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Obama, U.S. and world leaders pay tribute to Thatcher

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President Obama paid tribute to the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Monday as "one of the great champions of freedom and liberty."

"America has lost a true friend," Mr. Obama said in a statement. "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."

He said Mrs. Thatcher "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," Mr. Obama said. "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."

Speaker John A. Boehner called Mrs. Thatcher "the greatest peacetime prime minister in British history."

"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 Ohio Republican said. "There was no secret to her values – hard work and personal responsibility – and no nonsense at all in her leadership. Americans will always keep Lady Thatcher in our hearts for her loyalty to Ronald Reagan and their friendship that we all admired."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Mrs. Thatcher "never hesitated to remind Americans of their own obligations to the cause of freedom and of the need for political courage and confidence in the face of long odds."

"A towering figure of 20th century politics and an inspiration to millions around the globe, Margaret Thatcher set a standard of leadership that will be hard to replicate, but which will forever stand as a model for those who wish to change society for the better,” Mr. McConnell said.

"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.  There was no secret to her values – hard work and personal responsibility – and no nonsense at all in her leadership.

"She once said, ‘Defeat?  I do not recognize the meaning of the word.’  Now this lady who was never for turning goes to rest as grateful friends and allies around the world mourn her passing and pray for her loved ones," House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Many other tributes to "Maggie" flooded in: 

"It was with great sadness that I learned of Lady Thatcher’s death. We have lost a great leader, a great Prime Minister, and a great Briton," said current Prime Minister David Cameron. "Lady Thatcher didn’t just lead our country, she saved our country."

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"She was an inspirational leader who stood on principle and guided her nation with confidence and clarity," former President George W. Bush said in a statement.  "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.

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"I want to offer my condolences to the family of Margaret Thatcher. She was a friend to our country and a great leader. Rest in peace," Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)

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"She was a leader of strong convictions, great leadership abilities and extraordinary personality,” former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told CNN. “She was a woman who [knew that] a leader needed to have strong convictions because the public had no way of orienting itself unless its leadership, its leaders gave it the real push. She didn’t think it was her job to find the middle ground.”

 

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