Obama, local Sens. hail Specter

President Obama and local members of the U.S. Senate and House praised Arlen Specter today as a fighter who worked across party lines to help Pennsylvania and the country. Below are some of the statements released following Specter's death:

President 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. 

Mitt Romney:
Arlen Specter was a longtime public servant who participated in some of the most consequential and historic debates of our time. His fight against cancer served as an inspiration to others battling this deadly disease. Ann and I hold his family in our thoughts and prayers today.

US Sen. Bob Casey (D, PA):
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.

US Sen. Pat Toomey (R, PA):
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.

US Sen. Tom Carper (D, Del):
In a time when Washington D.C. is badly divided, we need bridge builders. Arlen Specter was foremost among them.  For many of his years in the U.S. Senate, he was a Republican and later on a Democrat. Regardless of which party Arlen caucused with, he sought to bring Democrats and Republicans together to get things done for our country. It was a privilege to serve with him in the Senate and to know him as a friend and as a neighbor. We miss him. I send my very deepest sympathy to his wife, Joan, and his family on their loss and on ours.

US Rep. Pat Meehan (R, PA):
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.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D, CA):
For three decades, Senator Arlen Specter served the people of Pennsylvania with independence, toughness, determination and an unflinching devotion to the best interests of his constituents and our country.

From the committee room to the Senate chamber, Senator Specter offered a voice of reason and passion in every debate - always willing to reach across the aisle and work across party lines to get the job done, regardless of political gamesmanship or gain. As a fellow appropriator, I was honored to work with him to invest in the health of our veterans, scientific and medical research, and a host of other priorities.

In his personal life, Senator Specter battled challenges to his health with the same spirit and vigor he brought to the floor of the United States Senate. His memory and legacy will continue to inspire his colleagues and all who knew him. We only hope it is a comfort to his wife, Joan, and his family that so many mourn their loss at this sad time.