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NBC Remembers Margaret Thatcher as 'Loved and Loathed,' 'Deeply Controversial'

As news broke of the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Monday morning, Today co-host Matt Lauer turned to correspondent Michelle Kosinski in London, who proclaimed Thatcher was "Known as the Iron Lady and for her conservative politics, she was also quite controversial during that time for reducing the power of the trade unions." [Listen to the audio]

In a full report that followed, correspondent Martin Fletcher used similar language to describe the tenure of the British leader: "She was known as an iron lady, both loved and loathed....Consensus and compromise, they said, were not in her vocabulary. She'd won a bloody war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, took on Britain's powerful labor unions. She ignored IRA hunger strikes....Determined, dynamic, and deeply controversial, Thatcher leaves an indelible mark on the world's political landscape."

Fletcher also included a clip of liberal actress Meryl Streep's unflattering portrayal of Thatcher in the 2011 film, The Iron Lady, which, "showed Thatcher's decline into dementia, the highly respected grande dame of British politics struggling with the passage of the time."

Following the reports by Kosinski and Fletcher, Lauer and fill-in co-host Hod Kotb did share some warm thoughts on Thatcher's passing:

LAUER: So once again the headline, former British prime minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, has died at the age of 87. We started immediately going to our phones and Googling and both fell on the quote that we both liked from her.

HODA KOTB: Yeah this is a quote that I loved, too, and this is what it says, "Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

LAUER: She had a way with words.

KOTB: She certainly did.

LAUER: She also said that, "If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman."

KOTB: Of course. Alright.

LAUER: So anyway, Margaret Thatcher, she'll be missed.

Here is a full transcript of the April 8 coverage:

8:00AM ET

MATT LAUER: We have some sad, breaking news, Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first female prime minister, has died. I'm Matt Lauer alongside Hoda Kotb, who is in for Savannah this morning.

HODA KOTB: Yeah, her spokesperson says Thatcher died following a stroke this morning.

LAUER: Let's get right to NBC's Michelle Kosinski, she is in London. Michelle, good morning to you.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI: Good morning, yes, this is breaking now, we're hearing from her spokesperson, saying that Baroness Margaret Thatcher has died peacefully of a stroke. They don't say whether she was at home, although it is understood that she has been at home lately in London. They say that a further statement will be made later.

She is Britain's only female prime minister. She's its longest serving prime minister of the 20th century, serving for more than ten years between 1979 and 1990. Known as the Iron Lady and for her conservative politics, she was also quite controversial during that time for reducing the power of the trade unions. So we know that she has passed away peacefully following a stroke and that more information is coming soon. Matt.

LAUER: Alright, Michelle Kosinski in London, thank you very much. Let's get some more now on the life of Margaret Thatcher from NBC's Martin Fletcher.

MARTIN FLETCHER: She was known as an iron lady, both loved and loathed, but leaves a legacy that's beyond dispute. Margaret Thatcher was one of Britain's most influential politicians of the 20th century. The daughter of a grocer and dressmaker, she was taught never to follow the crowd, and she didn't. Elected at 34, her no-nonsense style and fierce ambition quickly led her up the ladder of Britain's conservative party. By age 50, she was leader.

MARGARET THATCHER: The Iron Lady of the western world.

FLETCHER: Just four years later, she swept to victory as the country's first woman prime minister. Her will power, like her ever-present handbag and upswept hairdo, became legendary.

THATCHER: The lady's not for turning.

FLETCHER: Consensus and compromise, they said, were not in her vocabulary. She'd won a bloody war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, took on Britain's powerful labor unions. She ignored IRA hunger strikes. In 1984, when an IRA bomb killed four people in the hotel where Thatcher and her party were meeting, she was undaunted.

THATCHER: All attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail.

FLETCHER: Thatcher transformed Britain's economy, her policy of privatization went on to be imitated by governments around the world. Among her admirers, Ronald Reagan, who shared her politics and valued her advice. They formed a potent partnership, pressuring Mikhail Gorbachev to dismantle the Soviet system and pursue Perestroika.

By 1990, after three terms in office, it was her fellow conservative party members who forced her out of office, unhappy with a number of her policies. She lost power but not influence. After a series of small strokes in 2004, she honored a promise to Ronald Reagan and delivered a eulogy on tape at his funeral.

THATCHER: We have lost a great president, a great American, and a great man, and I have lost a dear friend.

FLETCHER: The 2011 movie The Iron Lady showed Thatcher's decline into dementia, the highly respected grande dame of British politics struggling with the passage of the time.

Determined, dynamic, and deeply controversial, Thatcher leaves an indelible mark on the world's political landscape.

Martin Fletcher, NBC News, London.

LAUER: So once again the headline, former British prime minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, has died at the age of 87. We started immediately going to our phones and Googling and both fell on the quote that we both liked from her.

HODA KOTB: Yeah this is a quote that I loved, too, and this is what it says, "Being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, you aren't."

LAUER: She had a way with words.

KOTB: She certainly did.

LAUER: She also said that, "If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman."

KOTB: Of course. Alright.

LAUER: So anyway, Margaret Thatcher, she'll be missed.