The passing of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) could help Senate Democrats struggling this year to advance health care reform, Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidNo, it is not racist to question birthright citizenship McConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' MORE (D-Nev.) said during an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, published yesterday.

From the transcript:
"Q: How will U.S. Sen. (Edward) Kennedy's death affect things?

A: I think it's going to help us. He hasn't been around for some time. We're going to have a new chairman of that committee, it'll be, I don't know for sure, but I think Sen. (Chris) Dodd, (D-Conn.). He has a right to take it. Either him or (U.S. Sen. Tom) Harkin, (D-Iowa), whichever one wants it can have it. I think he (Kennedy) will be a help. He's an inspiration for us. That was the issue of his life and he didn't get it done."

Reid also declared the August recess has improved Democrats' chances of passing health care reform in the near future:
"For one thing I think the American people have seen the wrongness of trying to interrupt meetings and yell and scream at people. That's lost a lot of its pizzazz. I think its given time for members to contemplate what's important. We can talk to our constituents. I've traveled the state talking to people. I think they've been very constructive meetings."