Morning Must Reads: Byrd

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Win McNamee / Getty

Win McNamee / Getty

–Robert Byrd, the longest serving congressman in U.S. history, died at 92 early Monday:

For more than a third of its 144-year existence, the state of West Virginia was represented in the U.S. Senate by one man: Robert C. Byrd. So encompassing was Byrd’s 50 years of service in the Senate and so encyclopedic his institutional knowledge that by the time he died early Monday morning he had become not just the political personification of West Virginia in the nation’s capital, but the embodiment and ambassador of the Senate itself to the rest of the country. Byrd was admitted to hospital last week for dehydration, and his condition worsened over the weekend as he became critically ill. Twice its majority leader, a master of its all-powerful rules and a fierce defender of its prerogatives, Byrd was as much a part of the place as the wooden desks, steep-sloped galleries and soaring speeches that filled it. Byrd was 92.

–Democratic Governor Joe Manchin will appoint a successor, but it remains unclear whether the replacement will serve out the current term. Marc Ambinder hears state party chair Nick Casey is a likely pick. Steve Kornacki writes Manchin is angling for the seat himself.

–It looks like Democrats will need every vote for financial reform. Scott Brown is unhappy with the $18 billion assessment on the financial sector levied to pay for implementation.

–He’s as popular as Obama or Kerry back home.

–G20 leaders agreed to halve deficits by 2013. Our colleague Michael Schuman writes their pact threatens the recovery. Paul Krugman goes one step further.

–They also made some very vague statements about capital requirements, the all-important centerpiece of international financial regulation. They’ll circle back to the issue in November.

–Diane Feinstein says David Petraeus should get a blank check.

–Following through on his initial praise for Obama’s decision, Bill Kristol pens a laudatory cover piece:

Weekly Standard

–And Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings begin today. Don’t believe the hype; she’ll be confirmed. You can watch opening statements (starting at 12:30 pm ET) here.

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