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Sen. Byrd Released From Hospital

Sen. Robert Byrd, seen here on Inauguration Day, is now out of the hospital, but it's not clear when he'll be able to return to work (Melina Mara/The Washington Post).

By Ben Pershing
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) was released today after a six-week stay in the hospital, his office announced, allowing the longest-serving senator in U.S. history to spend July 4th at home.

"I am pleased to be home in anticipation of celebrating our nation's birthday with my loving family," Byrd said in an official statement. "I also thank everyone who sent me their good wishes and prayers."

The statement said Byrd "will continue his recuperation and physical therapy" at home. His office declined to comment on when he might return to work in the Senate.

Byrd, 91, was hospitalized on May 15 for a "minor infection," and then was forced to remain there after contracting a staph infection. At the request of his family, Byrd's office has been sparing with the press, never specifying why exactly he was hospitalized in the first place or in which hospital he was a patient.

As early as May 18, his office suggested he would be home in a matter of days, but as his stay lengthened and details remained scarce, speculation appeared in the West Viriginia press about who might succeed Byrd. If Byrd is unable to return to the Senate for whatever reason, his successor would be appointed by Gov. Joe Manchin (D) until a special election is held in November 2010.

Many West Virginia observers believe Manchin is interested in taking the Senate seat himself. Though he could appoint himself to the position, a more likely scenario would have Manchin appoint a "caretaker" to the job who would not run in 2010, allowing Manchin to campaign for the post instead.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 30, 2009; 1:50 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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I wonder what kind of hospital flowers (and visitors) you get from the KKK when you're a Kleagle (recruiter) and Exalted Cyclops (elected unanimously). BTW - Did they ever discover if he actually had a brain?

Posted by: Bcamp55 | June 30, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Byrd quit the KKK over sixty years ago. If your grandfather never did anything sixty years ago that you wouldn't dream of doing, congratulations. I don't know who your American heroes are, if you have any, but I'd bet that they had serious faults just as Byrd does. Aside from our slave-owning founding fathers, Lincoln thought blacks were inferior (as did most white people in the 19th century), FDR imprisoned over 100,000 innocent Americans, and MLK plagiarized his doctoral thesis and was a womanizer.

From Wikipedia:
In his latest autobiography, Byrd explained that he was a member because he "was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision — a jejune and immature outlook — seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions." Byrd also said, in 2005, “I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times... and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened.”

Posted by: justin_timberwolf | June 30, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Byrd, FDR and MLK (add JFK and WJC) may be your heroes but not mine. A sorry lot.

Posted by: delusional1 | June 30, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

term limits please. I'm sorry but if you can't spend a day in months in the Senate even WITH all their time off you should be removed. Senator Byrd and Senator Kennedy need to go just as Senator Helms needed to go years ago. YOu can't tell me that at 91 he has a clue or even can speak coherently.

Posted by: visionbrkr | June 30, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

delusional1: Okay, I'm guessing that makes you a Republican, so add Lincoln (racist who married a slaveholder and started a war that killed 600,000 Americans), Grant (clueless President and anti-Semite), Reagan (on the wrong side of history on much civil rights legislation as Gov of Cal plus Iran Contra), and pretty much all our Founding Fathers, who generally owned hundreds of people in bondage. My point, rather than to provoke hacky statements of partisanship, is that it's unfair to attack a lifelong public servant based on one personal failing, because if you do that, you have no one to look up to.

Posted by: justin_timberwolf | June 30, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

justin_timberwolf: If your grandfather never did anything sixty years ago that you wouldn't dream of doing, congratulations.

TB55: My grandparents wouldn't dream of soing some of the stuff I did either!!

Posted by: mrteddybear55 | June 30, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I hope that Senator Byrd recovers enough to return to the US Senate. His age and mental faculties should not affect his ability to serve. Some of the younger members of the Senate are unfit to serve except as playboys or hypocrits. I don't hold Senator Byrds youthful commitment to the KKK against him. Just as I didn't feel bad that "Forest Gump" was named after Nathan Bedford Forest.
At least Byrd was able to change.

Posted by: jimeglrd8 | June 30, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I benefited from a Rep. who ran for re-election----one of the longest serving rep's at the time, even though his wife and staff knew he had an inoperable brain tumor.

His campaign was all indirect, no public appearances, and well orchestrated by his wife and staff.

He won and died within weeks of the election.

The governor, as arranged, appointed his wife to fill his term and his staff gave themselves pay raises.

I'm guessing Byrd is similarly incapacitated and 'kept alive' by a greedy staff who want to avoid losing their jobs.

Dem's need his vote, Kennedy's etc....once the Obama agenda is passed it will time for these monarchs to die or fade away.

Posted by: poppadata | July 1, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

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