msnbc | October 14, 2012
>>> i want to update this breaking news. former senator spector died today. he came into office the same year ronald reagan entered the white house and stayed in office for the next 30 years emerging as one of the leading moderates of the senate. joining me now on the phone, a man who knew arlen specter . first of all, your thoughts today, sir.
>> craig, great to be with you. i had the great honor and privilege to serve with arlen in the senate. he was one of those guys who would work to solve problems across party lines . i think we need more of that today. i think his example is something we can all learn from. it was an honor to serve with him. he'll be missed in so many ways. it's a very sad day for our commonwealth and country.
>> we've been talking a fair amount over the past few hours about what his legacy is going to be. my friend and colleague andrea mitchell mentioned his commitment to medical research . is that going to be his legacy? is it going to be more than that?
>> i think that will be a central part of his enduring legacy because no one fought harder for medical research and medical research dollars, including the tremendous work he did to make sure that the national institutes of health had the dollars they needed. of course, he was living proof of the wonderins of medical research in his own life. we're going to miss him sorely in that way and so many other ways. he was also a real fighter for the little guy. he had a great sense of the underdog and who needed to have a voice to speak on their behalf. so we're missing him today and we'll miss him for a long, long time.
>> lastly, senator casey , this is not something i've heard a lot of folks talk about today or write about. the senator had quite the sense of humor. so much so, in fact, that apparently over the past couple years he launched this stand-up, this sort of stand-up comedy career.
>> he did. towards the end of his career, he had a couple of occasions to do some of that. that showed the breadth of his talents. he was very, very smart, as you know, and was a great prosecutor, a great questioner in senate hearings or as a prosecutor. he also had a lighter side, and he was actually pretty funny. sometimes even in washington you need a little levity when times are tough. he was a great example. i learned a lot from him. i came in, he had been there about 25 years. one of the best things he ever said to me, really the first day we sat down to talk, he said, it's important for us to work together, and it's important for the people of our state to see us working together. at the time it didn't mean much to me when he said it, but all these years later with all the partisanship, it's a very meaningful lesson.
>> senator bob casey of pennsylvania on the late senator arlen specter . thank you so much, senator casey . appreciate your time. want to note here that senator specter leaves behind a wife, two sons, and four grandchildren as well. arlen specter dead today at the age of 82.