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Washington Post columnist David Broder (L) on "Meet the Press". (Getty Images for Meet the Press)

David Broder: A Reporter For The Ages

Mar 9, 2011

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Reported by

Frank James

One thing you immediately noticed about David Broder, the long-time Washington Post political reporter and columnist who died Wednesday at age 81, was just how kind and gentle a spirit he was.

He was the antithesis of the stereotypically crusty political reporter.

I didn't know Broder though I had met him in 2004 while I was covering, for the Chicago Tribune, a presidential campaign speech by Democratic Sen. John Kerry presidential at New York's Cooper Union.

As I frantically looked for a technician who could help me connect my laptop to the wireless network set up for media use, Broder pointed me in the right direction.

Then after we both finished filing our stories, Broder said to me: "So, how did you get into this crazy business?" meaning covering politics.

I didn't tell him this, but certainly reading his reporting over the years must've played a role, including a 1972 book of his I was assigned to read in college — "The Party's Over: The Failure of Politics In America." That title obviously still has resonance.

Among Broder's contributions to journalism was the message he sent by staying in the game as long as he did, well into his 70s, walking up to voters in New Hampshire or Iowa, hearing their sentiments firsthand.

Some have said that energetic reporting is a young person's game. Broder continually proved that wrong.

The last time I saw him a few years back, he was walking, albeit slowly, back to the Post from a breakfast meeting between some Washington newsmaker and political reporters, notepad in hand.

It was Broder being Broder, the reporter's reporter. He was a reporter for the ages.

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