U.S. political figures react to Lady Thatcher's death
April 8th, 2013
09:15 AM ET
5 years ago

U.S. political figures react to Lady Thatcher's death

(CNN) - With news that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had passed away, the U.S. political world, especially conservatives, lit up Monday with condolences of the woman who became known as the "Iron Lady."

"I think she was a great leader, someone who had a vision, a purpose and went after that purpose and brought everyone along with her for a while," former Secretary of State Colin Powell said on CBS' "This Morning." "But the British people have lost great inspiration. They have lost somebody who should be an example to anybody in political life today."

"She exuded influence and power," he continued. "The hair style, the dress, her manner, the way in which she carried that handbag. When she walked into a room, you knew somebody had arrived and you'd better be careful. At the same time she had an extremely warm side to her."

President Barack Obama said "the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend."

"She stands as an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can't be shattered," he continued. "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."

Nancy Reagan, wife of former President Ronald Reagan, released a statement Monday mourning the loss of Thatcher and acknowledging the former British prime minister's close ties with her late husband.

"Ronnie and Margaret were political soul mates, committed to freedom and resolved to end Communism," she said. "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."

Former President George W. Bush said in a statement that he and his wife, Laura, were saddened by Thatcher's death.

“She was an inspirational leader who stood on principle and guided her nation with confidence and clarity," he continued. "Prime Minister Thatcher is a great example of strength and character, and a great ally who strengthened the special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States. Laura and I join the people of Great Britain in remembering the life and leadership of this strong woman and friend.”

House Speaker John Boehner labeled her "the greatest peacetime prime minister" and said Americans "will always keep Lady Thatcher in our hearts for her loyalty to Ronald Reagan and their friendship that we all admired."

"Margaret Thatcher, a grocer's daughter, stared down elites, union bosses, and communists to win three consecutive elections, establish conservative principles in Western Europe, and bring down the Iron Curtain," the speaker said in a statement. "There was no secret to her values – hard work and personal responsibility – and no nonsense in her leadership."

Former President Bill Clinton hailed Thatcher for understanding "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," he said. "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."

In another statement, former Sens. Bob and Elizabeth Dole said Thatcher "ranks among the finest of British prime ministers and the greatest political figures of the twentieth century."

Former President George H. W. Bush said in a statement: "The personal grief we Bushes feel is compounded by the knowledge that America has lost one of the staunchest allies we have ever known; and yet we have confidence that her sterling record of accomplishment will inspire future generations."

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she was "honored to know her and to be inspired by her."

"There was no more potent force in the defense of freedom than this remarkable woman," she said in a statement. "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."

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also reflected on Thatcher's close ties with Reagan.

“As someone who grew up in the Ronald Reagan era, I admired the special bond he had with Margaret Thatcher," he said. "Through her work with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher helped deepen and solidify the special relationship between our two countries, which continues to benefit both nations to this day."

Others took to Twitter to say goodbye.

Filed under: United Kingdom
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. rs

    The end of an era, quite literally. Ms. Thatcher exported jobs from Britain, privatized industries and generally laid waste to much of Britain's middle class, driving many Britons to other nations for work. Like Reagan, her American counterpart she was ardently anti-Communist and pursued an aggressive foreign policy. Unlike Reagan, Thatcher actually RAISED taxes to keep Britain afloat.
    RIP, Ms. Thatcher, your death closes a chapter on sorry "conservatism".

    April 8, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. v_mag

    She and Reagan made the 80s almost unbearable.

    April 8, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. freedom

    Now, this is what you call a woman of integrity and principle. Her legacy will live on.

    April 8, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  4. Name lynn

    our hearts goes out to lady thatcher an her families, we the people is praying for the family. Lady thatcher was a great leader an spoke what was right an wong.

    April 8, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Marget Thatcher got in the game and took a stand on things. Something the current occupant of the White House is reluctant to do. Like her or hate her she was a leader.

    April 8, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Tom

    American Democrats don't seem to be sobbing uncontrollably over Thatcher's death. My best wishes to out to Thatcher's family, but politically, it marks the passing of a wrong-headed era. It will be interesting to see who Obama chooses to attend the funeral.

    April 8, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. ThinkAgain

    Boehner: "Margaret Thatcher, a grocer's daughter, stared down elites, union bosses, and communists ..."

    Love the way conservatives love to lump folks together ... I never cared for Thatcher's policies, although I admired her strength. Condolences to her family.

    April 8, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. ThinkAgain

    Remember when the Quitta from Wasilla went to meet Lady Thatcher to boost her "international relations" cred? Poor Thatcher, suffering from Alzheimer's had to put up with THAT ... cruel, simply cruel.

    April 8, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. Sniffit

    Oh yes, watching Amurikan politicians fawning over British nobility makes sooo much sense...

    April 8, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rest in peace Madame Prime Minister.

    April 8, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. GonzoinHouston

    Although I disagreed with so many of her policies, I have to admit I always admired her. She was a tough and gutsy fighter for what she believed in. I'm happy she's out of office, but I'll miss her nonetheless.

    April 8, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. lottie

    sorry for her death but her policies where not always welcome by her own country.

    April 8, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. ST

    She cared about the rich and forgot completely those who have not. I do not think the poor in Britain are in much sorrow that she has gone. What we do for people on our lives, is what make us be remembered after we have gone.

    April 8, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. Guest

    You liberals are a piece of work...an overpaid, unionized, lazy, entitled, worthless piece that is.

    April 8, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    This is the handwriting on the wall. The first female to be Prime Minister is now being laid to rest. The first female president of the U.S. will soon arise and affect positive change in our nation... Shall we say Hillary Clinton?

    April 8, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. Mike in Louisville

    THIS is what a "strong woman" looks like. Please keep the image in mind whilst we are inundated with fawning over Hillary the next three years. Maggie didn't run on her husband's coattails. Maggie didn't sit there and endure adultery by her husband because of political aspirations. And more that anything, Maggie rose to power before the wave of Political Correctness took over Western civilization. I hate living through the decline of the US via this waive of liberalism, but at least I got to grow up with that image of Reagan and Maggie walking together, having pride in my country and knowing my leaders did too.

    April 8, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. truth hurts but reality bites

    She and Reagan made the 80s almost unbearable.

    Yes, leftists and socialists were her main targets and she took them on fearlessly to bring Britain back from its socialist quagmire.

    April 8, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. ST

    Now GOP political figures are coming out to praise the late Margret Thatcher!! Mmmmmh! politics is being driven from life way through to death???? They are conservatives. Nothing to be surprised of.

    April 8, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. just sayin

    This is the handwriting on the wall. The first female to be Prime Minister is now being laid to rest. The first female president of the U.S. will soon arise and affect positive change in our nation... Shall we say Hillary Clinton?

    not until she and obama come clean on benghazi. our ambassador was murdered, he was her employee, hillary and obama have lied, stonewalled and covered up their actions, or lack of actions, to save those 4 americans. the american people would be stupid to elect somebody that has lied and covered up this fiasco. incompetence and corruption at the top of the government would not serve this country well.

    April 8, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. Peoples State of Illinois

    Her statement was accurate, "What happens when you (socialists) run out of other people's money." The reason democrats don't like her is they are socialists. The democratic party might as well change its name to "Democratic Socialist Party," as that is what they are, in everything but name.

    April 8, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Shall we say Hillary Clinton?
    Yes indeed Romney is Still NOT My Hero!

    April 8, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. Gaore O Dubhshlaine

    I have as much sympathy for her family as she had for the families of ten men she allowed to die in 1981. Good-bye and good riddance to the old trollop. It's about time.

    April 8, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. Peace

    Is that woman from Alaska going to the funeral? She could run to her to ask for her bracing and be recognised as an international figure, and yet she can't go and show her appreciation on former Prime Minister final journey.

    April 8, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. mal

    They say a great leader doesn't have to be right or wrong just certain. You may have
    loved her or hated her, you may say she lead us in the right or the wrong direction but
    at least she was a leader which is sadly lacking these days.

    April 8, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Sniffit

    ""What happens when you (socialists) run out of other people's money.""

    Yawn. We don't. The poor and middle-class spend it and it trickles right back up again where the plutocrats reinstitute their death grip on it all....at which point, we're forced to redistribute some of it so the virtuous cycle can continue, instead of being trapped in a demand vacuum of the plutocrats' own making. The real question is "what happens when the plutocrats have finally reduced everyone else to poverty and powerlessness."

    Hint: we already know the answer become it's happened myriad times throughout history.

    April 8, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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