One of the first things I did after being elected President was pay a call on Senator Byrd. I left with an understanding of his deep devotion to the Constitution, and a copy of his history of the Senate, which I still keep in my Harlem office. I enjoyed both our heated arguments and our common causes, and I am grateful he could wheel onto the Senate floor near the end of his service to cast a deciding vote for health care reform. Through it all, I saw again and again his conviction that America is more important than any one issue, President or Senator and that it is the rules, institutions and systems that enable us to keep forming a more perfect union. He was a fierce orator, a brilliant debater, a loyal friend and a ferocious opponent. But he always played by the rules, knew the facts and stayed close to them. In today's political climate, we could use a large dose of Robert Byrd's medicine for America. He has finished his course, but he has left behind lessons worth remembering.
Clinton is the 42nd President of the United States