Barack Obama shares letter he wrote to Harry Reid before his death


The death of former Nevada Senator and Democratic heavyweight Harry Reid has led to an outpouring of support on social media — including from his longtime colleague and friend, former President Barack Obama. 

In an Instagram post, Mr. Obama revealed that Reid’s wife, Landra Reid, had asked him and others to write letters to her husband when Reid’s battle with pancreatic cancer became too great. Mr. Obama said he was sharing the letter he penned in lieu of a formal statement on the former senator’s passing. 

“As different as we are, I think we both saw something of ourselves in each other — a couple of outsiders who had defied the odds and knew how to take a punch and cared about the little guy. And you know what, we made for a pretty good team,” Mr. Obama wrote in his letter.     

The two famously worked hand-in-hand on the Affordable Care Act. As the then-majority leader, Reid’s well-known dealmaking skills were essential to acquiring all 60 Democratic votes needed to pass Obamacare. 

Reid, who died Tuesday at age 82, had previously said his support of Obamacare was due to his childhood, spent without health or dental care in Searchlight, Nevada. Reid had worked at a service station in high school, using his wages to buy his mother new teeth. He and his brother were born at home due to the lack of a hospital nearby, and Reid did not go to a dentist until he was 14. 

“Health care. The Affordable Care Act. I have talked about that a little bit,” Reid said in his 2016 farewell speech to the Senate. “It would have been wonderful if we had something like that around to help my family when we were growing up.” 

Read Mr. Obama’s letter in full below: 

Harry,

I got the news that the health situation has taken a rough turn, and that it’s hard to talk on the phone. Which, let’s face it, is not that big of a change cause you never liked to talk on the phone anyway!

Here’s what I want you to know. You were a great leader in the Senate, and early on you were more generous to me than I had any right to expect. 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.

Most of all, you’ve been a good friend. As different as we are, I think we both saw something of ourselves in each other – a couple of outsiders who had defied the odds and knew how to take a punch and cared about the little guy. And you know what, we made for a pretty good team.

Enjoy your family, and know you are loved by a lot of people, including me. The world is better cause of what you’ve done. Not bad for a skinny, poor kid from Searchlight.

Barack





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