Political dignitaries gathered in Charleston, West Virginia, today to honor the life of the Senate's longest-serving member in its history, Robert Byrd. Taking his turn at the microphone before President Obama and Joe Biden, Bill Clinton praised Byrd's devotion to his state, which he famously showered with as much pork-barrel spending as possible, and to the Constitution. When Clinton got the line-item veto, it was the perfect storm — not only was it constitutionally questionable (and eventually declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court), but it would allow the president to strike individual earmarks from pieces of legislation. "He hated the line-item veto with the passion that most people in West Virginia reserve for blood feuds like the Hatfields and the McCoys," Clinton said to laughter, and, we think, a few groans.
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