Byrd longest-serving Congress member

? “I’ve loved every precious minute of it,” the frail West Virginia Democrat, who turns 92 on Friday, said during a day of floor tributes to him, and moments before the Senate passed a resolution marking the milestone.

Obama earlier in the day described the one-time segregationist as a touchstone for constitutional values and a role model to all lawmakers.

“Countless colleagues, myself included, have looked to him for advice, guidance and leadership over the years,” Obama, who represented Illinois in the Senate, said in a statement. “He is one of the most steadfast defenders of the United States Constitution, and he never lets us forget the guiding values and principles that make our nation great.”

As Tuesday became Wednesday, Byrd shattered the record for congressional service that had been set by Carl Hayden, D-Ariz., who served in the House and Senate from 1912 to 1969. Byrd began his career in Washington in 1952 with his election to the House, and his elevation six years later to the Senate.