96 Facts About Robert Byrd

1. Robert Byrd was a boxing judge and referee in California before moving to Nevada.

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2. Robert Byrd gave an emotional tribute to his friend when Kennedy died.

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3. Robert Byrd was born on November 20, 1917 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

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4. Robert Byrd continues to combine his interest in historical detail and his artistic talents in Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer.

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5. Robert Byrd once told Something about the Author: "To me, illustrating means making pictures.

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6. Robert Byrd continues to combine his interest in historic detail and his artistic talents in Leonardo, Beautiful Dreamer.

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7. In 1982, Robert Byrd convinced a local cable company executive to give him a position as a producer.

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8. Robert Byrd was born on March 30, 1952, in Pensacola, Florida, where his father was stationed in the US Air Force.

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9. Robert Byrd got married on 29th May 1937 to Ema Ora James.

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10. Robert Byrd was awarded the Henry Adams prize as a result of his efforts in research of the history of the federal government.

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11. Robert Byrd contested for in the West Virginia House of Delegates and emerged a winner.

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12. Robert Byrd went to school at Mark Twain High school located in Tams.

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13. Robert Byrd was brought up in the coal mining region for most of his childhood, in southern West Virginia.

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14. In 1964, Robert Byrd held a strong anti-black stance when he filibustered the Civil rights act for about 14 hours.

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15. Robert Byrd is survived by daughters Mona and Marjorie, as well as six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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16. On June 12, 2006, Robert Byrd made history by became the longest serving US Senator in the history of the United States.

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17. Robert Byrd would go on to become Senate minority leader in 1981, after the Republicans took control in the 1980 elections.

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18. Robert Byrd stayed busy as a musician, recording his own album of fiddle music, Mountain Fiddler, in 1978.

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19. Robert Byrd was an excellent student, and graduated in 1937 as valedictorian of his class at Mark Twain High School.

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20. Robert Byrd appeared in the Civil War movie Gods and Generals in 2003 along with former Virginia senator George Allen.

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21. Robert Byrd occasionally took a break from Senate business to entertain audiences with his fiddle.

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22. Robert Byrd was then flown to Charleston, West Virginia, where he lay in repose in the Lower Rotunda of the West Virginia State Capitol.

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23. Robert Byrd was a giant among legislators, and was courageous in espousing controversial issues.

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24. Robert Byrd called Byrd "a tough, compassionate, and outspoken leader and dedicated above all else to making life better for the people of the Mountain State.

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25. Robert Byrd died at approximately EDT the next day at age 92 from natural causes.

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26. In 2009, Robert Byrd was one of three Democrats to oppose the confirmation of Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner.

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27. Robert Byrd opposed the Flag Desecration Amendment, saying that, while he wanted to protect the American flag, he believed that amending the Constitution "is not the most expeditious way to protect this revered symbol of our Republic.

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28. In October 1999, Robert Byrd was the only senator to vote present on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

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29. In June 1984, Robert Byrd was one of five Democrats to vote against the Lawton Chiles proposal to cease MX production for a year during study in search of a smaller and single-warhead missile.

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30. In March 1984, Robert Byrd voted against a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing periods in public school for silent prayer, and in favor of President Reagan's unsuccessful proposal for a constitutional amendment permitting organized school prayer in public schools.

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31. Robert Byrd described the proposal as only allowing the president to act with independence in the event that Americans needed to evacuate El Salvador or if the United States was attacked.

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32. In March 1982, Robert Byrd announced he would introduce an amendment to the War Powers Act that would bar the president from being able to send combat troops to El Salvador without the approval of Congress.

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33. On December 2, 1981, Robert Byrd voted in favor of an amendment to President Reagan's MX missiles proposal that would divert the silo system by $334 million as well as earmark further research for other methods that would allow giant missiles to be based.

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34. In May 1981, Robert Byrd announced his support for the Reagan administration's proposed budget for the fiscal year 1982 during a weekly news conference, citing that the "people want the President to be given a chance with his budget.

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35. Robert Byrd credited conflicting statements from administration officials with having contributed to confusion in Western European capitals.

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36. Robert Byrd proceeded to give a signal for Democrats that saw caucus members switch their votes in support of the increase.

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37. Robert Byrd voted to tie a timetable for troop withdrawal to war funding.

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38. On October 17, 2003, Robert Byrd delivered a speech expressing his concerns about the future of the nation and his unequivocal antipathy to Bush's policies.

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39. Robert Byrd criticized Bush for his speech declaring the "end of major combat operations" in Iraq, which Bush made on the USS.

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40. Robert Byrd was one of the Senate's most outspoken critics of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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41. In July 2004, Robert Byrd released the New York Times best-selling book Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency, which criticized the Bush presidency and the war in Iraq.

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42. On May 2, 2002, Robert Byrd charged the White House with engaging in "sophomoric political antics", citing Homeland Security Advisor Tom Ridge briefing senators in another location instead of the Senate on how safe he felt the US was.

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43. Robert Byrd opposed the 2002 Homeland Security Act, which created the Department of Homeland Security, stating that the bill ceded too much authority to the executive branch.

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44. Robert Byrd said that McCain "is very considerate of the taxpayers when it comes to financing projects in other states, but he supports such projects in his own state.

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45. In October 1991, Robert Byrd stated his support in the credibility of Anita Hill: "I believe what she said.

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46. In early 1990, Robert Byrd proposed an amendment granting special aid to coal miners who would lose their jobs in the event that Congress passed clean air legislation.

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47. On May 10, 1980, Robert Byrd called for President Carter to debate Senator Ted Kennedy, who he complimented as having done a service for the US by raising key issues in his presidential campaign.

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48. Robert Byrd added that he did not disagree with the move by the Carter administration to admit Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for hospitalization and that the same action would extend to "Ayatollah Khomeini himself if he were needing medical treatment and had a terminal illness.

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49. In January 1979, Robert Byrd met with Deputy Prime Minister of China Deng Xiaoping for assurances by Deng that China hoped to unite Taiwan to the mainland by peaceful means and would fully respect "the present realities" on the island.

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50. The Senate approved the Turkey grant, to Robert Byrd's wishes, but against that of both President Carter and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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51. Robert Byrd furthered that American military installations in Turkey were "of major importance in the monitoring of Soviet strategic activities" and would have "obvious significance" in the goal of verifying compliance by the Soviet Union with the strategic arms treaty.

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52. Robert Byrd mentioned his encouragement from the report on the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities agreeing to resume negotiations on the island's future as well as reports that progress was being made on the reintegration of Greece into NATO.

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53. In July 1978, Robert Byrd introduced and endorsed a proposal by George McGovern for an amendment to repeal the 42‐month‐old embargo on American military assistance for Turkey that linked any future aid for that country to progress on a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus problem.

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54. In May 1978, Robert Byrd announced that he would not move to end a filibuster against the Carter administration's labor law revision bill until after the Memorial Day recess.

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55. Robert Byrd added that the deregulation bill would not become law due to it being identical to the Carter administration's proposal and President Carter's prior statement that he would veto deregulation bills.

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56. Robert Byrd stated the filibuster tactics gave the Senate a bad reputation and rendered it ineffective.

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57. Robert Byrd issued a statement on the Senate floor admitting his "serious reservations" pertaining to the Ford administration's intent to bring roughly 130,000 South Vietnamese refugees to the United States, citing cultural differences and unemployment as raising "grave doubts about the wisdom of bringing any sizable number of evacuees here.

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58. In March 1973, Robert Byrd led Senate efforts to reject a proposal that would have made most critical committee meetings open to the public, arguing that tampering with "the rides of the Senate is to tamper with the Senate itself" and argued against changing "procedures which, over the long past, have contributed to stability and efficiency in the operation of the Senate.

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59. Robert Byrd introduced another amendment that required all Cabinet officers be required to undergo reconfirmation by the Senate in the event that they are retained from one administration to another.

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60. In May 1972, Robert Byrd introduced a proposal supported by the Nixon administration that would make cutting off all funding for American hostilities in Indochina conditional upon agreement on an internationally supervised cease‐fire.

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61. In October 1970, Robert Byrd sponsored an amendment protecting members of Congress and those elected that have not yet assumed office.

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62. Robert Byrd strongly opposed Clinton's 1993 efforts to allow gays to serve in the military and supported efforts to limit gay marriage.

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63. Robert Byrd initially said that the impeachment proceedings against Clinton should be taken seriously.

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64. On March 29, 1968, Robert Byrd criticized a Memphis, Tennessee protest: "It was a shameful and totally uncalled for outburst of lawfulness undoubtedly encouraged to some considerable degree, at least, by his [Dr King's] words and actions, and his presence.

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65. Robert Byrd joined 45 other Democrats in voting against confirming Thomas to the Supreme Court.

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66. Robert Byrd called Thomas's comments a "diversionary tactic" and said "I thought we were past that stage.

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67. Robert Byrd was the only senator to vote against confirming both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas to the United States Supreme Court, the only two African-American nominees.

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68. Robert Byrd initially compiled a mixed record on the subjects of race relations and desegregation.

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69. On January 26, 2009, Robert Byrd was one of three Democrats to vote against the confirmation of Timothy Geithner as United States Secretary of the Treasury.

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70. On July 19, 2007, Robert Byrd gave a 25-minute speech in the Senate against dog fighting, in response to the indictment of football player Michael Vick.

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71. In 2002 Robert Byrd secured unanimous approval for a major national initiative to strengthen the teaching of "traditional American history" in K-12 public schools.

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72. In 1969, Robert Byrd launched a Scholastic Recognition Award; he began to present a savings bond to valedictorians from high schools—public and private—in West Virginia.

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73. Robert Byrd frustrated Republicans with his encyclopedic knowledge of the inner workings of the Senate, particularly prior to the Reagan Revolution.

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74. Robert Byrd was known for using his knowledge of parliamentary procedure.

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75. Robert Byrd commented on his reputation for attaining funds for projects in West Virginia in August 2006, when he called himself "Big Daddy" at the dedication for the Robert C Byrd Biotechnology Science Center.

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76. Robert Byrd was well known for steering federal dollars to West Virginia, one of the country's poorest states.

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77. In 1976, Robert Byrd was the "favorite son" Presidential candidate in West Virginia's primary.

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78. Robert Byrd succeeded George Smathers as secretary of the Senate Democratic Conference from 1967 to 1971.

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79. In 2005, Robert Byrd told The Washington Post that his membership in the Baptist church led to a change in his views.

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80. Robert Byrd opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 but voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

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81. Robert Byrd was a member of the wing of the Democratic Party that opposed federally-mandated desegregation and civil rights.

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82. Robert Byrd is the only senator ever to serve more than 50 years.

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83. On November 18, 2009, Robert Byrd became the longest-serving member in congressional history, with 56 years, 320 days of combined service in the House and Senate, passing Carl Hayden of Arizona.

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84. Robert Byrd became the longest-serving senator in American history on June 12, 2006, surpassing Strom Thurmond of South Carolina with 17,327 days of service.

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85. Robert Byrd was elected to a record ninth consecutive full Senate term on November 7, 2006.

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86. Robert Byrd was re-elected twice from this district, anchored in Charleston and including his home in Sophia, serving from January 3, 1953 to January 3, 1959.

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87. Robert Byrd completed law school in an era when undergraduate degrees were not a requirement.

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88. Robert Byrd began night classes at American University Washington College of Law in 1953, while a member of the United States House of Representatives.

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89. Robert Byrd became a local celebrity after a radio station in Beckley began broadcasting his "fiery fundamentalist lessons.

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90. In 1946, Robert Byrd wrote a letter to a Grand Wizard stating, "The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state in the nation.

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91. Robert Byrd had two daughters, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

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92. On May 29, 1936, Robert Byrd married Erma Ora James who was born to a coal mining family in Floyd County, Virginia.

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93. Robert Byrd was valedictorian of his 1934 graduating class at Mark Twain High School in Tams, West Virginia.

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94. Robert Byrd died on June 28, 2010, and was buried at Columbia Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

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95. Robert Byrd served in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1947 to 1950, and the West Virginia State Senate from 1950 to 1952.

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96. Robert Byrd is the only West Virginian to have served in both chambers of the state legislature and both chambers of Congress.

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