Politicians reflect on death of Sen. Howard Baker

Politicians reflect on death of Sen. Howard Baker

Politicians and others across the nation are reacting to the death of former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker, who famously asked regarding the Watergate scandal, "What did the president know and when did he know it?"

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"He was my friend, my mentor and my colleague in the Senate. Howard was involved in countless endeavors, most importantly as a proud representative of Tennessee in Congress. He was a Republican Leader who got things done by working with both parties when it was the right thing to do. Howard has left a lasting imprint on civility in politics." — Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole.

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"When I think of the ultimate statesman, the very first person who comes to my mind is Howard Baker. Howard Baker was one of those people who had the unique ability to bring out the very best in those around him." — U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

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"Howard Baker was Tennessee's favorite son, one of America's finest leaders and for Honey and me an indispensable friend. He built our state's two-party political system and inspired three generations to try to build a better state and country." — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who worked as Baker's first legislative assistant in 1967 and 1968.

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"Howard was many things over the course of his career - from Senate Majority Leader, to White House chief of staff, to ambassador. Yet, it was his ability to broker compromise and his unofficial role as the 'Great Conciliator' that won him admirers across party lines, over multiple generations, and beyond the state he called home." — President Barack Obama.

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"His service was marked by a courtly, civil, and respectful style that won him friends and admirers on both sides of the aisle. His example — his ability to fight for principle, and disagree without being disagreeable — will continue to inspire us as we honor his life and memory." — House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

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"Senator Baker was partisan, but he was patriotic. And his patriotism rose above his partisanship. Senator Baker earned the respect of Democrats as well as Republicans. He worked in a bipartisan way with presidents and colleagues on both sides of the aisle." — Roy Herron, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party.

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"He shared his insights, wisdom and wry humor with family, friends, colleagues, presidents and world leaders alike, and he recorded his journey through the lens of a camera that was his constant companion. And regardless of the time, place or responsibility, he always longed for home in Scott County, in the quiet mountains of East Tennessee. It brought him peace, perspective and a connection with what he called the 'center of the universe.'" — Statement released by Baker's wife and children.

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"He meant an awful lot to me, not just politically, but personally. He brought me up to Washington at the ripe old age of 30 and gave me a lot of responsibility as counsel for the Watergate committee. He was a mentor. He encouraged me when I ran for Senate. He was always a good source of wisdom for me." — Fred Thompson, former Republican U.S. senator and star on the television show "Law and Order."

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"Howard and I worked together and traveled together, and we became good friends over the years. He was one of the best Majority Leaders I've ever served with. He was honorable, he was tough, and he was fair." — Vice President Joe Biden.

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"Howard was so effective and respected as a leader because he did his homework, because of his integrity, and because he was as adept at listening to the other guy state their position as he was at articulating his own." — former President George H.W. Bush.