beloved Pennsylvania, Arlen Specter brought his fierce intellect and a prosecutor's drive to countless battles in the Senate. He was a fighter to the end."
-- U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate minority leader
"Sen. Specter's centrism throughout partisan battles and commitment to the pursuit of justice is a legacy that should be celebrated at a time when Washington is in need of more voices of moderation. As Congress takes on the challenges ahead, Sen. Specter's spirit of country before party should act as inspiration and guidance."
-- Tim Kaine, Democratic Senate candidate, former governor of Virginia
"Arlen Specter was always a fighter who loved the battle over public policy. He loved Pennsylvania and he loved public service. While I did not always agree with some of Sen. Specter's decisions, he was always willing to listen about local problems, and try to help fix them. He was always a strong advocate for the state's interests while in Washington and the Commonwealth lost one of its most dedicated public servants today."