Colleagues, friends, and newsmakers remembered Peter Jennings fondly today. Here are some of their words:
ABC News President David Westin: He would always come in with strong views of what stories needed to be covered and whether we were doing it the right way or not. And he gave us energy, a love for what we did because he had so much love for the news and for reporting the news.
Outgoing Disney CEO Michael Eisner and his successor, Bob Iger, in a joint statement: For four decades, Peter set a standard of fairness, intelligence, insightfulness and courage. This last trait was especially evident during these last months. For once, Peter himself became the story as his courageous battle with cancer served as an inspiration for millions of people across America. Peter was one of those unique individuals who was larger than life but never lost the common touch. He possessed an innate understanding of the human condition, which is why his broadcasts had such an air of authenticity. He understood that the world was a complex place and had the extraordinary ability to communicate that complexity to millions of viewers day after day.
"Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel: He and I joked the last time I went to visit him a few days ago that between the two of us, we'd put in 83 years at ABC News. … But I do feel the need to say that he was a warm and loving and surprisingly sentimental man. … For the rest of his life, and I do mean for the rest of his life, he always regretted the fact that he had dropped out of school, and he used to travel when he was overseas with whatever else he needed for his trip and always, he had with him one extra suitcase that was filled with books. He was a student for the rest of his life, even though he had dropped out so early.
Barbara Walters: No one could ad-lib like Peter. Sometimes he drove me crazy because he knew every detail and I would find myself saying, "But … but … " But he really did. You would think it was all scripted, he was so poetic. But it wasn't. … He just died too young. And if as Ted gave the message [to] finish high school, I want to give a message: If you have kids who are smoking, for heaven's sake, tell them that we lost Peter.
Sam Donaldson: I remember back in 1968 we were at the Miami Convention of the Republican Party … we went out of our workspace … there were 30 people in line to get this coffee and we fell in with this young woman who had eight cups … Peter asked if he could buy the coffee … she said, "Oh you're Peter Jennings … of course," and as we walked away the woman got back in line … I said, "Peter, I'm just as jealous as I can be."
ABC News political commentator and analyst Cokie Roberts: I think that if he were writing his eulogy this morning, he would put that right at the top -- that he was a good dad and he loved his children dearly. I'm so glad that they were with him last night. But he felt so -- that was such an important part of his life. And, you know, he carried it over, as you well know, to other children as well as his own, not only personally but as a professional. He insisted on those specials for children that he could bring difficult issues, particularly after Sept. 11, to children and talk about it with children. … He was always interested in what was happening with the children.