Let’s just print Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement on the retirement of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in full:
History will remember Harry Reid for leading the Senate through the single most important period of progressive legislating since The Great Society.
None of what he has accomplished was easy or preordained, but again and again, in his own unique way, without flash or puffery, Harry just went out and found the strategy and the votes — even when everyone said it couldn’t happen.
He’s a Senator’s Senator and one of the most accomplished Senate leaders in modern times.
There’s much to celebrate about Harry Reid, and much that will be remarked on today, whether it’s his only-in-America journey from Searchlight to the Senate’s leadership, his famously direct, blunt, and candid leadership style, his Lazarus-like underdog victories in election after election, or his devotion to family.
Every bit of it is admirable.
But I particularly hope that in these years where we’ve witnessed the retirements of people like Barbara Mikulski and Chris Dodd and Dick Lugar, that people will really pause and reflect on what Harry’s meant to the Senate, and what his work has meant to his state and to the country.
It’s a roadmap for all the Senators who will come along now with big shoes to fill. He’s a master tactician and it really counts: the fact is – because of Harry Reid’s time as Leader – more people in our country have good health care, the tax code’s a little more fair, gays and lesbians can serve openly in the military, and we’re investing more than ever in clean energy.
That’s a record of a lifetime, and that’s Harry Reid.
Since I became Secretary of State, I’ve been particularly grateful for his tireless efforts to reinstate bipartisanship in foreign policy.
In working to give us time and space to try to find a peaceful resolution to the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, in confirming our Ambassadors who maintain America’s presence in the world, in fighting for the State Department budget, Harry Reid has long been a strong advocate for our diplomats worldwide.
I am grateful for Harry’s leadership and his friendship. We still have two years to work together, and so much work to do.