The conservative movement is in mourning today following the death of Internet entrepreneur and activist Andrew Breitbart. While his fiery tenacity made him some enemies, Breitbart had many friends. The Daily Caller has compiled some reactions from those who knew him.
Breitbart, 43, is survived by his wife Susie and four children.
Greg Gutfeld, host of “Red Eye” and “The Five” on Fox News wrote on his blog:
I met Andrew Breitbart in 2005 when I was asked to write for the Huffingtpon Post. He was running the show. Everyone who knew him – left and right – said he was brilliant, eccentric, one of a kind. I instantly fell in love with the guy. To this day, I’ve never met anyone as fearless. He was my first guest on Red Eye, a show I got largely because he told people about me. He became a cheerleader for my work, but more important, a dear close friend I could confide in, about anything. My wife called him the wizard, for he could conjure up anything at any time with limitless energy.
He’s the only person I know who operated without a safety net. He always knew things would turn out the way they were supposed to — so he didn’t worry about money or, I guess, his health, too much.
He was the spiritual leader of the modern conservative, libertarian cause. He was immersed in pop culture and wished to drag the right into the modern world — knowing this is how America speaks to the world. He was the heart of the matter. The fighter. Losing him is like a fiery planet going dark.
My heartfelt condolences go out to Susie and the kids.
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh praised Breitbart on the air Thursday:
Breitbart was outside himself in all his quests. When I say “indefatigable” — I’ve never heard of him sleeping, I know he did — but he was constantly on the go. He was also a grateful guy and very thoughtful.
He was a guest at our [Rush and his wife Kathryn] wedding in 2010 and about two months prior he sent Cookie a note, wanted to know if she knew who one of my most inspirational figures is. She told him. He presented us with a classic painting of Ronald Reagan. And every since, every birthday, three birthdays he has sent me a giant painting, a different rendering of the American flag.
It’s a very sad thing to see this happen.
Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, told Forbes:
All I can think of at the moment is what Andrew meant to me as a friend, starting from when we worked together — his passion, his exuberance, his fearlessness. And above all, what I’m thinking of at the moment is his amazing wife Susie and their four beautiful young children. My love and thoughts are with them right now.
Chris Barron, GOProud chairman, recalled one of his best memories of Breitbart in an email to TheDC:
I think I will always remember Andrew from the night of the Breitbart/GOProud Big Party at CPAC in 2011… Breitbart arrived late to the party and had to fight his way through the throngs of people in the crowd to make it to the stage to deliver his remarks. It took him forever to get to the stage because he stopped and shook hands and said hi to everyone. He took the stage, in a button down shirt with no tie, sporting a big stain from dinner. Drink in hand and unshaven, he certainly didn’t look the part of the prototypical conservative. When he grabbed that mic, however, he delivered a speech that had every conservative in that room on their feet cheering. He was one of a kind and he will be missed.
Christian Josi, Senior Vice President of Dezenhall Resources, told TheDC his best memory of Breitbart was dining with him at the 2010 White House Correspondent’s dinner.
Hard to choose just one, because any interaction with Andrew is memorable. But since you are forcing me, I’ll choose White House Correspondents dinner 2010. His star was on the rise and everyone was mobbing him as his wonderful wife Susie and I proceeded to drink all the wine and marvel at the fact that all of his crazy schemes to change the World were coming true. A truly happy night. I will miss him terribly
Ben Domenech, of The Heartland Institute, recalled his best moment with Breitbart:
This is just a small moment, but it revealed so much about Andrew to me.
My Coffee and Markets co-host Brad Jackson and I were at the Sam Adams award gala in Chicago with Andrew last year — the place was full of bigwigs from politics and media, think tanks and organizations, with a long list of VIPs. Andrew, who was presenting awards, was there amongst the gowns and ties in his typical Chucks and jeans glory, talking about empowering activists and sharing plans for the future, excited as a child on Christmas morning.
I remember the plainly dressed wife of one of the nominees for a citizen journalist award started a conversation with him about politics. There he was, standing in the middle of a crowd of elected officials and powerful people, but he was paying rapt attention to a housewife he’d just met who really wanted to tell him something. And I realized at the time that for Andrew, he had so rebelled against the celebrity obsessed culture of Hollywood and the power obsessed culture of Washington that he no longer had any appreciation of a difference between the powerful and the populace.
There was no dividing line there for him. He was as interested in talking with you and hearing your ideas if you were a housewife from Kansas or a big shot from DC. He believed in the merit of good ideas, no matter the source, and so he built structures which democratized opinion and journalism on the internet to empower these people and give them a larger megaphone to make their voices heard against the forces of the institutional left. In this, he was the best kind of populist — one who understood, as Reagan did, that “No weapon in any arsenal in the world is as formidable as the will and the moral courage of free men and women.”
Matt Drudge, founder and editor of the Drudge Report, posted:
DEAR READER: In the first decade of the DRUDGEREPORT Andrew Breitbart was a constant source of energy, passion and commitment. We shared a love of headlines, a love of the news, an excitement about what’s happening. I don’t think there was a single day during that time when we did not flash each other or laugh with each other, or challenge each other. I still see him in my mind’s eye in Venice Beach, the sunny day I met him. He was in his mid 20′s. It was all there. He had a wonderful, loving family and we all feel great sadness for them today… MDRUDGE
Sarah Palin offered her thoughts on Breitbart on her Facebook page:
We are all stunned and saddened by the news of Andrew Breitbart’s passing. Andrew was a warrior who stood on the side of what was right. He defended what was right. He defended the defenseless.
It is so sad to consider his four young children who have lost their dad. All our prayers are with his family now. May God comfort his wife and children.
Many of us will have life-long memories of our work or encounters with Andrew. May we draw on those to help forward the cause of fighting for what is right. For me, just one of those memories was in Pella, Iowa, last year after the premier of “The Undefeated.” Andrew held court in the restaurant at the local hotel talking about his favorite topic: how “culture is upstream of politics” and how conservatives must be unafraid to fight the leftwing media, cultural, and political establishments. The loss of his voice in this fight will be deeply felt, but thankfully his work lives on at his “Bigs” [websites], and thank God for his inspiration and leadership.
God bless you, Andrew. Rest in peace, friend. We will continue the fight.
Mark Levin, conservative radio host, also posted his thoughts on Facebook:
Like most, I am totally stunned and deeply saddened by Andrew’s passing. He was a wonderful person and patriot. He loved his family and country. I will miss him. Many of us will. Andrew had enormous energy and courage. He was a pioneer. He was only 43 years old. I wish I had known him longer. The last time I was with Andrew was in November, when we both spoke in Washington at an Americans for Prosperity event, where Occupy DC was outside the convention center making all kinds of accusations and bullying people. Andrew loved the battle and he knew the stakes. May he rest in peace. May his family find peace. May God bless him.
Conservative commentator S.E. Cupp, in an email to TheDC:
Over the course of my five-year friendship with Andrew, there are so many moments that I’ll always treasure and remember. Most of them are personal and not for publication. So I think it best to remember Andrew in his own words. In 2010, I was compiling a list of New Year’s resolutions from my friends in the business. I asked for his, and this is what he wrote:
For starters, I’m going to begin being a lot less forgiving of the treachery, viciousness and duplicity of left wing totalitarians, especially those in the media, academia and pop culture, who wield their weapons of political correctness and intimidation against those with whom they disagree. In addition, I’d like to be able slip on that old size 4 black cocktail dress by the time my book, ‘Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World’ comes out in April. So I have a lot of work and sweat ahead of me.
Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots recalled Breitbart in a statement:
Andrew Breitbart was essential to the liberty movement. One of the things that our grassroots knew and appreciated was his willingness to fight for our values boldly and brashly. If more of our elected officials support our principles and core values as fearlessly as Andrew did, our country would be in a much better place today. He cared passionately about our country and it was evident in his words and deeds.
In private, he spoke to me about the importance of his family and how much he cared for them. Today his family are in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing your father and husband with the rest of the country. It is a better place today because of the time your family sacrificed for us.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in a tweet:
Andrew Breitbart was the most innovativepioneer in conservative activist social media in America.He had great courage and creativity.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in a tweet:
Ann and I are deeply saddened by the passing of @AndrewBreitbart: brilliant entrepreneur, fearless conservative, loving husband and father.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in a statement:
I am stunned by the news of Andrew’s passing. Andrew was a revolutionary voice and energetic advocate for conservatism across the country. What separated Andrew from most was his courage to stand up to the liberal elite while living in the lion’s den itself. He was never afraid to stand up for what was right, even when he knew he would be attacked for it. This is a significant loss, not just for conservatism, but for keeping our media and our leaders accountable. My wife Karen and I will keep Andrew’s family and his loved-ones in our thoughts and prayers.
Will Rahn and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.