Obama says Lautenberg improved Americans’ lives

In this Feb. 15, 2013 file photo, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, the oldest member of the Senate, speaks in his hometown of Paterson, N.J., where he said he plans to retire at the end of his current term. Lautenberg, a multimillionaire New Jersey businessman and liberal who was called out of retirement for a second tour of duty in Congress, has died at age 89. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is praising Sen. Frank Lautenberg as a proud citizen of New Jersey who fought to keep America’s promise alive as a senator.

Obama says in a statement that he and first lady Michelle Obama are sending their condolences to Lautenberg’s family and to New Jersey residents. He says the New Jersey Democrat improved countless Americans’ lives by focusing on health and safety, including his work to promote gun control.

He’s citing Lautenberg’s origins in a working-class family, his military service and his service in the Senate, where Obama says Lautenberg served New Jersey well.

Lautenberg died early Monday morning at age 89. A multimillionaire businessman and liberal, he was the oldest member of the Senate and the last World War II veteran serving there.

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