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Tributes poured in from political leaders after news broke Tuesday that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid died at the age of 82.
Former President Barack Obama said that without Reid he would not have been president, releasing a letter he had written to Reid in lieu of a statement.
“You were a great leader in the Senate, and early on you were more generous to me than I had any right to expect,” Obama wrote in part. “I wouldn’t have been president had it not been for your encouragement and support, and I wouldn’t have got most of what I got done without your skill and determination.”
Former President Barack Obama hugs former Sen. Harry Reid before speaking during the National Clean Energy Summit 8.0 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Aug. 24, 2015. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Obama went on to describe himself and Reid as “a pretty good team.”
Former President Bill Clinton likewise mourned the passing of the former Nevada senator, calling him “one of the most effective Senate leaders our country has ever known.”
“He was a canny and tough negotiator who was never afraid to make an unpopular decision if it meant getting something done that was right for the country,” Clinton wrote. He also mentioned how Reid and his wife Hillary served together in the Senate and said he “will always be grateful for the opportunities I had to work with him as President.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also extolled his predecessor, describing him as “one of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever met.”
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid speaks from the witness stand, Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Las Vegas. Reid testified in his negligence lawsuit against the maker of an exercise device. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Referring to Reid’s youth as a boxer, Schumer said Reid “came from humble origins, but he never forgot where he came from and used those boxing instincts to fearlessly fight those who were hurting the poor and the middle class.”
Schumer went on to describe Reid as “my leader, my mentor, one of my dearest friends.”
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said he was saddened to hear of Reid’s passing and described him as “a giant, whose years of determined service on behalf of the people of Nevada strengthened our entire nation.”
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said, “Harry Reid was a mentor to me and a towering model of leadership, grit, and uncompromising service to others.”
A Democrat representing Nevada, Reid served as senate majority leader from 2007 to 2015. He became well-known for his use of the “nuclear option” in 2013, leading the charge to end the filibuster on executive branch nominees and judicial nominees other than to the Supreme Court.
Reid was first elected in 1969, serving in the Nevada Assembly until 1971. He then served as lieutenant governor of Nevada from 1971 to 1975 before being elected to serve Nevada’s first district in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. He was first elected to the Senate in 1987.
Fox News’ Michael Lee contributed to this report.