LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The late Harry Reid's political peers highlighted his legacy on Saturday at a memorial service at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, where top Washington officials including President Joe Biden bid farewell to the former Democratic Senate leader.

Reid was Nevada's longest-serving member of congress, and it's that same endurance and tenacity that his political colleagues expressed admiration for in spades at Saturday's service.

"When Harry said he was gonna do something, he did it," recalled President Biden on Saturday.

Reid died Dec. 28 at the age of 82 after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. As his colleagues described him, he was a "champion for the little guy," with a lasting vision for politics and the people of Nevada. 

"That's how he helped us reign in Wall Street, the excesses, and repeal 'Don't ask, don't tell,'" said Biden. "That's how he created Nevada's first national park, conserved Lake Tahoe. That's how he always championed Native Americans with tribal communities."

His Washington colleagues also mentioned how he worked to keep nuclear waste out of Nevada, passed the Recovery Act, and helped provide "affordable healthcare to millions."

This, despite a tremendously tough upbringing in Searchlight, Nevada, and a career that required clearing some high hurdles.

Former president Barack Obama gave one example in his eulogy.

"He liked to talk about his boxing. 'Ya know Barack? I wasn't a great athlete -- wasn't big and strong like some of the guys I went up against. I had two things going for me: I could take a punch, and I never gave up,'" said Obama. "That's about right. That same dogged determination marked Harry Reid's political career. Lost his first senate race by just 600 votes. Six months later, he ran for mayor of this town and lost in a landslide. But Harry did not give up."

Biden Harry Reid Memorial

President Joe Biden speaks during a memorial service for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the Smith Center in Las Vegas, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

That dogged nature he mentioned ultimately led Reid to become the Senate Majority Leader and one of the Obama-era Democratic party's premier political strategists.

"Whenever I would object to a change he wanted to make," said Obama, "whether because of some policy concerns or worries about the optics, Harry would tell me, with some exasperation in his voice, 'Mr. President, you know a lot more than I do about healthcare policy, okay? But I know the Senate.' And he was right. He did know the Senate, better than just about anyone else."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer echoed that sentiment.

"In so many ways, Harry was a guardian and steward of the senate," said Schumer.

In her speech, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointed out Reid's humble and giving nature.

"I even said to him, when he was announcing his retirement, 'I wanna have a big dinner, invite all of your friends that you served with in the past, in the House, in the Senate, and the rest.' 'I don't want to do it.' 'But I want for them to sing your praises.' 'I don't want to do it. Save the money. Feed the poor,'" said Pelosi, inciting a laugh from the audience.

Congresswoman Susie Lee, D-Nevada, also attended the ceremony, telling FOX5 outside of the venue that Reid's impact still can be felt, and still is working. 

"His impact -- it's not gone. There are thousands of staffers in our state and in Washington who have evolved through his office, and they are -- they're still there," said Lee. "They're on Capitol Hill. They work for advocacy organizations. And so his impact will be here for a long time to come."

The leaders of Congress announced last week that Reid will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Jan. 12. 

The full memorial service from Saturday is available to watch here: 

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(7) comments

Paris

FHR and those who voted for him.

TrumpBeliever

Enriched himself and his family at the public trough for his entire life. Much like Gropin Joe. Both are pathetic disgraces. Reid should be pulped and flushed down the toilet. Good riddance.

beavis

I agree, Reid did not get much done as he failed to the following:

Build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.

Cause an insurrection.

Alienate our closest allies.

Embrace hostile foreign governments.

Give huge tax breaks to top 1% and ignore everyone else.

Commit tax evasion, loan fraud and money laundering.

But, there is this orange fat guy that accomplished all of those and successfully lost the 2020 Presidential election.

beavis

I'm sorry, did I say the orange fat guy successfully did build a wall and made Mexico pay for it? My bad.

Paris

Learn some critical thinking skills. And please, tell me you have not passed your genes along.

Paris

In Washington, D.C., progressive activists stormed the United States Capitol to stop the vote on Brett Kavanaugh and to intimidate United States senators. Major news outlets were almost all uniformly on the side of the protesters. Some reporters explicitly cheered on the protesters on their social media accounts.

In 2009, progressive activists stormed the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin State Journal reported it in eerily similar language to Jan. 6. Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it an "impressive show of democracy" and said she stood with the protesters. The media was mostly matter-of-fact about it and by no means condemnatory.

In Texas, protesters stormed the State Capitol in Austin to stop Republicans from passing a pro-life measure. News anchors and reporters who covered it for the national press almost all explicitly excused the protesters and made Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis a national figure and heroine for feminism.

This does not even include the coordinated and concerted Democratic efforts starting in 2000 to treat any election they lose as illegitimate. Bush was "selected not elected," and Trump was fraudulently accused of being bought and paid for by the Russians. Stacey Abrams still denies her loss with press complicity, but Republicans are bullied and denounced for denying the legitimacy of 2020.

The bottom line is all of these should be condemned, but we should not be surprised some Republicans got tired of playing by the rules after two decades of Democrats breaking them without consequence. Few in the press or among the Democrats will own up to that. Instead, they will scream for telling the whole truth, not just the part they want to hear. Undoubtedly, in November, the press and Democrats will scream voter suppression if Republicans win, ratcheting things further.

beavis

Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!

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