THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT OF THE PRESIDENT ON DEATH OF LES ASPIN
I speak for millions of Americans when mourning the death today of Les Aspin, and join many others in saying that he was my friend.
As a member of the House of Representatives for twenty-two years, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee for eight, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Les rendered our nation extraordinary, selfless service.
Les Aspin accomplished greatly because he cared greatly. He brought the same commitment to his most recent assignment that he brought to Washington as a young Congressional aide, staff assistant at the Council of Economic Advisors and Defense Department official in the 1960s.
No one knew better than he how Washington works, but he never thought of it as a game for its own sake. He was here to make a difference. And he did. He probed and helped shape a generation of American defense policies and budgets, culminating in the decisive bottom-up review of our military strategy, which he conducted as Secretary of Defense.
Les Aspin was uniqe. He brought the light of his joy in living, and the heat of his intellect, to every occasion. He never met a person who didn't like him. And we all will miss him.