Politicians, Peers Remember Cronkite

Walter Cronkite, newscaster for the CBS-TV network, is shown on July 17, 1968.
Walter Cronkite, newscaster for the CBS-TV network, is shown on July 17, 1968. (AP Photo)

Last Updated 1:18 p.m. ET.

As news of Walter Cronkite's death spread, tributes to the legendary anchorman poured in from across the country - from public figures whose lives and careers he covered, from competing journalists and broadcast peers, and from the public who grew up viewing the CBS newsman as the embodiment of TV journalism.

Cronkite, so revered by Americans that they considered him the "most trusted man in America," died Friday, July 19, 2009. He was 92.

Here's how he was remembered:

President Barack Obama:
"For decades, Walter Cronkite was the most trusted voice in America. His rich baritone reached millions of living rooms every night, and in an industry of icons, Walter set the standard by which all others have been judged.

He was there through wars and riots, marches and milestones, calmly telling us what we needed to know. And through it all, he never lost the integrity he gained growing up in the heartland.

But Walter was always more than just an anchor. He was someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world. He was family. He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down. This country has lost an icon and a dear friend, and he will be truly missed."

Former President George W. Bush:
"Walter Cronkite was an icon of American journalism who shaped his profession in countless ways during his decades on the air. Tonight, his family is in our thoughts and prayers."

Former President Bill Clinton:
"The passing of the years did not diminish as nearly as I could tell, one iota, his interest in, and love for his country and his desire to see the world get better. ...

"I think it pained him to have to say what he thought about Vietnam, but he also understood how isolating the White House can be and how people can get to the point where they don't hear discordant voices. And he thought he knew what the truth was. And he thought he had an obligation to tell it."

Former President George H.W. Bush:
"Barbara and I join the nation in mourning the passing of Walter Cronkite. As a pioneer in television journalism, he was a towering, respected figure. Many Americans heard it from Walter first that President Kennedy had died, or that man had walked on the moon. He is already missed."

Former President Jimmy Carter:
"As president, I knew I would be treated fairly by Walter. Although his questions might be tough, I always enjoyed the challenge."

Senator John McCain:
"I'm saddened to learn of the passing of Walter Cronkite - one of the most influential newsmen of our time. I will never forget our memorable visit together to Hanoi on the 10th anniversary of the fall of Saigon."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton:
"It's a great time to look back and think about someone who played such a major role in explaining what was going on and did it in a calm, fact-based way without embellishments that too often get in the way of really understanding what's going on."

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:
"For decades, Walter Cronkite was the fixture in American living rooms whose reassuring voice reported on some of the most important moments in our nation's history. He was the most trusted man in America who calmly explained monumental events such as the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the moon landing - events that shaped and defined a generation. Walter remains the benchmark for what it means to be a television journalist and he will be missed. Maria and I join all Californians in expressing our sadness over his passing and we send our thoughts and prayers to Walter's family and friends."

Astronaut Neil Armstrong:
"For a news analyst and reporter of the happenings of the day to be successful, he or she needs three things: accuracy, timeliness, and the trust of the audience. Many are fortunate to have the first two. The trust of the audience must be earned.

Walter Cronkite seemed to enjoy the highest of ratings. He had a passion for human space exploration, an enthusiasm that was contagious, and the trust of his audience. He will be missed."

Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator:
"It is with great sadness that the NASA family learned of Walter Cronkite's passing. He led the transition from print and radio reporting to the juggernaut that became television journalism. His insight and integrity were unparalleled and his compassion helped America make it through some of the most tragic and trying times of the 20th century.

From the earliest days of the space program, Walter brought the excitement, the drama and the achievements of space flight directly into our homes. But it was the conquest of the moon in the late 1960s that energized Walter most about exploration. He called it the most important feat of all time and said that the success of Apollo 11 would be remembered 500 years from now as humanity's greatest achievement."

ABC News' Diane Sawyer:
"A call, a note, a compliment from Walter was pretty much the Nobel Prize for a young reporter."

ABC's Barbara Walters:
"He was a jolly and supportive friend. He will be missed by each of us individually who knew him and by the whole country who loved him."

Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw:
"What was so remarkable about it was that he was not only in the midst of so many great stories, he was also the managing editor of CBS News and the managing editor for America. Walter always made us better. He set the bar so high."

ABC News anchor Charles Gibson:
"Walter Cronkite was and always will be the gold standard. His objectivity, his evenhandedness, his news judgment are all great examples. He, as much as anyone, is responsible for developing network television news."

Christopher Callahan, dean of The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University:
"One of the things we tell students is if you can meet the values of Walter Cronkite-style journalism - accuracy, objectivity, fairness and thoroughness in your reporting - you're going to be pretty great."

NBC News anchor and managing editor Brian Williams:
"America has lost an icon, our industry has lost its living giant, and all those who learned about the world from Walter Cronkite have lost an exceptional teacher."

George Clooney, actor/director, "Good Night, and Good Luck":
"I'm the son of a newsman, and it's a huge part of my life, I grew up in a newsroom. I know Walter very well, we did a live television show. It's fun to be around somebody who's actually been part of real historical events. . . . His legacy will be one of the great legacies of great Americans. It sounds overstated, but it isn't. He's that important to us. Not just to generations before him but to generations coming up."

Mickey Hart, Drummer of the Grateful Dead:
"He was a freedom fighter and he was an honest, truthful guy that used his power while he was here on earth well, he was for the good... It just so happens that everybody's trust was put in the right place. That's the lucky part of all this."

Robin Williams, Actor/Comedian:
"Walter was a man of integrity at a time when we needed it. At a time when we still need it. A man, a legacy of someone who believes in the first amendment as being one of the prime directives of democracy, but also of civilization. The idea of speaking out, and speaking directly."

Special Section: Walter Cronkite: 1916-2009