WASHINGTON — Politicians and friends responded to the death of Charles Colson, the special counsel to President Richard Nixon who went to prison for his role in a Watergate-related case and became a Christian evangelical helping inmates. Here is what they said:
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio: "Chuck Colson lived an extraordinary life. He was a man who experienced tremendous lows yet went on to spark a movement of ideas and people focused on spiritual transformation."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: "For nearly four decades, Chuck Colson's life and example have been a constant and necessary reminder to those of us in and out of public office of the seductions of power and the rewards of service. His famous redemption story and tireless advocacy on behalf of the marginalized and the outcast have called all of us to a deeper reflection on our lives and priorities. He lives on as a modern model of redemption and a permanent rebuttal to the cynical claim that there are no second chances in life."
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney: "Chuck Colson embodied and made possible an immeasurable amount of good in the lives of the people, families and communities he served in bringing a message of faith and hope."
The Rev. Billy Graham: "For more than 35 years, Chuck Colson, a former prisoner himself, has had a tremendous ministry reaching into prisons and jails with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. When I get to Heaven and see Chuck again, I believe I will also see many, many people there whose lives have been transformed because of the message he shared with them."
Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum: "Chuck was a patriot, who loved his country and loved serving his God, and we are all a little better off for having known him."
U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.: "Having been given a second chance, Chuck Colson devoted his life to carrying the Christian message of second chances to those in prison, and he saw countless lives changed by his compassion and example."
Michael Cromartie, Vice President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center: "He played political hardball for keeps. He was ruthless. He wanted to win at all costs and he had a reputation as a person who wanted to win at all costs ... I think if he's going to be remembered for anything, he's going to be remembered as a person who had a complete turnaround in his life."