Officials, candidates pause after Menino's death

Former Boston mayor dies at 71
Former Boston mayor dies at 71

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Former Boston mayor dies at 71 01:43

Story highlights

  • Both candidates for governor in Massachusetts cancel campaign activity
  • They're responding to the passing of former Boston Mayor Tom Menino
  • Other top politicians have offered their condolences
Both Massachusetts governor candidates have suspended campaign activity Thursday to honor former Boston Mayor Tom Menino, who died this morning, as politicians across the state and D.C. remember the city's longest serving mayor.
President Barack Obama said he and First Lady Michelle Obama were saddened to learn of Menino's passing in a statement.
"Bold, big-hearted, and Boston strong, Tom was the embodiment of the city he loved and led for more than two decades," the White House statement said. "His legacy lives on in every neighborhood he helped revitalize, every school he helped turn around, and every community he helped make a safer, better place to live."
Democratic governor candidate and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley called the fellow Democrat the "greatest mayor in [Boston's] history."
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"What made Tom Menino so remarkable was his connection to the people he represented -- he understood their lives, their hopes, and their dreams," she said in a statement. "And he fought for them every day."
Coakley's opponent, Republican Charlie Baker, has cancelled public events Thursday and Friday "out of respect for the passing of Mayor Menino," according to a campaign statement on Twitter.
Statements of condolences from other well-known politicians continue to pour in, including one from Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts.
"The City of Boston lost a great fighter today. Mayor Tom Menino used his big heart, his strong voice, and his fierce determination to shape every corner of the city." Warren said. "Our mayor is gone, but he lives on in every neighborhood in Boston."
Secretary of State John Kerry weighed in with an emotional statement this morning.
"Tom Menino was Boston. In fact, if you just look around the city, you'll see with your own eyes that he is Boston today," said Kerry, a former Massachusetts senator, highlighting Menino's folksy appeal and down-to-earth attitude. "People came up to the Mayor and asked him to fix things, and he followed up and fixed them, whether it was streetlights or parks or getting the snow plowed so people could get to work on time. He knew what built community. He felt the city and the neighborhoods in his bones."
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick called Menino a "political giant." "[My wife] Diane and I have lost a friend," he said.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who led the city for three terms, highlighted his partnership with Menino on gun control.
"Tom Menino was a terrific mayor and a close partner for me," Bloomberg wrote in a statement. "In 2006, we formed Mayors Against Illegal Guns -- and what began as a meeting of 15 mayors ultimately became a coalition of more than 1,000 mayors from around the country. Whether it was tackling illegal guns or reviving neighborhoods, Tom was never afraid to take on tough issues."
Menino, who emerged as a leader on environmental issues, economic development and LGBT rights, announced he would step down in 2013 because of persistent health issues. A few weeks later, he famously left his own hospital bed during the Boston Marathon bombing to appear at a televised memorial service for victims. He died Thursday at 71 after a long battle with cancer.