Washington reacts to the death of David Broder
Last updated at 3/10/11 at 11:04 a.m.
With the news of Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post political reporter and columnist David S. Broder's death, many in Washington and throughout the country (and from across the political spectrum) are paying tribute to the man who helped define political journalism since the 1960s. The House held a moment of silence to honor him on Wednesday afternoon. Here's a roundup of tributes:
Like so many here in Washington and across the country, Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of a true giant of journalism, David Broder. David filed his first story from our nation's capital before starting as a junior political writer on the 1960 presidential election. In the decades that followed, he built a well-deserved reputation as the most respected and incisive political commentator of his generation - winning a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Watergate and earning the affectionate title of Dean of the Washington press corps. Through all his success, David remained an eminently kind and gracious person, and someone we will dearly miss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this difficult time.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):
David was a credit to his profession, a careful and thoughtful reporter who never forgot the value of good reporting or succumbed to cynicism in decades of covering the best and the worst in government.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio):
For more than 40 years, David Broder - long known as the "Dean" of the Washington press corps - set a standard of thorough, careful and in-depth reporting on politics and public policy. He focused on telling his readers what the decisions made by government officials really meant for the American people. His emphasis on shoe-leather reporting, and listening to what people outside the Beltway actually think, should serve as an example to everyone in the business of producing what The Washington Post's former publisher called the "first rough draft of history."
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.):
For decades, David brought our country a wealth of fair and evenhanded reporting, analysis, and commentary--work that was valued for its insights on both sides of the aisle. The respect that David garnered as 'Dean' of the Washington press corps was well-earned. His tireless work to keep the public informed, and his contributions to American journalism, will be sorely missed.
Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.):
American journalism has lost a giant with the passing of David Broder, and American constitutional government has lost one of its finest advocates. David had a way of taking complex issues and making them easily understandable. His long involvement in political reporting set the standard for everyone else.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.):
No reporter in recent times was a better reporter than David Broder. He would show up in the most unexpected places. Sometimes he was the only reporter present. He never played favorites. He would be uncomfortable with such praise by an elected official. Public service and journalism are richer for his distinguished, long career.
Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.):
I was very saddened to learn of David Broder's passing. I knew him for 40 years. And while our paths didn't cross directly at the University of Chicago, David Broder carried into his illustrious journalistic career lessons learned as a young college student. He knew to be skeptical of extremism and of the easy answer. It led him to provide invaluable insight by meeting voters where they live - outside of Washington - and getting to know citizens in every corner of America.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.):
I first met him in 1974 during my first run for Congress and he was already the dean of American political reporters. I still remember the genuine interest he showed in an unknown (and about to lose) first timer. Everyone who cares about self government owes a debt to David.
Former Sens. Bob Dole (R-Kans.) and Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.):
Americans who yearn for fairness and objectivitiy in political journalism have lost a 'giant' in the passing of David S. Broder.
CIA Director Leon Panetta:
His prolific reporting and commentary did more than inform readers; it helped raise the level of debate in Washington and across our nation. He challenged us to think critically and honestly about the biggest public policy issues of the day. In so doing, he helped make politics and government more responsive to the American people, and ultimately, more effective.
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley:
Over the decades David Broder has distinguished himself as one of the greatest American journalists of all time. His support and affection for New Hampshire's First in the Nation Primary has been deeply appreciated by Granite Staters of all political philosophies.
National Press Club:
While he is being remembered as the 'dean of the Washington press corps' that ultimately is too limiting, because such excellence is not confined by geography or time. To readers, politicians and fellow journalists alike, he demonstrated the necessity of highly skilled political reporting within a robust democracy.
On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a tribute to Broder on the Senate floor. The full text is below.
A lot's been said in the last 24 hours about David Broder. I'd like to add just a brief word of my own.
I won't pretend to have know him well, I didn't, but I admired him. You couldn't help but admire him.
A few things stand out.
First of all, in a city that's full of people in a rush to make an impression, David was the guy who took the time to get it right, day in and day out, without bombast or pretense. He wasn't looking to make an impression so much as he was trying to do his job and to do it well. The notoriety took care of itself.
He was a workhorse first and foremost -- a reporter who seemed to enjoy the work more than any attention he got for it. Everybody who ever worked with him seems to have a story about watching him knock on doors in his late 70s or earnestly listening to a Midwest voter in the cold.
It all points to a sturdiness of purpose and to the old virtues of patience, fairness, hard work, and a sense that other people's opinions were at least as valuable as his own. Add to that a deep curiosity and thoughtfulness, and a childlike appreciation for the mechanics of Democracy, and you've got a pretty good model for what political reporting is all about. I hesitate to say he was conservative in temperament, if not in his politics. But that's what comes through.
It's become commonplace to say that David Broder was the Dean of American political reporters -- but I think it's worth understating what people mean by that. It doesn't mean he was the most exciting guy in the room -- he wasn't. It doesn't mean he had the most scoops -- I'm not sure that he did. I think what it means, aside from the sheer length of his career, was that more than most people, his life came to take the shape of the profession that he chose in life. It became sort of an extension of himself. That's what seemed to give him so much joy and satisfaction in his work, along with the respect and admiration, and maybe even a little bit of envy, of so many others.
Republican or Democrat. Liberal or conservative. Young or old. We could use a few more David Broders."
| March 9, 2011; 3:30 PM ET
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