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Reactions to Margaret Thatcher's Death

Reactions to Margaret Thatcher's Death

By Tim Hains - April 8, 2013

Baroness Margaret Thatcher has passed away from a stroke at the age of 87. Lady Thatcher was the prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. She was the first woman to hold the role.

She will be remembered as one of the political giants of the post-war era.

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Current British PM David Cameron expressed his condolences. 

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President Barack Obama mourned her passing, saying in a statement, “The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend."  

With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend. As a grocer’s daughter who rose to become Britain’s first female prime minister, she stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered. As prime minister, she helped restore the confidence and pride that has always been the hallmark of Britain at its best. And as an unapologetic supporter of our transatlantic alliance, she knew that with strength and resolve we could win the Cold War and extend freedom’s promise.

Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will. Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life—free peoples standing together, determined to write our own destiny. 

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Nancy Reagan, wife of former President Reagan released a statement Monday mourning Margaret Thatcher.

Los Angeles – I am terribly saddened today to learn of the death of Margaret Thatcher. The world has lost a true champion of freedom and democracy.

It is well known that my husband and Lady Thatcher enjoyed a very special relationship as leaders of their respective countries during one of the most difficult and pivotal periods in modern history. Ronnie and Margaret were political soul mates, committed to freedom and resolved to end Communism. As Prime Minister, Margaret had the clear vision and strong determination to stand up for her beliefs at a time when so many were afraid to "rock the boat." As a result, she helped to bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of millions of people.

Ronnie and I knew her as a dear and trusted friend, and I will miss her. The United States knew Margaret as a spirited and courageous ally, and the world owes her a debt of gratitude.

My heart goes out to Mark, Carol and the entire Thatcher family. 

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell remembered Margaret Thatcher as "tough as nails," with a warm side after the former British prime minister's death was announced Monday.

Thatcher was "a great leader ... (and) was a determined person," Powell said. "She was someone who had a vision, had a purpose and went after that purpose and she brought everyone along with her for awhile. Of course, she ran into difficulties, as politicians often do. I knew her for 30 years. I watched her on many occasions, and she certainly was, as Gorbachev said, 'The Iron Lady.' We had a lighter view of her. We said, 'Watch out for the handbag.'" 

Thatcher "exuded influence and power," Powell said. "The hair style, the dress, her manner, the way in which she carried that handbag -- when she walked into a room, you knew that somebody had arrived and you'd better be careful. "

At the same time, she had an extremely warm side to her, and ... we vacationed with her and (her husband) Dennis once on a cruise, and she could be very, very warm and considerate of other people, as has been reported." 

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Ed Miliband, the U.K.'s Labour leader, put out his tribute to Lady Thatcher:

I send my deep condolences to Lady Thatcher's family, in particular Mark and Carol Thatcher.

She will be remembered as a unique figure. She reshaped the politics of a whole generation. She was Britain's first woman Prime Minister. She moved the centre ground of British politics and was a huge figure on the world stage.

The Labour Party disagreed with much of what she did and she will always remain a controversial figure. But we can disagree and also greatly respect her political achievements and her personal strength.

She also defined the politics of the 1980s. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and I all grew up in a politics shaped by Lady Thatcher. We took different paths but with her as the crucial figure of that era.

She coped with her final, difficult years with dignity and courage. Critics and supporters will remember her in her prime. 

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In Moscow, former president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev saluted Thatcher as "a great politician" who would "go down in our memory and in history." 

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Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister described her as "a truly a great leader, a woman of principle, of determination, of conviction, of strength; a woman of greatness". 

Today I mourn the passing of Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher,” Netanyahu said shortly after her death was announced Monday.

She was truly a great leader, a woman of principle, of determination, of conviction, of strength; a woman of greatness.

She was a staunch friend of Israel and the Jewish people. She inspired a generation of political leaders. I send my most sincere condolences to her family and to the government and people of Great Britain.

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Former President Clinton released this statement on behalf of his family:

I was saddened to learn of the death of Lady Margaret Thatcher. The United Kingdom has lost its first woman Prime Minister, an iconic stateswoman, and a fearless leader. The United States has lost one of its dearest friends and most valued allies.

Lady Thatcher understood that the special relationship which has long united our two nations is an indispensable foundation for peace and prosperity. Our strong partnership today is part of her legacy. Like so many others, I respected the conviction and self-determination she displayed throughout her remarkable life as she broke barriers, defied expectations, and led her country. Hillary, Chelsea, and I extend our condolences to her family and to the people of the United Kingdom. 

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A statement from Buckingham Palace said: "The Queen was sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher. Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family." 

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The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, hailed Thatcher as "a true landmark in 20th-century history" and said it was "a sad day for Europe as a whole."

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David Jones, a Welsh MP tweeted: 

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Americans too paid their respects to the leader that President Reagan famously called "the best man in England." South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley commented: "The ultimate Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, independent, strong, loved, and loathed died this morning at the age of 87. We have lost an amazing leader." 

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Tony Blair, former Labour prime minister described Lady Thatcher as "a towering political figure."

Very few leaders get to change not only the political landscape of their country but of the world. Margaret was such a leader. Her global impact was vast. And some of the changes she made in Britain were, in certain respects at least, retained by the 1997 Labour government, and came to be implemented by governments around the world.  

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From Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commision: 

Let me, on behalf of myself and the European Commission, say that I was deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher.

She was without doubt a great stateswoman, the first female Prime Minister of her country, and a circumspect yet engaged player in the European Union. She will be remembered for both her contributions to and her reserves about our common project.

She signed the Single European Act and helped bring about the Single Market. She was a leading player in bringing into the European family the Central and Eastern European countries which were formerly behind the Iron Curtain. As you remember, Britain under Mrs Thatcher's leadership was very supportive of the enlargement of the European Union.

Her legacy has done much to shape the United Kingdom as we know it today, including the special role of the United Kingdom in the European Union that endures to this day.

I would like to convey my deepest regrets to the Government and people of the United Kingdom. 

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Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that "generations will draw strength from the memory of her passion for freedom." 

I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Baroness Thatcher. There was no more potent force in the defense of freedom than this remarkable woman. Her unshakable belief in the universal appeal of liberty helped to steer the free world through treacherous times until communism was defeated and Europe emerged whole, free and a peace.

I was honored to know her and to be inspired by her. Baroness Thatcher will be missed but generations will draw strength from the memory of her passion for freedom.  

Tim Hains can be reached at thains@realclearpolitics.com.

Tim Hains

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