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Breitbart’s online profile called him a “mild-mannered family guy,” However, Rick Santorum said he was a “powerful force.”

“He will be what a huge loss … for our country and certainly for the conservative movement and my prayers go out to his family,” Santorum said. “I’m really sorry to hear it.”

Mitt Romney posted to Twitter: “Ann and I are deeply saddened by the passing of (at)AndrewBreitbart: brilliant entrepreneur, fearless conservative, loving husband and father.”

Sherrod, who is black, was ousted from her job as the USDA’s state rural development director for Georgia in July 2010 after an edited video surfaced of her making what appeared to be a racist remark. She is seen telling an NAACP group that she was initially reluctant to help a white farmer save his farm more than two decades ago, long before she worked for USDA.

Missing from the clip was the rest of the speech, which was meant as a lesson in racial healing. Sherrod told the crowd she eventually realized her mistake and helped the farmer save his farm.

Once the entire video surfaced, Sherrod received numerous apologies from the administration _ including from President Barack Obama _ and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asked her to return to the department to work on civil rights issues.

She declined Vilsack’s offer but later sued Breitbart, his employee, Larry O’Connor, and an unnamed “John Doe” defendant for “defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

A lawyer for O’Connor said Thursday that it is unclear whether the case will proceed for the other two defendants, who were in the process of trying to get the case dismissed from federal court.

Breitbart’s websites also featured a 2009 hidden-camera video that brought embarrassment to the community group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The videos show ACORN staffers offering advice on taxes and other issues to actors posing as a prostitute and pimp.

Those videos triggered a firestorm of criticism, with some ACORN employees appearing willing to support illegal schemes involving tax advice, misuse of public funds and illegal trafficking in children.

A Government Accountability Office report cleared ACORN of criminal activities.

Even so, public pressure led Congress to block previously approved funds from going to ACORN and to stop future payments. Roughly 10 percent of ACORN’s funds came from federal grants and the group eventually disbanded.

Breitbart also sparked a controversy that ultimately led to the resignation of Weiner, whose problems began on May 28 when Bretibart’s website posted a lewd photograph of an underwear-clad crotch and said it had been sent from Weiner’s Twitter account to a Seattle woman.

Initially, Weiner lied, saying his account had been hacked. But he pointedly did not report the incident to law enforcement _ a step that could have led the way to charges of wrongdoing far more serious than mere sexting.

Additionally, his public denials were less than solid _ particularly when he told an interviewer that he could not “say with certitude” that he wasn’t the man in the underwear photo.

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