Obama's tribute to the Dean of the Washington press corps
March 9th, 2011
06:24 PM ET

Obama's tribute to the Dean of the Washington press corps

WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama praised the "Dean of the Washington press corps" on Wednesday calling political columnist David Broder "the most respected and incisive political commentator of his generation."

In a written statement, the president and first lady expressed their sympathy and condolences saying, "through all his success, David remained an eminently kind and gracious person, and someone we will dearly miss."

Broder, who died on Wednesday from complications of diabetes at the age of 81, began covering politics in the 1950s. He joined The Washington Post in 1966, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for his role in the coverage of Watergate. He traveled with the press corps covering numerous candidates, including his last campaign trip in October 2010 with Vice President Biden to Ohio for a stop for then-Gov. Ted Strickland.

Although Broder and the president both hailed from Chicago, that didn't stop the writer from being tough on Obama, just as he had been with the ten presidents who preceded him.

After the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives in 2010, Broder listed the numerous Obama mistakes that led to the "shellacking" in the November elections.

"Somewhere along the way, Obama lost sight of his campaign pledge to enlist Republican ideas and votes. Maybe they were never there to be had, but he never truly tested it," Broder wrote the day after Election Day.  "And the deeper he became enmeshed in the Democratic politics of Capitol Hill, the less incentive there was for any Republican to contribute to his success."

But a month later, Broder had high hopes Obama would lead the passage of tax reform legislation. However after the president's State of the Union speech in January he wrote, "The one I had hoped he would choose is the overhaul of the tax code, which could pay multiple dividends."

Broder was also critical of the Obama administration for not tackling special-interest loopholes.

In his last column, written in the midst of the crisis in Egypt, Broder gave the president the benefit of the doubt when dealing with unrest in the Middle East. He likened it to being a Chicago Cubs or a Washington Nationals fan, having to cheer for other teams in the playoffs and World Series.

"You know that something big is happening and that it will inevitably affect you. But you don't know whom to root for, and ultimately you realize that events will unfold and you have almost no influence on the outcome," Broder wrote on February 6. "That is the reality that confronts President Obama today. His hands are tied while Egypt erupts."


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