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Henry Hyde, R.I.P.

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 29, 2007 09:53 AM

He was a pro-life lion and fierce advocate for a strong national defense. May he rest in peace. Via The Hill:

Former Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) died Wednesday night at the age of 83, according to political sources.

Hyde, one of the GOP leaders in the House impeachment proceedings against former President Bill Clinton, had been recovering from heart surgery performed six months ago. He served 16 terms in Congress before retiring in 2006.

Earlier this month, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His son accepted the award on his behalf. Here’s what President Bush said:

Bob Hyde is here on behalf of his Dad, the Honorable Henry J. Hyde, who was not able to be with us today. Congressman Hyde spent more than three decades as a towering figure on Capitol Hill. But he first made his name in Washington more than 60 years ago. He was on the Georgetown basketball team, and played in the NCAA Eastern championship game in 1943. After college and Navy service in World War II, he returned home to Illinois, and earned a law degree, and made his way into politics. This erudite, scholarly man has walked with kings and kept the common touch. He won 20 elections, and gave steady service to the people of Illinois for 40 years.

In the House, Congressman Hyde rose to the chairmanship of two committees, Judiciary and International Relations. And from the first day, he was a commanding presence, and he was a man of consequence. Colleagues were struck by his extraordinary intellect, his deep convictions, and eloquent voice. In committee and in the House chamber, the background noise would stop when Henry Hyde had the floor.

He used his persuasive powers for noble causes. He stood for a strong and purposeful America — confident in freedom’s advance, and firm in freedom’s defense. He stood for limited, accountable government, and the equality of every person before the law. He was a gallant champion of the weak and forgotten, and a fearless defender of life in all its seasons.

Henry Hyde spoke of controversial matters with intellectual honesty and without rancor. He proved that a man can have firm convictions and be a favorite of Democrats and Republicans alike.

Henry likes quoting the adage, “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver but the other is gold.” To so many on Capitol Hill, Henry Hyde’s friendship is gold. They’re quick to say it’s not the same Congress without him — but that we’re a better country because he was there. And colleagues will always admire and look up to the gentleman from Illinois, Henry J. Hyde. And, Bob, please tell your Dad a lot of us in Washington love him. (Applause.)

***

Here’s NRO’s tribute to Rep. Hyde earlier this month.

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