David Broder Dead At 81

Sad news, that the great Pulitzer-winning political journalist David Broder died today. Broder is the guy pretty much every political journalist wants to be -- and, as far as I could tell, a guy every political journalist who knew him liked.

I didn't know him; I introduced myself to him once at a New Hampshire primary event, and he couldn't have been nicer.

I also spoke with him on the phone once, when I was writing that George Romney had never actually marched with Martin Luther King Jr., contrary to Mitt Romney's claims. The only basis for the notion that the two had marched together came from a brief mention in a 1967 book co-authored by Broder; Broder had also repeated it in a column during the campaign. The Romney campaign, in fact, repeatedly cited Broder to me as their evidence. So I had the awkward task of calling to tell the legendary reporter that I was writing that he got something wrong, and to ask him what he might have, or recall, as his source for it.

If you know any journalists, you know that some can get a tiny bit defensive at any suggestion that they got something wrong. But Broder was perfectly pleasant about it. He said that the mention in the recent column was based on the mention in the old book, and that the book was so long ago he had no idea where the information might have originally come from, or even if it was put in by him or his co-author -- and (paraphrasing) 'If it's wrong, then I got it wrong.'

Anyway, that's my little David Broder story; you'll read much better ones as news spreads of his passing. His absence in New Hampshire this year will be glaring.

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