Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, others pay tribute to ‘warrior’ Andrew Breitbart

In the hours after the sudden passing of conservative warrior Andrew Breitbart Thursday, influential conservatives and Republican presidential candidates paid tribute to the man who fearlessly and relentlessly battled liberals and the mainstream media on behalf of conservatives, and whose best weapons were his words, the web and his passion for liberty.

“Andrew Breitbart was the most innovative pioneer in conservative activist social media in America,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted. “He had great courage and creativity.”

Gingrich also told HUMAN EVENTS that “no other conservative could match” Breitbart because he “combined technological knowledge, sound conservative principles, extraordinary energy and entrepreneurial aggressiveness in a unique way.”

“His ability to encourage people to go underground and expose ACORN led to one of the great conservative victories of the last few years,” Gingrich said. “Breitbart was a fighter as well as a thinker. He understood that we are in a cultural war with the left and he knew that the new media offered a great opportunity to win arguments against the left.”

“His death is a tragedy for his family, for conservatism and for America.”

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann said they were “deeply saddened by the unexpected loss and we send our prayers and condolences to his family and friends.”

“Ann and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Andrew Breitbart: brilliant entrepreneur, fearless conservative, loving husband and father,” Romney tweeted.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said that Breitbart’s death was “shocking” and that Breitbart was a “powerful force” who was “constantly driving and pushing” on behalf of conservatives, and was a “huge loss for the country and the conservative movement.”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, whom Breitbart fiercely defended against the unfair onslaught of the mainstream media against her, wrote about how conservatives would “continue the fight” in Breitbart’s absence.

“Andrew was a warrior who stood on the side of what was right,” Palin wrote in a Facebook note.  “He defended what was right. He defended the defenseless.”

Added Palin: “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.”

Influential conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh spoke movingly about how Breitbart was a guest at his last wedding and how Breitbart sent Limbaugh a painting of Ronald Reagan and American flags. Limbaugh said Breitbart was “constantly on-the-go” and was a “grateful guy and very thoughtful.”

“Nobody did what he did,” Limbaugh said on his radio show. “He was a bulldog.”

Matt Drudge, whom Breitbart helped in the early days of the Drudge Report, movingly wrote on the top of his widely read website: “In the first decade of the Drudge Report 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.”

In addition to combating liberals and the mainstream media, Breitbart was also passionate about standing up for conservative minorities who were vilified by liberals and the mainstream media for being “sellouts.”

In fact, Breitbart regularly spoke about how the Clarence Thomas hearings — and especially how liberal politicians treated the African-American Supreme Court nominee — turned him into the fierce conservative warrior that he became.

Breitbart often said that his passion was for fighting for an inclusive conservative movement and standing up for conservative minorities when they were shouted down by the left.

Sonnie Johnson, an African-American conservative who was a friend of Breitbart’s and introduced him before his speech at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference in February, said that the “left loves to hate and demonize anyone who won’t bow down to their progressive or liberal agenda” and that when she was referred to by the left as an “Oreo” or an “Uncle Tom,” that Breitbart always stood up for her.

“He made me laugh when I was nervous and he made me proud to speak out,” Johnson said.

Conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon, a dear personal friend of Breitbart’s, simply described Breitbart as a “warrior.”

Breitbart is survived by his wife Susie and four children.

Click here to read the tributes to Breitbart from Jason Mattera and John Hayward.

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