WASHINGTON – David S. Broder, one of the nation’s leading political reporters and a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1973 for distinguished commentary about the Watergate scandal, has died. He was 81.
Broder, a longtime columnist at the Washington Post, died Wednesday at Capital Hospice in Arlington, Va., from complications of diabetes.
In a statement, President Barack Obama described Broder as “the most respected and incisive political commentator of his generation.”
Broder, who continued to write his syndicated column despite failing health, served as a mentor to countless colleagues. His professorial mien helped earn him the unofficial title of dean of the political news corps, and he gained considerable fame for his work as reporter, syndicated columnist and public affairs show guest – including a record 401 appearances on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” starting in 1963.
But it was his humility and humanity that stood out. “As good a journalist as David Broder is, he’s a better human being,” Lou Cannon, a former Post colleague, once said.
Gracious and unpretentious, “Dave set the standard for what political reporting was in this country,” said Dan Balz, a longtime Post colleague.
Broder held himself to standards and techniques he urged on others, such as the importance of walking precincts and knocking on doors to learn what was on the electorate’s mind.
In seeking out political scientists and giving their views wider circulation, he influenced other journalists to do the same.